Many people think we wouldn't cross the street to spit on a Republican in flames (and please, no bad Mark Foley jokes). Many people would be wrong. We've voted for Democrats and Republicans. We've donated to candidates from both parties. It may sound mighty queer, but we're old-fashioned enough to believe that it's all about voting for the best candidate.
But how do you find out if someone is a good candidate for public office -- for public service? Some pull a Fat Jack and ask the candidate. Many others -- most others -- rely on the media to inform them, and by that we don't mean campaign commercials.
Sometimes, however, a politician decides that he or she is too good to answer your questions. The latest case in point is Norma Champion, the state senator running for reelection.
She refuses to talk with reporters about where she stands on the issues. Her excuse? The KY3 political reporter, Dave Catanese, has a Doug Harpool bumper sticker on his desk. Harpool is challenging Champion for Springfield's seat in the Missouri Senate.
Catanese explains the insanity:
I approached Champion's campaign aide Mike Barnett about setting up an interview with the Senator about her re-election race. We've been trying to set an interview up for some time. Barnett said Champion's schedule had been jam-packed and that he was meaning to get back to me. But as we got further into the conversation, he told me the flat out truth.
"A lot of people are telling us not to talk to you because of the Harpool sticker you have on your desk that's on TV about the blog, and about some of the comments that have been made on your blog," Barnett said. "Quite a bit of Republicans are telling us that."
At least now I know.
They do have a point. I did have a Harpool sticker on my desk that was in the background of a shot used to promote the KY3 political blog. Never thought anything of it. On the other side of my desk, I had stickers for Jim Talent, Claire McCaskill, Jo Ann Emerson and Jay Nixon (but they weren't in the shot). I've said before it is the way I decorate my desk. I'm open to taking stickers from any candidate of any party. But I understand how seeing one sticker could cause a perception problem. Lesson learned.
I can't do much more than say I'm a political junkie who loves politics and the buttons, stickers, signs and flags that come with it. And yes, I love covering these legislative races. But they become pretty tough to cover fairly and objectively when one side won't talk to you.
I explained to Barnett that I was just trying to do my job and he pledged to work with me in setting up an interview with Sen. Champion over the next few weeks. I hope we can work it out.
Barnett also informed me that the Champion campaign would not be accepting our invitation to hold a District 30 Senate debate at KY3. "She's going around talking to lots of forums. We feel like the people know her and know what she has done. We think a debate would just be a chance for the other side to be negative," Barnett said.
And unlike Norma Champion, he doesn't duck debates.
The biggest yuck of all? Champion uses the nickname "Aunt Norma" in her political campaigns. It's even the way she's listed on the ballot. Where did she get it? From her time on KY3. She'll take their fluffy nickname. She won't take their tough questions.