Day: October 17, 2012

Green Party Candidate Arrested at Presidential Debate. Again.

So Jill Stein and running-mate Cheri Honkala were arrested outside of last night's debate.

Much the same thing happened to Ralph Nader in 2000. He sued the Commission on Presidential Debates; they settled. Back then I was naïve enough to think this was going to make a difference and this would bring down the CPD, or at least force major reforms. But nope, here we go again.

There are differences. Nader had a ticket; Stein didn't. Stein blocked traffic; Nader didn't. And I'm not sure if Stein's arrest was instigated by the CPD or if the county police acted independently. Could be that Stein and Honkala wanted to get arrested to get some press -- but even if that's the case, it's not justification for handcuffing them to a chair for eight hours, as they have alleged. That sounds to me like a wildly disproportionate response and another potential lawsuit.

Unfortunately I'm not seeing much coverage of the story, and many of the reports get details wrong -- CNN refers to the CPD as "nonpartisan" -- it's bipartisan; there's a difference -- and the Washington Post refers to Perot participating in the 1992 debates under guidelines that were not implemented until 2000.

Would sure be nice if people like Stein and Johnson and Nader and Buchanan and, yes, Perot were allowed into presidential debates. But the CPD exists for the express purpose of keeping people like them out.