Runnin' Reynolds fleeing another debate?
Camera-shy State Sen. Tom Reynolds, who was a no-show at a debate last month because video cameras weren't banned, and he was afraid they would catch him looking/saying something stupid, is well on the way to doing it again.
Reynolds and his opponent, Wauwatosa Alderman Jim Sullivan, had agreed some time back to debate at St. Therese Catholic Church, 9525 W. Bluemound Rd., on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. Other congregations are co-sponsors.
At Reynolds' insistence, the Sullivan campaign agreed that it would not videotape the debate, and would not use video from the event in campaign commercials. That is spelled out in a letter from David McGinnis, who is organizing the event, to the candidates:
"In order to deal with Senator Reynolds' concerns, we have all agreed that the two campaigns will not videotape the event. And the campaigns have agreed that any video that might be taken at the event will not be used in campaign ads," the letter says.
"We cannot prohibit all taping," McGinnis wrote, "in part because of modern technology. We cannot and will not confiscate cell phones with video capability, nor are we in a position to issue press credentials. This provision, however, would seem to address Mr. Reynolds' concerns."
Well, guess again. Reynolds is now telling the organizers that unless they ban all video and audio taping during the show, we will not participate.
That is sheer lunacy. But you'd expect lunacy from a lunatic, so maybe it shouldn't be surprising.
What is surprising is that any elected official, no matter how far out in orbit he might be, would take the position that no one can record what he has to say at a public event -- an event at which he is appearing because he is asking people to reelect him to office.
Sullivan's campaign and the sponsors already have gone the extra mile. There is no good reason Sullivan shouldn't be able to use what Reynolds says in a commercial. But if he's willing to agree to that to get Reynolds to come out of his hole, that's his decision.
I hope the organizers will stand up to Reynolds' threats and go ahead with the event, whether he decides to show up or not. Sullivan and Reynolds' empty chair at the last event sent a message to voters. A repeat performance would simply reinforce the message that their State Senator is too paranoid to tell them why they should vote for him.
Let the forum proceed. If it does, I predict there will be some cameras there. And that Reynolds will be a no-show, bringing himself one step closer to a well-deserved defeat in November.
UPDATE: Gretchen Schuldt on that wacky Reynolds crowd. The Spice Boys have more on the debate debate.