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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sen. Orrin Hatch spends time with delegates from Salt Lake County at the Deseret Power building in South Jordan on Monday, April 2, 2012. U.S. Senate candidates are essentially in hand-to-hand combat over state delegates, trying to meet or phone them personally.
Orrin vs. Dan: One debate, on the radio, while you are at work ...

Last weekend, The Salt Lake Tribune published a small editorial [second of three in this file] lamenting the fact that six-term U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch hasn't found time to debate his rival in the June 26 Republican primary, Dan Liljenquist.

... Claims that he’s too busy now, when voters have an important decision to make, just don’t wash. It is certainly not uncommon for incumbents, especially those with big leads and bigger bank accounts, to avoid debates that would only give their lesser-known rivals more attention. Not uncommon. And not very respectful of the voters. ...

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The Deseret News published a BIG editorial, not only expressing displeasure at the lack of debates, but offering, with its corporate brethren at KSL TV to air it on prime-time television.

... Although contemporary political debate can sometimes devolve into demagoguery and sound bites, we do not believe that is how either of these statesmen would approach debate. And frankly we know of no better forum for allowing voters to compare candidates side-by-side, to clarify differences, to evaluate command of issues and to contrast their ability to persuade. ...

Today, Hatch's answer to all that.

One debate. On the Doug Wright radio show, which is on the air from 9 a.m. to noon., some time in late June.

A page, perhaps, from Richard Nixon's playbook? You know, the belief that people who listened to the Kennedy-Nixon debates on the radio thought Nixon won, while those who watched on TV called the match for John F. Kennedy. (Debunked here.)



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