Should John Plumb agree to debates with Tom Reed?

Plumb4Congress_1Should John Plumb agree to debates with Tom Reed? Perhaps not. Debate may have helped Nate Shinagawa, but arguably did little to help Martha Robertson. Here are some considerations:

  1. The debate with Nate Shinagawa at Hobart and William Smith college, not a friendly venue for Tom Reed, was a plus for Nate. Reed won’t likely make that mistake again.
  2. The debate with Nate Shinagawa in the Powers Theater in the Clemens Center in Elmira attracted a large crowd of Nate’s supporters. Tom chose to debate Martha in the much smaller Mandeville Hall which he filled with his friends and family.
  3. Debates, if any, would be on Reed’s terms. As with Martha, Tom would probably take no risks with John Plumb.
  4. Agreeing to Reed’s terms would make John appear to be dominated by Tom. Refusing to debate would give John the initiative. If challenged, he could blame Reed or, taking a cue from Donald Trump, give some aggressive reason for his decision.
  5. John Plumb may have much to lose and little to gain from debates which give Tom the opportunity to spin any issue raised.
  6. Reed’s views should be well known by now. Plumb can differentiate himself from Tom at events that don’t give Tom the opportunity to defend himself with self-serving misinformation.

Possibly the best use of John Plumb’s time is to meet and speak with as many voters as he can in private gatherings.

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About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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13 Responses to Should John Plumb agree to debates with Tom Reed?

  1. Anne says:

    I think it might be telling to listen to a side-by-side discussion between Reed, a not-all-that-bright individual, and Plumb, an actual rocket scientist. While the group meetings and individual appearances are all well and good, I think most of those are subject to the audience’s confirmation bias. If there are people who are truly undecided (and honestly, I doubt substantial numbers of those exist) a debate is an excellent place to be able to compare in real time. The venue is of course a concern. But I also remember last time that Reed declined some debates–I think the League of Women Voters was one group trying to sponsor, and he said no–and I thought then that it made him appear bad.

    • whungerford says:

      If ducking debates with Martha Robertson made Tom look bad, it didn’t seem to hurt him at the polls. I doubt that many attend to a debate to learn the candidates’ views; as we know, Tom isn’t known for stating his views clearly (does he seek to save SS or destroy it?) . More likely people listen to debates for entertainment.

  2. fhb23 says:

    why is everyone assuming Plumb is the guy to take on Reed? He just moved here, he hasn’t taken any positions, and the primary isn’t till June. Is he a real liberal? Where doeshe stand on Iran? Will he travel to Ithaca to meet the voters?

  3. Deb Meeker says:

    We may be assuming too much to think that all aspects of debates would be on Tom Reed’s terms. We know Reed plays dirty politics, but his poor quality rhetoric might not go over so well after two more years of letting NY 23rd constituents down. Plus, voter turnout would be expected to increase in a Presidential election year.

  4. josephurban says:

    A debate would be good for any of Reed’s opponents. He will fill the mailboxes with lies (as he did in the last campaign) about his opponent and his own positions. A debate would give his opponent to ask him to actually explain his votes. Like, why he sent out flyers to old folks saying he would not allow any cuts in SS, then proceeded to sponsor a bill to refuse to transfer money into SS Disability. Why he continues to vote to end health care. Why he supports military intervention in Iran. Why he supports fracking without any protection for our water supply. Etc.

  5. pystew says:

    Reed’s live Debates MO is to have few debates and have them late, Usually in October. He will sit down for a radio debate, or a debate with reporters to have the results printed in their newspaper. Watch out for the the venues—the TV debate with Martha was in a small auditorium and his family and fans happened to have center-front seats which dominated the TV screen. I don’t think that 2016 will be any different.

    I agree that John should talk with people through out the district with events organized by local groups–County Democratic Committees; Veterans, Farmers, Environmental, Business, College Students, other groups.

    We have 11 counties in our district. Because of FCC cable rules only certain counties viewed the only televised debate. Since Yates and Ontario counties are in the Rochester TV market we didn’t see the political commercials unless we were watching Syracuse TV on cable. It is important for both candidates to be see in every county, have the constituents compare and contrast their strengths and weaknesses to get a large voter turnout.

  6. whungerford says:

    We can be certain that Tom Reed won’t agree to debates that might boost his opponent. Rather than settle for sham debates, John Plumb (or another opponent) should announce that he (or she) can’t be bothered to debate John Boehner’s honky fool or some such provocative statement which will get more publicity than a debate early in the campaign when it counts.

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