NEWARK, Del. (AP) - A spokeswoman for the University of Delaware says a Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives was arrested after participating in a disturbance before a debate at the university.
University of Delaware spokeswoman Andrea Boyle Tippett says candidate Bernie August and another person, Desmond Kahn of Newark, were arrested Tuesday evening and face disorderly conduct charges. Kahn also faces a resisting arrest charge.
The two were part of a group that stood up to chant and speak at the start of the debate at the university's Mitchell Hall.
Two other candidates for U.S. House were debating, but August had not qualified to debate. The university says he did not apply.My initial favorite part of this article is that Bernie and Desmond were "participating in a disturbance," which is a nice way of not ever having to say the word "protest."
Why is this important? Because you protest either for or against something, so if the word is used then the story pretty much has to tell you what their issue was. You will note that this AP story doesn't. Bernie and Desmond apparently just got up to disturb the debate because they did not like Ralph Begleiter's tie, or something.
But it's the last paragraph that contains the actual lie, and it's fairly obvious to any close reader, because the two sentences are not even internally consistent.
First we are told "August had not qualified to debate." Then we are told, "The university says he did not apply." It's interesting, isn't it, that they know he was not qualified, even though he never applied!?
The reality is this: back in the summer the University of Delaware and Delaware First Media sent invitations to all ballot-qualified candidates, and attached a sheet that said, basically, but being ballot qualified is not enough. It listed so-called "national" debate qualifications, from the Pew Debate Project. (As I have already shown with extensive reference to the Pew study, the University of Delaware has cherry-picked the parts of the study it likes, in particular deference in this case to the Democratic candidates who all sit on its advisory board.) The candidates were told that they could only apply for inclusion if they met these qualifications.
Here are the easiest ones:
Your party must have gotten at least 40,000 votes for a candidate for the same office in the last election.
Your candidate must have raised over $120,000 in donations of $50 or more from over 850 people.
Your candidate must produced a recognized poll that shows the candidate with at least 10% of the vote (such polls cost about $4-5,000 to commission).The paper with all these qualifications tells ballot-qualified candidates that they need not apply for inclusion in the debate unless they have proof that they meet at least one of these standards. I know that both Greens and Libertarians contacted the people running the debate to try to influence them to change the standards and allow all ballot-qualified candidates to debate. In other words, the Greens asked that Bernie August and Andrew Groff be allowed in, and the Libertarian Party of Delaware attempted to get Scott Gesty in.
Except that the UD position is now officially that Bernie August neither qualified for nor asked to be included in the debate. They were asked. And every time they were asked, UD officials like Ralph Begleiter replied blandly that they would not be allowed to debate until they met the inclusion rules.
I guess to actually condemn the UD spokespersons for lying would require that they knew this; in all honestly, Ralph probably never told them.
Here's the thing, and here's why the UD/DFM debates are completely different from debates sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Delaware, or the League of Women Voters, or the Chamber of Commerce, or WDEL (all of which invited everybody, by the way) . . .
All the aforementioned organizations are private, and while I may not like their debate policies, they are private entities and they can do what they damn well please. But. . .
Both UD and Delaware First Media only exist because public dollars, both State and Federal. The University of Delaware receives significantly more than $100 million each year from Delaware, and tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars more in Federal funding. I don't know how much tax money DFM gets, but an NPR station broadcasting from DSU campus "in conjunction with the University of Delaware" (as Begleiter put it), is certainly also heavily dependent on public funding.
So this debate was paid for with my tax dollars, Bernie's tax dollars, Scott Gesty's tax dollars, and your tax dollars.
And Ralph Begleiter and Micheline Boudreau used our tax dollars to discriminate against ballot-qualified candidates for public office. They used our tax dollars consciously and intentionally to support the prospects and exposure of some political parties over others.
That, folks, is hardly "non-partisan."
Virtually everything Mr. Begleiter said on stage about the importance of debates and inclusive political discourse was a sham, because the only inclusive political discourse he is interested in occurs between Democrats and Republicans, and he is quite comfortable not only threatening his audience with arrest, but in having police officers forcibly remove ballot-qualifed candidates of opposition parties.