Mr. Cuomo’s primary challengers include Zephyr Teachout, a law professor, whose candidacy has attracted attention of late partly because of the governor’s simultaneous concern about it (he tried to get her removed from the ballot) and refusal to acknowledge it exists (he avoids uttering Ms. Teachout’s name).
Mr. Cuomo was asked about his refusal to debate and what message that sent about his “respect for democracy.”“I don’t think it has anything to do with democracy,” he replied. “I think it has to do with individual campaigns. Sometimes you have debates; sometimes you don’t have debates. It depends on the campaign. It depends on the issues.”“I’ve been in many debates that I think were a disservice to democracy,” he added. “So anyone who says debates are always a service to democracy hasn’t watched all the debates that I’ve been in.”
But State of Politics points out that Cuomo wanted to force any candidates who opted into public financing of their campaigns to submit to a debate:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be refusing to participate in debates this year, but he wanted to make them a requirement for any candidate who opts into the statewide public campaign financing system he proposed in his executive budget this year.
The mandate is clearly stated on P. 53, line 6 of Cuomo’s budget, which reads:
“The board shall promulgate regulations to facilitate debates among participating candidates who seek statewide office. Participating candidates are required to participate in one debate before each election for which the candidate receives public funds, unless the participating candidate is running unopposed. Nonparticipating candidates may participate in such debates.”The NYC public campaign finance system has required by law since 1996 that candidates for citywide office (mayor, comtproller, public advocate) participate in a series of debates before the primary and general elections if they are receiving matching funds. The debates are administered by the CFB, but sponsored by various media outlets as well as educational and civic groups.
How's that for hypocrisy?
Debates - mandated for candidates that take public financing (at least as envisioned in Cuomo's 2014 budget proposal), but bad for democracy when it means Cuomo has to submit to one.
You know what's bad for democracy?