The first general election debate of the year (moderated by Candy Crowley of CNN) between George Allen and Tim Kaine, in one of the most crucial, tightly-contested (and watched) U.S. Senate races in the country, just wrapped up a few minutes ago. I wasn't physically present, as the debate was held in remote, rural Virginia (at the luxury Homestead resort), and I didn't feel like spending several hours (not to mention gasoline) driving there and back again. In addition, there was no TV, radio, or intertubes livestream for some idiotic reason (more on that below). Still, I did my best to cover the debate regardless. For the complete live blog/demolition derby action, click here with updates via Twitter and also from other sources deep inside the hallowed halls of The Homestead.
By the way, you're probably wondering why this extremely important debate isn't being televised, radio broadcast, and/or livestreamed online. It's truly astounding, and really makes you wonder who's responsible for this travesty to democracy (and no, I don't buy the "tradition" argument; the world advances, and so should the Virginia Bar Association debates!).
Let's just put it this way; it's highly unlikely, bordering on impossible, that this blackout was demanded by Tim Kaine. That's simply not the way Kaine is about these types of things; in fact, it's totally out of character for Kaine in general.
Now George Allen, on the other hand; well he's a totally different story. In 2006, we saw how thin skinned he could be, how hypersensitive, and how worried about making a gaffe (or more likely, multiple gaffes). For good reason, too, for all of us who remember not just "macaca," but everything after "macaca," including Allen's absurd explanation for what that meant and why he said it, his vicious lashing out at reporter Peggy Fox for the audacity of asking him about his Jewish background (which turned out to be 100% correct, by the way), and other assorted idiocies. We also know that Allen hates to talk to the non-right-wingnut press, and avoids doing so at all costs. For instance, Allen refused to talk to the press after the Republican primary debates this past spring.
In sum, Allen's the classic coward/bully combination, someone who tries desperately to cultivate an image of geniality, but is actually as nasty as they come ("shove their soft teeth down their whining throats," anyone? yep, that's our Felix!), and it would certainly be in character for him to be a d*** about not allowing the first general election debate with Tim Kaine to be broadcast. That's my theory, and I'm sticking with it, although I'm certainly open to other ideas...
P.S. Also remember, George Allen has a lot to hide, starting with his miserable record in the U.S. Senate, where he voted 96% of the time with George W. Bush in the disastrous policies that turned record surpluses into massive deficits; that burdened us with two unpaid-for wars and an unpaid-for new entitlement program; etc. Allen also wants everyone to forget about his disgraceful reelection campaign in 2006, as well as what he's done since 2006 (whoring for dirty energy interests for wads of cash). And, of course, Allen's divisive, extremist agenda isn't exactly one that's going to play well with most Virginians if they truly understand what it's all about. Other than that, I'm sure Allen's VERY eager to have these debates seen by as many Virginians as possible. (snark)
P.P.S. Kaine hit Allen hard, and Allen had ZERO response, on Allen's utter fiscal recklessness in the U.S. Senate - again, Allen voted 96% of the time with George W. Bush, as well as against Paygo and to raise his own pay multiple times. Kaine also went after Allen on his support for a so-called "Personhood Amendment," which would effectively make contraception, let alone abortion, illegal in this country. And Kaine nailed Allen on his overall style of dividing people, "smash-mouth politics," nastiness (e.g., comments like shoving Democrats "soft teeth down their whining throats"), etc. To all of that, Allen had no response, at least none that was substantive or coherent. I just wish this debate had been televised!