If you thought that the heated debate surrounding Boise's new anti-smoking ban was incendiary, meet John Raese. A Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, Raese is comparing his county's smoking ban to Adolf Hitler forcing Jews to wear the Star of David. Raese was railing against Monongalia County's recently enacted smoking ban as an example of government overreach.
"In Monongalia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my buildings to say this is a smoke-free environment," said Raese. "Remember Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody’s lapel, remember that? Same thing."
Raese also referred to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as "Fidel Roosevelt" in the same speech.
Raese is challenging former West Virginia Democratic Gov. Joe Machin for the U.S. Senate seat.
Raese joins a long list of politicians, both Republican and Democratic, who have chosen to compare Hitler's actions to cotemporary issues, including California Gov. Jerry Brown, Tennesee Rep. Steve Cohen, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Florida Rep. Allen West.
KTVB told me they'd be live-streaming the debates tonight on their website, which is good, because I'm planning on liveblogging the debate from an apartment owned by someone who does not believe in TV antennas. But at the moment, the KTVB website doesn't appear to have anything I can click on to take me to said live-streaming debate. Hopefully all will become clear within the next 10 minutes, and I won't feel like an idiot without anything to blog about. (Update: Just talked to a very nice guy named Jeremy at KTVB who says the blue "Watch This!" link looking thing on the home page that isn't a link now will be a link in just a couple minutes, when the debate goes live. So if, like me, you are antenna-less, just watch for it. It's the black linky thing.)
Anyway, if you want to play a little drinking game, I suggest you follow many of the same rules from the last debate:
1) Drink any time LaRocco pesters Risch to debate him on IPTV.
2) Drink any time LaRocco talks about one of his 35 jobs.
3) Drink any time Rammell says Risch should change parties.
4) Drink any time Rammell says "green" like it's a swear word.
5) Three drinks if Libertarian candidate Kent Marmon makes an appearance.
6) Five drinks if Risch or LaRocco take any of the third-party candidates seriously.
7) New rule: Two drinks if anyone mentions Joe the Plumber.
Oh, boy, technical difficulties. I can't get any audio. I called KTVB; Jeremy just tried it too, and there's no audio online. He will do what he can to get it fixed. Anyone following along here with the TV, please feel free to comment about what's going on.
6:45 -- Yay, audio is on!
6:46 -- Pro-Life says our money is false. Your currency is a lie! We should all go back to gold and silver, because look where centuries of your fake paper money have gotten us.
6:48 -- LaRocco doesn't want to cut you a stimulus check. He wants to put money into building roads and bridges. I CAN'T EAT PAVEMENT, LARRY.
6:50 -- Yay, pizza's here!
6:50 -- LaRocco said Risch benefited at least $53,000 from his own property tax plan.
6:52 -- Not even close, Risch said -- it was $1,000. LaRocco's sticking with his numbers. Risch said if he got that amount, he'll drop out of this race.
6:57 -- Yay, Rammell's here! So apparently he was in the hospital? Pro-Life said a prayer for him on this very stage.
6:58 -- Pro-Life says we're about to have Refrigerator Police and Democratic Communism. Then he goes all No Nukes on us.
7:00 -- On the gas price question, Risch says drilling is a short-term energy solution. I believe that's supposed to take 10 years?
7:00 -- LaRocco says he supports drilling, and says no, he hasn't taken any money from oil companies unlike Risch. Risch of course claims that LaRocco owns oil stocks. (It's apparently some kind of larger investment package like a mutual fund that includes some oil companies, LaRocco says.)
7:00 -- Rammell considers Risch's pro-drilling and pro-carbon cap policies contradictory.
7:03 -- Rammell says anyone who commits abortion should be charged with murder. Risch says abortion shouldn't be legal, but wants a state's rights approach and doesn't want to punish women who get abortions, just doctors. Pro-Life said even people who drive women to baby-murder centers (his words, not mine) are involved in pre-meditated murder. LaRocco says he abhors abortion, but he doesn't believe in the government getting involved in personal decisions.
7:10 -- Pro-Life is anti-NAFTA and anti-any trade agreement. LaRocco said he voted against it because he felt it would outsource jobs; Risch says it's not perfect in it's current form, but we need free trade.
7:11 -- Pro-Life says Americans are becoming imperialists. As long as we get the Darth Vader theme from Empire Strikes Back, right?
7:15 -- Risch says he wants to get his information he bases decisions on from Mike Crapo, from various websites and publications (what, can he not name one, like Sarah Palin?), but mostly from the people of Idaho. Pro-Life says he won't get his info from the people of Idaho because the people of Idaho are selfish. Literally, he said this. He also said he sometimes gets his information from Liberals, because sometimes they'll tell you the truth. Rammell says he gets his info from Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, Glenn Beck, Fox TV -- basically your entire rabid hate-spewing Conservative coterie. LaRocco says he gets his info from the people he works side-by-side with on his jobs-for-a-day. Drink!
7:22 -- What would you cut from the budget? Rammell says he'd cut No Child Left Behind; Pro-Life says he'd cut Social Security and that public education is the 10th plank of the Communist Manifesto.
7:25 -- Is Rammell crying about his dead elk? His voice sounds trembly. I'm not sure if it's the illness or if he's just that close to crying. "He should go to jail, not to the United States Senate," he said about Risch. Risch said he didn't like having the elk destroyed, but that Rammell refused to corral the elk, and the Department of Agriculture told him they were a problem and couldn't guarantee they were disease-free.
7:30 -- Thirty-five jobs! Drink! Also, LaRocco lists violent video games in the same breath with rushing into war and the decline of the economy. I'm sorry, but I didn't realize my Bioshock fixation was destroying America.
7:33 -- "The people that run this world, they're Fascists, you know," Pro-Life says. Now Pro-Life is crying as he struggles to say, "if you violate your conscience, you harm America."
7:35 -- "Larry Craig has been in office for a number of years now ... what would change if you were in his office?" Well, certainly less clandestine gay bathroom sex, right?
7:37 -- Every month there are thousands of veterans who attempt suicide, LaRocco said, and Craig didn't do enough for veterans. He also stood in the way of Crapo and Simpson's wilderness bills and rubber-stamped the war, he said. Risch praised Craig for the Craig-Wyden bill, among other things, because it was incredibly important for rural Idaho -- it gives money to communities that lost out on tax dollars when timber harvests were disallowed. (Hey Risch, maybe you could tell Bill Sali that.)
7:44 -- Wait, is Pro-Life suggesting health care professionals should not be regulated? Like, no testing or anything? I'm still not letting you do my brain surgery, Pro-Life.
7:47 -- Rammell says Risch is green like it's a filthy, filthy thing. Drink! Omigosh, Pro-Life is next, and he's an organic strawberry farmer.
7:52 -- LaRocco says Risch should show up to the IPTV debate. Drink!
7:54 -- LaRocco says he'd be bipartisan and he'd love to be in a delegation with Crapo, Simpson and Minnick.
7:55 -- Rammell said Risch is going back and forth on privatizing Social Security and that the Republican Party (i.e., Risch) left him (Rammell) and conservatives like him.
7:55 -- Pro-Life is saying something about gold coins and debased paper money and that you should be able to learn about this issue at church.
7:57 -- Risch is only comparing himself to LaRocco and is tarring LaRocco as pro-high taxes. And he's using the change card -- "I know how to do change."
7:59 -- In a sentence: Risch said he'd lower gas prices and taxes. Pro-Life said he'll save babies. Rammell says Risch has no integrity. LaRocco said he's not a liberal Democrat and that, contrary to what Risch has said, he didn't vote for the largest tax increase ever; he'd vote for a balanced budget.
8:01 -- And we're done! Remember to vote, and tip your waitress generously.
KTVB caught some flack when it refused to allow some members of the media, including the Associated Press and the Idaho Statesman, into its Republican primary debate for U.S. Senate in May. This time around, the television execs seem to have changed their minds.
When asked if a reporter for the Boise Weekly could attend the KTVB debate for the five-way Senate race, a KTVB representative said reporters would be allowed in along with the general public. Only members of the panel would be allowed to ask questions in the debate, however.
The debate airs live tonight from 6:30 to 8 PM, followed by a debate between Rep. Bill Sali and Walt Minnick, who are running for Idaho’s First Congressional District seat.
The Senate race is between Republican Jim Risch, Democrat Larry LaRocco, independents Rex Rammell and Pro-Life, and Libertarian Kent Marmon. Marmon claims he was not invited and is urging supporters to call the station and protest. He plans to attend and sit in the audience.
Rammell was shut out of the GOP Primary debate in May and left in the parking lot along with the media.
The KTVB debate is one of only three that Risch has agreed to appear in during the general election season, and the one that would be closest to reaching statewide.
Candidates for Idaho’s Second Congressional District will battle it out in the KTVB debate on Thursday starting at 7 PM.
Something called the Idaho Media Coalition puts on these debates. It includes the KTVB News Group, KPVI, Peak Broadcasting, Idaho Business Review, Idaho Cable Telecommunications Association, Idaho Press-Tribune, KREM and Northwest Nazarene University. Notice Boise Weekly is not in this particular coalition.
Citydesk is not going to go all the way to Nampa to watch these things just because we can, but check back for another blogging event soon…
From BW's Senate race correspondent Lora Volkert:
Last night Jim Risch debated Larry LaRocco and Rex Rammell for the first time of this campaign. You can watch the whole thing on KLEW's Web site. Hey, watch it twice and try BW's post-debate drinking game below...
New York Sen. Chuck Shumer, chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee gave Idaho U.S. Senate candidate Larry LaRocco a pat on the back this morning, after presenting a slate of Democratic Senate challengers in battleground states to the press.
“Larry LaRocco is doing well,” Schumer said, in response to a shouted query from BW that penetrated the media horde surrounding an unfazed Schumer. “Idaho is a very red state.”
Then he walked off with his two harried aides.