Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Changing the rules not good for democracy

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Originally published on on Tue, 01/15/2008 – 10:35pm

I never had a shot to be an NBA basketball player. But I did like playing and I tried out for 9th grade basketball. We were told at one point that everyone who had made it this far would make the team. Fair enough. If that wasn’t the case, and you got cut, it probably would be because you weren’t good enough. Also very fair.

Well, before the season started, the coach comes into the locker room and says that, oh, there will be cuts after all, and here they are.

As you have probably guessed, I was one of the cuts. Getting cut wasn’t what sucked; it’s the changing of the rules.

Well, I could relate to Dennis Kucinich last night. He was invited to the MSNBC Democratic Party debate in Las Vegas. Everyone agrees on that point. The cable channel wanted to take the top 4 and Kucinich is one of the top 4.

NBC Democratic Party debates consultant Jenny Backus wrote,

“Congratulations on another hard-fought contest. Now that New Hampshire is over, we are on to Nevada and our Presidential Debate on Tuesday, January 15. This letter serves as an official invitation for your candidate to participate in the Nevada Presidential Debate at Cashman Theatre in downtown Las Vegas. You have met the criteria set by NBC and the Debate.”

Then MSNBC changed its mind and said, no, only the top 3 would make it. And Kucinich was asked not to come.

When we got cut, parents complained to the school and we got reinstated. But the coach didn’t treat us well. After a few games, I quit. And this was in a small town where people didn’t just quit basketball. But this coach was such a jerk that several others quit, too. I think he ended up with 7 players at the end of the year, and they only stayed because they were good and needed the experience.

Kucinich sued for the right to be reinstated. He did get a lower court ruling, but unfortunately shortly before air, the Nevada Supreme Court stepped in and claimed the move violated MSNBC’s First Amendment rights. What about our rights as the voters to hear from the presidential candidates?

Turns out based on my own observations and others (including the great P.M. Carpenter), Kucinich would have been a breath of something other than bland monotoned words.

Should MSNBC have stuck with the original rules and let Kucinich back into the debate? Or do you think changing the rules served a higher purpose?


Written by democracysoup

January 15, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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