KXAN covered Mr. Doggett's refusal to debate here, pointing out that Mr. Doggett, Donna Campbell, and Libertarian Jim Stutsman did all meet together at a candidate forum in Bastrop. However, my understanding of that get-together was that Mr. Doggett placed severe restrictions on the format of the event, leading to a setup in which he was always able to have the last word, distorted or not, against anything said by Dr. Campbell. The way it was related to me, it did not sound like a fair debate.
(And since someone will call me on this if I don't say it, I would have liked to see Rick Perry have a fair debate with Bill White as well. With that said, I still prefer Gov. Perry's policies to Mr. White's. But I digress.)
In any case, Dr. Campbell's invitation to debate, having not been the "gimmicky, last-minute attempt" that Mr. Doggett portrayed it to be (the invitation was made over a month ago), was pretty much blown off by Mr. Doggett, and so, as promised by the Campbell campaign, the would-be debate became a rally for Dr. Donna.
I got to be present at this rally, and I noticed a lot of people more fired up about an election in which Lloyd Doggett was on the ballot than I have seen, well, ever. The convention wisdom, of course, says that District 25 is too blue for a conservative to overcome, but these people were excited. Several people related stories of the responses they were getting in different areas of the district, including here in Austin.
And Dr. Donna, when she spoke, was pretty much radiating excitement (despite being hampered presently by a broken leg) about the campaign, about getting to work for the people of District 25, and about setting the record straight with regard to statements made by Mr. Doggett.
For example, she relayed a story about meeting a student at Texas State University this week who parroted the usual Doggett talking points ("she's too extreme", et al), and she got into a discussion with him in which she mentioned the Doggett Amendment, which will result in Texas losing $830 million in education funding. The student refused to believe that Mr. Doggett was responsible for Texas losing the education funding in that way, and so Dr. Donna led him to Mr. Doggett, who happened to be on campus that day as well (he appears to be campaigning much harder this year than he usually needs to do), and she asked him whether he voted to cost Texas $830 million in education funding. As she relayed it, Mr. Doggett's answer was first to try to duck the question entirely, and then, eventually, to turn his back on them while mumbling "it's Rick Perry's fault". There needed to be more of an answer from Mr. Doggett to this question, which is certainly not as cut-and-dry as he would like to make it out to be.
And, of course, she talked about Mr. Doggett's other education attack, which this blog has discussed previously, that, of course, being his outrageous statement that Donna Campbell is against education funding. PolitiFact, which has previously come under fire in this space for misrepresenting facts itself, got into the middle of this question, rating Mr. Doggett's statement "mostly true".
Whatever, PolitiFact. Let's take a look at Dr. Donna's statement on federal funding, as presented in Mr. Doggett's ad, in answer to the question "Would you vote to end federal funding for education?"
Federal funding for education? Yes.
The clip abruptly cuts off there in Mr. Doggett's ad. Obviously, then, Donna Campbell wants children to be uneducated!
Once again, the record must be corrected. PolitiFact presents her answer in context:
Federal funding for education? Yes. Because ... it’s a job of the states. Choices need to be put back in the hands of the parents and state.
Dr. Campbell is not talking about shutting down funding for schools; she is talking about cutting the federal government out of the middle of it. Her position is this: why should we send a billion dollars to the federal government, just to get $830 million back (or not, thanks to Mr. Doggett)? Is education for children any better because we have however many bureaucrats in Washington making rules about how our education monies should be spent, or how our children should be taught?
(And no, this is not just an Obama Administration issue...this blog has previously spoken about the travesty known as "No Child Left Behind", or, as Mrs. Snowed calls it, "Every Child Left Behind". More federal government involvement is not a boon to education, regardless of who the president is. Period.)
Before Dr. Campbell finished, she made a point of wanting to shake the hand of every person at the rally. I had not met her before (although her team did give my blog its best traffic day in almost a year* by linking to this post), so I welcomed the chance to say hello to her. She understood that my circumstances prevented my doing much more than writing a fourth-rate blog with only a few regular readers**, and so she personally asked me to write about the rally.
And in return, thank you to Dr. Donna for your energy, your stances, and your willingness to serve this district. And best wishes for a quick recovery for the broken leg.
Please check out Dr. Donna's website here, and be sure to vote on Tuesday.
*It rather puts my political blogging in perspective when I admit that my biggest traffic day in the past year was due to a hip-hop station biting the dust.
**The author once again takes this time to say hello to his father.