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Why Won't Lana Pollack Debate Dean Baker?

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"Yeah, he could win," Lana Pollack said of Dean Baker. "Lightning might strike me UG3Q. - The AnnArbor News, 51588 On May 23, we leamed Erom a Dean Baker for Congress campaign press release that Lana Pollack was withdrawing from a proposed series of five debates with opponent Baker tentatively scheduled for June and July. The debates were to take place between the two contenders for the Democratie nomination in each of the five counties included in the 2nd Congressional District. The winner of the Democratie nomination will square off against Republican Congressperson Cari Pursell in the November election. We were not surprised. On May 20, we had received a telephone cali from Dale Evans, Lana Pollack's press secretary. On behalf of Pollack, Evans declined AGENDA's invitation to particípate in a Candidates Forum proposed for the July issue of AGENDA. The forum was to feature Pollack and Baker and called for each candidate to ask three questions and then to answer all six in writing. For the record, AGENDA has published numerous Candidate Forums and very few (mostly Republican) candidates have refused to express their views in print Pollack declined the invitation to debate Baker in AGENDA, according to Evans, because "Baker has already conceded the November election to Pursell" and "there's no sense in debating someone who's not a serious candidate." Granted, Evans called back later in the day to make what he termed a "correction" to this statement. Quoting The Arm Arbor News (41188), Evans admitted that Baker had not in fact "conceded", the race but that Baker said that beating Pinsell woukl be a "long shot" Nevertheless, Evans still declined the offer to participate in the forum. Pollack has several times touted her campaign bankroll of $142,000 as a reason why the Democratie party nomination is sure to beiong to her. However, it has been shown before that money doesn't always buy elections. Bakers campaign, much me same as Jesse Jackson's, opérales on a "message rich, dollar poot" philosophy. It was Baker's hundreds of voluntcers and grassroots campaigning - not a huge campaign war chest - which won him 41% of the votes against Pursell in 1986. By operating on the premise that the wealthiest candidato wins, Pollack is disregarding the intent of elections in a democracy. Indeed, if money decides all, why bother with elections? In the Democratie primary election of 1986, there was more than something in the air to suggest that Don Grimes was "entitled" to the Democratie nomination because of nis 1984 Congressional bid. However the candidatos campaigned and debated and Baker won the primary election fair and square. In the 1988 election. nobody would be foolish enough to think that Dean Baker deserves to run unchallenged because of his strong 1986 showing. But who would think that the challenger. State Senator Lana Pollack in this case, not having run for national office before, would be arrogant enough to deny the legitimacy of the Baker campaign?