The no-show non-debaters: Sali joins the crowd ...

Little did I know that this would become part of my beat here at the blog: writing about candidates saying no to debates.

The latest, 1st District Rep. Bill Sali, said no Tuesday to an Idaho Public Television debate — just five days before it was scheduled to take place. Sali spokesman Wayne Hoffman is citing time conflicts. "We just couldn't make it work in the schedule," Hoffman said in today's Statesman.

The debate's sponsors tried to come up with another time this weekend — including the less-than-ideal but better-than-nothing option of taping the debate for airing Sunday night. No go. From Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review's Eye on Boise blog:

"Hoffman said Sali’s schedule on that Saturday is booked up with a radio interview, a parade, a gun show and other campaign events. 'The whole day’s been blocked up,' he said. Hoffman said Sali has 'some kind of a meeting he was supposed to be attending' on Monday morning in Washington, D.C., so couldn’t debate on Sunday evening. 'Congressman Sali wishes it would work,' Hoffman said. 'There’s nothing I can do.'"

I'm not terribly sympathetic to the "busy schedule" argument, which 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson is also deploying to bow out of his debate. It's only marglnally better than the laughably tortured argument made by Senate candidate and Lt. Gov. Jim Risch — a squeamishness about a format that allows "cross talk" between the candidates.

The common thread between the debate no-shows is their perceived front-runner status. Sali and Simpson are incumbents facing relatively unknown challengers; Risch, the Senate candidate of choice among the GOP insiders, faces seven newcomers as well.

The front-runners, in theory, have nothing to gain and much to lose by giving the opposition free air time and an open opportunity to debate. I'd argue that, by being openly picky about which debates they attend, front-runners may actually cement their status as their party's "inevitable" nominee. Sali and Risch both have consented to taped debates sponsored by KTVB in Boise.

One thing is for sure: By saying no to this debate, Sali leaves his sole primary opponent, Matt Salisbury, on the outs. The 1st Congressional District debate is off, since Public TV does not air "empty chair" debates featuring only one candidate. Public TV's Senate debate will go on May 22, with or without Risch.

About the only risk comes if voters hold the front-runners to account for dodging debates. Something to consider, if you happen to bump into Sali at a gun show this weekend.

Disclosure: I'm vice president of the Idaho Press Club, which co-sponsors the Public TV debates along with the League of Women Voters. (The aforementioned Betsy Russell is the Press Club's president.) I'll also be helping with a panel of pundits offering online post-debate analysis of the Public TV debates — starting with Thursday night's Supreme Court debate, which airs at 8:30 p.m. Click here for the details.

What if

Sali's actually telling the truth?
Also, another common thread between the debate "no shows" is that they all have jobs in DC...

Kevin are you ACTUALLY this blind!!

Kevin, they are not "non-debaters" Sali appeared in the ch 7 debates, Risch will be in the ch 7 debates and participated in an online debate, where some other GOP primary candidate did not show. (some did to their credit)

Just because they do not participate in YOUR DEBATE does not make them "non-debaters." How arrogant of you to suggest.

You continue to pick on Risch, and fail to call out the others that skip out.

May I suggest a refresh course on journalism 101?

Bill Sali + Wayne Hoffman = Excuses

Poor Bill Sali. Let's look at the revelations about Mr. Sali that have been brought to light in the past couple of weeks.

1. BS enters current campaign owing thousands to his chief consultant.
2. On televised debate, he brags about his fundraising from the 1st congressional district as "over 85% in-district contributions". His actual numbers are nowhere near that percentage. Check the FEC reports.
3. Wow! BS publicizes his fundraiser where he raised $66,000. From whom was this money donated? Not Nampa, Fruitland, Post Falls, or Grangeville...but WASHINGTON D.C. interests.
4. Mr. Sali also now has blamed a "computer glitch" for his absence in a roll call vote on a bill for funding for veterans with traumatic brain injuries.
5. After his grassroots primary opponent, who is refusing PAC money, is starting to build momentum, Busy Bill has backed out of the televised Idaho Public Television debate scheduled, in advance, for months.

What are we to think of our public servant, Mr. Sali, who cannot take time for a short debate with his opponent, that would be televised to all four corners of Idaho? Somehow his opponent is finding time for the parade on Saturday and other events as well. Busy Bill and Weasel Wayne Hoffman are at it again!

All I know is that I don't want him serving my interests. All he has time for is the interests of advancing his political "career" and his big money interests from outside of Idaho.

There is a better option: Matt Salisbury. Vote for someone you can be proud of, who does not want to climb the political ladder by whatever means necessary.

A little word play for Bill Sali

He's also ranting about a vote for so and so is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, well Butthead a vote for Bill Sali is a vote for wealthy special interests, not Idaho interests.


Yes, they have jobs in DC, the jobs we send them to with our votes. As this is an election year it would seem they would value our votes.

The Channel 7 debates are fine, but the IPTV/LWV/IPC debates are statewide. They are designed to deliver the candidates to every nook and cranny, something that a local tv station cannot do, even with tapes and affiliates.

This is not KR's debate, nor mine (as a member of the Press Club), but rather the people's debate organized by their Public Television station and media reps from all over the state.

As an "R" I began this election cycle solidly for Risch and Sali. My enthusiasm for them continues to wane.

I never took J101, but I doubt it teaches that organizing public debates for the people is a display of arrogance.

My view of arrogance is running for the peoples' office and not standing to debate in front of them.


"This is not KR's debate, nor mine (as a member of the Press Club), but rather the people's debate organized by their Public Television station and media reps from all over the state."

That's rich. A public television station tilted in the opposite political direction than the majority of the state has more credibility than Channel 7? You think that KR and Betsy Russell don't show their true colors during the debate commentary, or their weekly show during the legislative session?


I don't see that word nor inference in my post.

Interestingly you use the same argument the national Dems used to try and avoid debates on Fox News. They claim it is not "fair and balanced" and that they would get a skewed debate. We "R's" mocked their comments and ballyhooed their cowardice.

If our Republican candidates are afraid to face KR and BR how will they do with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Reid, and President Obama?


Tomlin, where in the world do you get that they fear KR/BR?!?!?!?!

Also the NBC debate is webcast in its entirety, shows on every NBC affiliate in the state (ergo everywhere IPTV is available....NBC is available, AND NBC offers to give the tape to IPTV to rebroadcast. Now can you honestly tell me that is less than every "knook and cranny" of Idaho?

You asked about KR and BR slant

You made the debate panel the issue, not me.

I could not care less who the panel is - if you want my vote stand on the stage with the other candidates and say your piece. Trust the people to see through the panelists' slants.

Again, I have no quarrel with the Channel 7 event - but why not both? We're not asking for 15 or 20. Do the people not benefit from a couple of different takes?

Is it not interesting too that there are no scheduling problems with one debate, but the frontrunners cannot make the other? If the Dems pulled this I would be all over them.

I hate it when my Party's candidates give even a semblance of not being forthcoming or fully available.

You trust sheeple, that's your mistake

Most people wouldn't understand critical thinking skills if it landed on their nogin, transformed into an earmite and invaded their grey matter. Hairless apes, gotta love them.

Butthead Bill Sali

He probably had to schedule a fundraiser with some more big companies to pay his campaign debts.

Liberal biased debates in the Gem State

That's kind of like the "fair and balanced" reporting on Fox news and ABC's debate between Osama the Antichrist and Billary or is it shrillary. That's some fine unbiased journalism there.

P.S. My vote for President...

Greg House M.D./Ron White comedian

We need a couple of pricks to fix problems.

Looking forward to the usual "senior citizen" programming...

Waiting for God I think it is also.

What could be more important than the political process?

What could be more important to Sali than participating in the political process? I mean he is in fact asking all of us in Idaho for a job and now he does not want to go to the interview or answer questions from the people that depend on him doing a good job.

I guess maybe he has an appointment that day to get his toe nails done.

Come on folks, can't you see what is going on here, shutting out of the public and media that is not "on their side" from the NNU KTVB debates... Then this oh so obvious shunning of the open and fair Idaho Public Television debates by Sali...

It looks to me like Sali does NOT want to have to answer questions from the public or appear in a fair and open debate... I wonder why?

JFK's brain is alive in a jar in Brazil too.

Look kids, I believe that those of you who complain the loudest are going to vote for a Democrat anyway, which make all the whining about something you are not mandated to have anyway absolutely useless.

If you really want to win a primary election whining isn't going to strengthen your party image ONE WHIT. This is a playground argument and HONESTLY, SALI was so composed and in control as Salisbury melted down that YOU need to worry if a DEMOCRAT can beat him. He didn't lose any footing in that debate.

Isn't that what you wanted in the first place?

Okay...get rid of the schizoid strategy and get to work. I'm amazed how unorganized you guys are. You will surely lose otherwise.

PS Toenails done? Don't be moronic, PLEASE. You don't own the man like that even though you hire and fire him. I'm ashamed of that.

Guess what...

I don't care about who is a Democrat or Republican. People that choose their petty political party over the general good of the people and the Nation are a huge part of the problems we have in our country today.

What I care about is getting a person in office that will do a good job for EVERYONE in this great State and to be quite honest I don't care a whit if they are a Republican or a Democrat.

What I want in a US Senator is someone that puts the people of this state above their political party and Sali is not that person. Sali is just another political party whore that has shown us all that he places his political party and his financial contributors above his oath and responsibilities to the people of this State and Nation.

So foreignoregonian your wrong. I am not a Democrat and I will vote without a single consideration about some childish party affiliation.

Now why don't we all, go out and try to find a person that can do the difficult job of being a representative in the Senate for ALL the people of this state...

So why are you even arguing with me???


This is all Political Misery Syndrome.

If democrats want a win why don't the use the words & actions

of republicans? It's come to my attention through rebublican support that a national debt, over $9 trillion, growing at over a million dollars a minute is virtual, isn't real money. In fact it will go away when the economy recovers just as it did in the middle of the DEMOCRATIC CLINTON ADMINISTRATION??? I wrote in caps to get the attention of the not too bright democrats who would let these numbers & facts slip through their just as greedy but more incompetent fingers.

If the last national debt of trillions was paid of during a democratic administration, the same adminsitration that brought US the first surplus America has enjoyed in years, surplus turned deficit along with over $9 trillion in debt growing at over a million a minute, {not real money} in just seven years under republican rule, where are the dem.s? What more do you need to win an election then the republicans laughing at the national debt, calling it virtual, doesn't matter? While your family dies in war that really wasn't, {a little like the national debt, isn't, wasn't} the oil man, self proclaimed war President's idea even though he convinced Congress & the Senate to go along with it & we can't leave?

Full financial disclosure by all our representatives should be more evident every day. The Statesman printed an article about supreme court justices recusing themselves. Who was the judge with $100k to $250K invested in Exxon? Wasn't one of the same judges who appointed Dubya in 2000 was it? This all, war & death, bring Y2K back to life.

bin Laden knows where democrats & republicans are. In the pocket of contributors! Best weapon terrorist have & they're using it. Republicans & democrats are fighting back & forth while We the People pay for it, {not the imagnary national debt, not real, virtual} while the economy spins out of control as fuel prices rise. Must be rocket science, the working class just don't get it. We're being taken, sending family to die in Iraq, paying billions for a war that was only going to cost $50 billion, Iraq oil was going to pay for it even though we've already spent $600 billion, major fighting was over years ago but we can't leave due to major fighting, & the republican party is still in the country? Where are the tar & feathers?

Terrorist must be dancing around the fire with their favorite goat all dressed up in a pretty red, white, & blue dress, an American flag no doubt. US government the best weapon terrorist have through democracy we're also paying to promote in Iraq, {a little like illegal immigration} & I'd be dancing too. If I were a terrorist I'd pass around leaflets promoting democracy, set off another bomb every now & again to keep US in Iraq another day, week, month, year, hundred years at how many billion & keep seling US oil so the Bush dynasty can keep making money while the American economy swirls in the toilet like a brown trout.

How much can we add to the virtual, not real national debt in 100 years? Doesn't matter since the great, great, great, not so great, really getting hungry, illiterate due to NO $ for education, grandkids tired of walking because they can't afford $50 a gallon gas, cars, or roads, or a loaf of bread while corporate farmers, agri corruption & corporate contributors living in mansions get billions in subsidies so working class paying sales tax on food can only afford one child like China, will just pay it down through economic growth, in the 23rd century or sometime soon after, maybe the 25th century. I wonder if one child per family will be enough to support the military needs? We can't get out now, they'll come & get US, until the last child is standing alone in Iraq, surrounded by religious freaks promtoing style republican democracy.

Keep believing the lies & spin of this two party joke we call democray & we can all enjoy the above unless you are one of the few who manage to make it to millionaire status at the expense of the rest of US! Kind of like winning the lottery, odds are one in how many & that is the thought process of the republican party? You can win if you don't play.

I love this stuff, I'd be doing exactly as terroist are as long as we continue down this pay of lose/political process in which the rich get richer & the working class lose more $, health care, jobs, retirement, homes, & family in this war while the price of fuel goes up as we pay more for oil everyday! bin Laden said we would, said we'd spend a million for every dollar they spent knowing Bush, the financial wizard would go to war & they could count on the two parties, campaign fnance, corporate welfare, & the American people so willing to follow while paying for it all.

Being an empire doesn't mean we can't be an empire manipulated into poverty through the same greed that made US an empire. Sounds like a plan put together by terrorist. Who is the enemy, our representation? What was the name of that other empire, Rome? Like Iraq to Vietnam, no comparisons?

Bounce, Bounce, Bounce, & spin. Sounds like a dance, is it the republican two step with a twist & shout? The republican war machine party needs to watch the US verses John Lennon. Nixon was all about getting Lennon out of the US because Lennon & peace were a threat to the war machine. Bush is in many ways the same as Nixon, all about war, evesdropping, wiretapping, & war. In the end Nixon was out, Lennon was a legal US citizen along with the birth of a child on Lennon's own birthday. A fool brought Lennon's life to an early end but if he were here today, Bush & the war machine would be out.

Lennon may be gone, only in body as his spirit & genius live on, I still believe in his message. "All we are saying is give peace a chance." If we can get the war/fear mongers to listen to common sense maybe peace will one day be reality.

It seems once they get the taste of power, blood, & killing like terrorist, they can't stop. They're all the same, using religion as their tool as if God is a killer. The sick puppies need help.

"...bin laden knows..."

I am always amazed at the people who have had recent conversations with that man.


the rest wonder if we can shoot them ;-ppppppppp

Who are the people conversing with bin Laden?

I read about what he says in the paper & see tapes on the news. It's a little like the US commission that reported to Congress the possible use of planes as bombs if hijacked. We can't all be there & that is why we watch the news.

Maybe bin Laden doesn't exist, he's virtual & 9/11 never happened. There, now we can leave Iraq, the war that our self proclaimed war president never started is virtual as well.

Funny how one word can solve so many problems, it made me understand how a $9 trillion debt growing at over a million dollars a minute isn't real either. Looks like the economy is going to take off this moring, right after coffee. Doesn't really matter in a virutal world though so what do we do now?

Imagine, John Lennon, Give peace a chance. I wonder if the same people talking to bin Laden could get with John? Funny, US government doesn't like people of peace in America or any people outside the US. Bush makes clear we can't talk to others, insists we must have war. Is that a republican thing or US government? Was Nixon republican? I don't recall.

Bush reminds me of that Elmer Fudd guy, on Bugs Bunny, you know the guy. Kill the rabbit, kill the rabbit, & the rabbit always wins. We need to put a picture of Bush as Elmer Fudd chasing bin Laden as Bugs Bunny, all over the world like Lennon did with bill boards & peace. If we made fun of these two losers maybe peace would have a chance.

Think about it, Bush with a gun & that crazed look in his eye saying, kill the rabbit, kill the rabbit, & Bugs chewing on a carrot saying, what's up doc. Make them the joke they really are. With UN support, every country should put up posters all over the world. Give peace a chance with Elmer & Bugs while playing Lennon's music all over the world at the same time in a world wide protest of war. You know, top of the hour, every hour, play the song, Give Peace a Chance. Wouldn't go over well with the republican party & the war machine just like when Lennon was alive but why let the genius of Lennon & peace be in the shadow of mad men & war?

Too late

That cartoon has long been done. Years ago.

Don't worry, next January Bush will be gone, and all will be well with you. Just hang on until then.

Who is worried?

I guess anything that happened in the past never comes back around. Haven't seen any of the bands from the past making comebacks? Haven't seen any cartoons from the past coming back around as movies? Haven't seen any movie remakes? Maybe the republicans need to come out of ther control freak turtle shell. Scared of wht the world might be, afraid of change?

Is war the only thing republicans can enjoy? Is killing that important? What kind of control freak mentality is the republican party all about? Hide in the shell, fear, war, & those evil doers are after US? Grow up, every day is a new day, to suggest waiting for the war monger to be gone is foolish. Let's bash the guy for all his killing no differently than he bashes others for their killing. Muder is murder, just because he's the US President calling others evil doers doesn't make him any better or different, & to suggest shouldn't be punished for the same crimes just because he's the American President is ignorant.

The republican party is really starting to show their true agenda, $$$, power, control, & kill, kill, kill. So afraid to lose their control they'd do anything. I can't believe the world is willing to tolerate this behavior. I'm beinging to understand why so many hate US. Spoiled brats starting wars is a little over the top, time to call them home, scold, & put a paddle to them for all the world to see.

"Muder is murder"

Actually it is not.

We (the U.S.) certainly have our faults and failings. But I have yet to see Al Qaeda or Islam showing up in Burma with food and water, medical supplies, doctors and nurses, tents and towels, and other aid.

We don't always do good...but it is generally our intent to do so. Our wars are against those whose sole intent is to do evil.

The ruling junta is more scared of being toppled...

than China was of activists. Mother Nature has spoken with them also.