Monday, October 14, 2002

George Pataki may have insisted on a lousy format for yesterday's New York gubernatorial debate -- the debate included all seven candidates and was by most accounts a mess -- but now no one can accuse the Republican governor of attempting to exclude or censor a third-party candidate who can take votes away from him, the well-heeled, self-financing fiscal conservative Tom Golisano.

I’ve long thought that Al Gore should have done something like this in response to Ralph Nader’s attempts to join the presidential debates. Gore could have said, "I welcome the chance to debate Ralph Nader," while insisting he would only do so if Pat Buchanan, or Buchanan and Libertarian Harry Browne -- both of whom actually qualified for more state ballots than Nader -- were also included. Why should only one major-party candidate have been compelled to compete in the debates with an ideological purist who had no chance of winning and thus no need to tack toward the center?

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