Why Dianne Feinstein Owes the Voters an Honest Debate

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For political junkies like me, October in an election year is the equivalent of several Super Bowl Sundays-full of not only presidential and vice presidential debates, but debates from various races across the country thanks to C-SPAN. Debates are not only entertaining and informative, they're a powerful reminder to politicians that they serve at the pleasure of we the people and an important part of keeping their egos in check. There's something about the sight of an incumbent politician having to stand next to their challenger and field questions either from citizens or journalists that serves American democracy well.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that not only is my senator, Dianne Feinstein, refusing to debate her opponent, a political novice named Elizabeth Emken, but she did the same thing to a previous opponent six years ago. But this time, there is a chorus of opposition to Feinstein's attempted coronation from across the political spectrum including, most notably, the Los Angeles Times which urged the senator to debate her opponent.

To make matters worse, Feinstein has now given two interviews, one to the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board in which she appears to barely conceal her anger at being asked the question and the second in which she literally walks out of the interview.

Certainly political junkies like me have no right to have my love of debates satiated every two years, but voters do have a right to see those who would seek to represent them in Washington have a clean and honest debate about the issues with one another. Coronations are for tinhorn dictatorships. The American way since the founding of our Republic has been to err on the side of more debate not less. Debate or no debate, Mrs. Feinstein will likely win her race, but she owes her opponent and more importantly we the voters, an honest debate.

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