Letter: Why is McClintock afraid of a Tahoe debate? (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter: Why is McClintock afraid of a Tahoe debate? (opinion)

Rep. Tom McClintock, our absentee member of Congress, has just made the cowardly decision to back out of a debate in Tahoe with Jessica Morse — his first serious political challenger in years.

It's bad enough that McClintock has all but ignored Lake Tahoe, he has not held a town hall in the Tahoe basin in over 2.5 years. For him to run away from one of only two face-to-face debates — and the only debate in the Tahoe region — displays either a cynical willingness to snub Tahoe or a craven fear toward his own constituents.

McClintock claims that he's backing out because the head of the Sierra Business Council, which has endorsed Jessica Morse, is sponsoring the debate. Don't believe it for a second.

A debate is a debate, and both candidates have to agree on the format and ground rules in advance. Both candidates should assume they will face tough questions, but they can also ensure that the playing field is level. If the organizer is sympathetic to your opponent, it's perfectly fair to insist on another questioner who's impartial.

If McClintock really thought this debate would be unfair, he could have easily proposed another one in this area. He hasn't done so, of course, and that reveals a lot.

It's worth remembering that Jessica Morse initially challenged Absent Tom to four debates. After weeks of dithering and dodging, he finally agreed to two. And now to just one.

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To those of us in the Tahoe Basin, that should be disqualifying.

Susan Chandler

South Lake Tahoe, California