Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Fat Jack has the right idea when it comes to politics. Got a question? Ask the politician. In Jack's case it was Nancy Hagan, candidate for a state representative's seat in south Springfield. He wanted to know where she stands on The Issues -- you know, those pesky things that some citizens actually care about.

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.
We've decided to help with Harpool's campaign for Missouri Senate. We knew him when he was a state representative in the 1980s and 1990s, and we believe he is the better candidate for office. Much of this is based on the fact that Harpool talks about The Issues. He's not afraid to meet people who disagree with him. He listens.

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.


Anonymous said...

That's not all I saw on Catanese's desk. If you slow down the promo frame by frame you'll see a glossy 8x10 of Osama bin Laden, a candid shot of Catanese and Mullah Omar playing golf together, and at least one bar of soap stolen from a Holiday Inn. Jericho will break this as an exclusive tomorrow morning...

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say but David brought this on himself. He really shouldn't have any signs or stickers on his desk, not that I would judge him as biased but just the appearance of favoring one over the other with an innocent bumper sticker is enough for some to find excuses not to deal with him. That's why TV proomotins are such a farce. Why does he have to have political stickers on his desk to promote his political coverage? Show him on scene interwing the politicans. Don't take any signs, stickers, buttons. Don't use them, show them or touch them. Play it down the middle in all cases. He may think he's being fair and balanced and it' not a big deal but the whacks out there, especially those with an ax to grind, are looking for excuses to point a finger at him and accuse him of bias.

Anonymous said...

This is just another right-wing attempt to destroy a journalist doing his job. I've heard countless times that Catanese is tough on anyone and everyone he interviews. I guess it's like sport to him. I think the problem is he's too big for his britches. Springfield's not a big city, but Catnese's is acting like big city reporter. Half of these politicans have probably never been asked a tough question in their political lives. And now, whammo! Who's this guy? He annoys some people now, but we'll only appreciate him when he's gone. And that will probably only be a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

We've decided to help with "Harpool's campaign for Missouri Senate. We knew him when he was a state representative in the 1980s and 1990s, and we believe he is the better candidate for office. Much of this is based on the fact that Harpool talks about The Issues. He's not afraid to meet people who disagree with him. He listens."

Are you sure Doug being a Democrat wasn't your first basis for support? I'm surprised you didn't know Aunt Norma in the 1980's and 90's too.

Which republicans are you supporting this election cycle?

Do you think Judge Holden would have given Mark Foley a slap on the wrist (figuratively) and released him for exposing himself several times in Springield Libraries like he did our local
pedophile? Are you supporting Judge Holden or Bob Lawson?

I agree with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in thinking Hastert needs to go. I thought this from the minute I heard the news and didn't change my mind just because the Democrats came out saying the same thing.

Some of us nut job, conservative, right wing whacko kooks do have a sense of decency and common sense.

Champion by six percent.

Anonymous said...

"'ve heard countless times that Catanese is tough on anyone and everyone he interviews."

More often than not, He seems to be fishing for a specific sound byte, and keeps asking the question to try and get it.

He usually SEEMS more concerned with what he wants someone to say, rather than what they actually have to say...

Betty B. said...

Since Norma Champion will not debate Doug Harpool, please do us the favor of having an online debate with Doug's responses on all the issues. Norma's response for each question will be blank. We can all post it on our web sites. I have always been a Harpool fan, and think he would do a superlative job in representing us. It's really time to send Norma back to the Aunt Farm.

Anonymous said...

Dear Betty B, if your a Harpool fan and support his campaign, why do you give a rats rear-end what Norma Champion has to say? You don't, so stop pretending that you do.

Ron Davis said...

Gitmo asked: Which republicans are you supporting this election cycle?

None. As noted in the post, it's all about voting for the best candidate. None of the Republicans running in this cycle meets that standard. In past elections I've supported Jack Merritt for sheriff, Harold Bengsch and Roseann Bentley for county commission and Darrell Moore for prosecutor.

Ron Davis said...

Anon 1115: Where did BettyB say she didn't "give a rats rear-end [to] what Norma Champion has to say"? Unlike you, she's apparently able to listen to both sides, even when she supports one candidate over another. That's an admirable quality.

We'd all love to hear what Norma Champion has to say about the minimum wage, stem-cell research and the Medicaid cuts she voted for in 2005. Maybe she'll change her mind and agree to a public debate.

Ron Davis said...

BettyB: Good idea. Until then, here's what people can do. Visit each candidate's web site and find out where Champion stands and where Harpool stands on the issues.

Anonymous said...

I guess I am late to the discussion. I am a firm believer in voting for the right candidate. A candidate of integrity is worth his/her weight in gold no matter what the party affiliation.

I really enjoyed the "Nip It" on Doug TV. It was very creative. It was very effective to have him on the end discussing his initiative.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Dave C, but you can't ride both sides of the fence. Either you're a reporter or an opinion writer. Your political blog compromised your objectivity long ago. And if you and your producers didn't know any better than to let campaign materials appear in your own promo... well, I can't blame Aunt Norma for not taking any chances with you.