George Phillies for President 2008
Debate and Civility
Worcester, Mass, April 29: Libertarian Presidential Candidate George Phillies issued a statement today regarding civility in debate in the Presidential race, taking candidates to task for mudslinging while encouraging his fellow Libertarian candidates not to shy away from asking and answering hard questions.
“Each Party’s Presidential campaign has given us spectacular exchanges: Giuliani vs Paul in their first debate. Clinton vs Obama, debate after debate after debate. The Libertarian spat between Ruwart and Root,” said Phillies. “When exchanges degenerate to the level of a Jerry Springer episode, the issues are lost in the shouting.
“On one hand, many Americans wish that candidates would always be nice to each other. They’re right. It’s bad for America when arguments about flag pins drown out questions on the Federal debt and the trade deficit.
“On the other hand, and I say this to my fellow candidates of all parties, if you can’t face down critics in your own party, how will you face down your real opponents this Fall? To their credit, Senators Clinton, McCain, and Obama took the worst their fellow Democrats and Republicans threw at them. It was trial by fire, and they emerged as better candidates and better people. At the very least, they demonstrated their ability to hold their ground and defend their viewpoints.
“Libertarians should take that lesson to heart. The Libertarian Party is a political party, not an academic pontificating society. Americans expect candidates to differ with their opponents when there are differences, not to pretend those differences aren’t there. They want to see and explore those differences, and we need to let them.
“At the same time, debate can get carried away. Attacks that should be leveled at issues are instead leveled at candidates themselves. The objective, after all, is to move toward victory in November. Libertarians expect that Libertarian candidates will campaign for fellow Libertarians, not for our Democratic opponents. Libertarians expect that Libertarian candidates will take libertarian stands, not embrace positions of the remote religious right. Libertarians expect that Libertarian candidates will self-identify as Libertarian, not as Republican. Readers in other parties justly have exactly the same expectations about their own candidates.”
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George Phillies for President 2008 http://ChooseGeorge.org