Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vern Buchanan Hates His Constituents

It is fairly well established on this blog and in the Florida media generally, that Congressman Vern Buchanan hates his employees so much he bullied them into forking over campaign donations.

Now it turns out Vern Buchanan apparently hates his constituents as well.

Why else avoid debates and public events where his opponent might be?

Vern's people -- those that haven't been shaken down, we assume -- chalk this issue up to scheduling conflicts.

Sally Tibbetts, Buchanan's spokeswoman, said "we look very much forward to debating all of the candidates" but that scheduling conflicts have prevented it thus far.

Democrat Christine Jenning's crew has a different -- and imminently reasonable -- point of view:
“The voters of the 13th Congressional District deserve every possible opportunity to hear the substantial differences between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan from the candidates themselves,” said Jennings spokesperson Melissa Smith. “Candidate debates are one of the cornerstones of our democratic system, but so far during this campaign Vern Buchanan has tried to hide from any real debate on the issues and his record.”
Marj Baldwin is the founder and head honcho of the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club. She is also a powerful presence in Sarasota politics and a force to be reckoned with. She is the one who showed Katherine Harris the door because she didn't have an invite to the event.

So she's tough.

And she seems fairly perturbed by the actions of Vern on his avoiding the, you know, people he represents.

"It appears that he's made up his mind that he's not going to appear on any platform with Chris Jennings," Baldwin said. "For whatever reason, he will not get on the platform with the other candidates for the 13th District race."


Baldwin said that was because the club wanted to hear from all the candidates. Unless all can attend, the forum might not happen, she said.

"I cannot have Vern come by himself," Baldwin said. "It would imply that Tiger Bay would be endorsing him, just as I could not have Chris Jennings come by herself because that would imply Tiger Bay Club was endorsing her. That's the quandary I'm in."

A quandary indeed.

If you want someone in Congress who will be accessible to her constituents, support EMILY's List featured candidate Christine Jennings.

If you wonder why Vern Buchanan is tucked away in a hidey-hole and won't come out, email his campaign and ask when he'll debate Christine.

Better yet, go pay a visit to Vern and Empty Chair Charlie at Dolphin Aviation in Sarasota.