Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The governor doesn't want to debate in front of smaller-town audiences

So Roy Brown calls for 18 debates, and the governor predictably says no.

Not sure why he wouldn't want to debate in smaller communities -- after all, the governor and his supporters have been trying to pin the old "big oil" label on Sen. Roy Brown (as if it would be something to be ashamed of even if it were true.) The governor needs to spend just a wee bit more time with the folks in Billings, where he will discover that there simply isn't any "big oil" here. If he thinks that what we have here is "big oil," then he needs to get out more -- to places other than California fundraising soirées, that is.

And then the governor's spokesmen are apparently now trying to make an issue out of the fact that Roy Brown went to high school in... Wyoming.

Wow. Talk about nailing one of those uppity foreigners to the wall.

We seem to recall an article from during the last legislative session indicating that a very large percentage (at least 40%) of Montanans weren't born here -- will they be amused by the governor trying to make an issue out of Brown being from such a distant and exotic locale as... Wyoming?

Or maybe the guv is just unhappy about the fact that Roy Brown is continually reminding Montanans in this campaign about how Wyoming (and North Dakota) are making money hand-over-fist in the energy industry while by contrast Montana's governor has been sitting on his hands when it comes to energy policy (and shaking his fists at anyone who crosses him.)

And the Brown campaign won the round with this one alone:

In response to Schweitzer's call for five debates, Brown's spokesman Tyler Matthews called it "disappointing that the governor doesn't want to go anywhere in the state where there won't be a TV camera."

Ouch. We definitely want to see Brown and Schweitzer debating in places like Miles City, Sidney, and Dillon. But we can expect to see the governor dodging that sort of thing. While he talks the rural talk, he's really more comfortable in Missoula and Helena -- when he has to be here in Montana at all.

When it comes right down to it, the governor's race is the only really big game in town this year -- the press should want to milk it for all it's worth, and press for a long series of debates. The governor may have to miss a few out of state fundraisers -- but we think the sacrifice would be worth it.

Update: More at Big Sky Cairn.

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