Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Knollenberg/Peters Interview with Frank Beckmann

Gary Peters and Joe Knollenberg discuss civility in politics on WJR.

CLICK HERE to listen.


MIKE said...

Knollenberg's cliche, "good for the goose/gander" is disengeneous. Joe is a Congressman/campaigner at the same time. Peter's has a job and is a candidate. No problem if someone wants to tape him campaigning. What Knollenberg doesn't like is being constantly reminded how wrong his votes are - that is the real issue.

Chet said...

Well, Gary Peters is just as much of a public figure -- and a public employee -- as Joe Knollenberg.

In this case, Knollenberg's right. The difference is Trent Wisecup hit no one. Gary Peters boss, Dean Pamela Gates, physically hit the cameraman that was filing a FOIA about Gary Peters.

The other difference. Gary Peters' public official bosses are protecting him with an unconstitutional prohibition of videotaping on CMU's campus that covers all students in a non-narrowly-tailored blanket policy. Presumably to protect "student privacy", it also forbids videotaping public officials without their "permission". If it simply forbade videotaping students without their permission, it would be narrowly tailored. But clearly that's a fig leaf to cover the real purpose of the policy - protecting Gary Peters through the use of government power.

So there are problems if someone wants to tape Gary Peters. His bosses have banned it.

And this "Peters has a job and is a candidate and that's different than Knollenberg being Congressman and campaigner simultaneously" is also disingenuous. No one is complaining about Peters holding a job and running - but if that's the case, why didn't he remain Lottery Commissioner? The problem is CMU knowingly hiring a guy while he's running for office and while he's a Lottery Commissioner. Why leave the Lottery Commissioner role in the first place - because that job does require constant attention. So he takes a job with CMU that's "full-time" but where he knows he can get away with less than full-time effort and still collect a check. The issue is about use of public employment and public money, and you know it. If a private entity hired him, it'd be quite different (don't fret though, the left would be up in arms if a Republican was suddenly hired by a private firm that gave him money in excess of the contribution limits and the job didn't require much effort, and they might have a legitimate point if the facts bore out the purpose as to evade contribution limits).

It's an issue - a fact specific one - and asking questions about it quite reasonable.

I think Fealk clearly has a right to tape Knollenberg - generally (not necessarily on private property, and subject to certain contextual conditions). The same is true on the other foot then, as Joe rightly points out.

MIKE said...

Nuance Chet, nuance. For one thing, many jobs lend themselves the opportunity for a person to run for public office. I don't fault Peters or Knollenberg for taking advantage of that. Is video taping Peters 'on campus' disruptive - perhaps. Is video taping Knollenberg out and about disruptive - perhaps. The big differance Knollenberg IS a Congressman and therefor his views and votes are the subject of public scrutiny and sometimes discord. Knollenberg compounds the problem by isolating himself from the voters who may disagree with him. He resorts to op-ed pieces in the newspapers, press releases by his staff and attending $1000 a plate campaign dinners. He won't debate his challengers in open forums, nor allow a press conferance where his views and votes can be challenged. So to some extent, he has brought this scrutiny upon himself. Life if not black & white Chet, it is many shades of grey. Conservatives like Knollenberg have a tough time dealing with that.

Chet said...

Wow, some agreement.

I agree life is many shades of gray. I don't agree with any candidate 100%, nor is any issue 100% clear. But that's axiomatic. Some are pretty clear. Knollenberg is a public official and subject to scrutiny. Peters is a public official and subject to scrutiny (obviously for different activities). Both are running for the same Congressional seat, and subject to scrutiny. That may indeed create discord. Discord in itself isn't problematic.

Peters has $1000 a plate dinners. He's bought $1000 plates. He issues press releases and "resorts" to op-eds in newspapers. What's the difference? None of those things are necessarily wrong without context.

However, I disagree with you on this factual assertion:

He won't debate his challengers in open forums, nor allow a press conferance [sic] where his views and votes can be challenged.

Where has Knollenberg refused to debate Gary Peters? It's way too early for that anyway. And if you're talking about flippant stuff like Fealk's hosting of events where he invites Knollenberg, do you seriously expect him to go to an event hosted by a non-neutral party that has stalked him for years?

Chet said...

PS - I use the term "stalked" in the common usage (that of a repetitive pattern of contact and tracking), not necessarily its legal definition. I doubt that his actions thus far have constituted the legal crime of stalking, although if he went back to Knollenberg's private home it might and certainly would involve "trespass" since he's received warning on that, and if he actually follows someone in a motor vehicle it probably would too. I base this on my understanding of the issue developed in the petition-gathering area.

MIKE said...

For sure it is too early for debates since Joe doesn't know who his challenger will be from the Democratic side, but he refused to debate Nancy Skinner in the last election.
You see a level "playing field" - I see an incumbent on the wrong side of most issues. In an effort to bring to public attention this disparity, I have condoned the zealous efforts by Bruce and Are we a pain in the butt for Knollenberg - no doubt. But it is the nature of politics to perswade the public to your point of view and to point out "how wrong" the other guy is. But what I see by the Republicans over the past several years has not been an effort to "win the hearts and minds" by value of their positions, but a conserted effort to "swift boat" the messenger, offiscate their stand on the issues and rig elections.
I submit to you Chet, that our democracy is better served by protest then by complacency. And only an informed electoriate can make it happen.