Republican congressional candidates Brad Jones and Ray Meier both have their campaign web sites up now, so we can get a good look at what kinds of candidates they really are. The two Republicans seem to differ somewhat, but I can see one clear similarity:
Ray Meier and Brad Meier are both afraid of the voters.
Go on and take a look at the Brad Jones for Congress web site and the Ray Meier for Congress web site, and one of the first things you'll notice is what is not there. Both Brad Jones and Ray Meier refuse to provide any way for voters to openly discuss the issues on their web sites.
Regular readers here know that I have had some strong words for one of our Democratic candidates when he shut down the discussion forum on his campaign web site. Well, now my criticism on this issue is bipartisan.
I don't care if a candidate is a Republican or a Democrat. No politician should be suffered to run for Congress without making himself or herself fully available to voter questions and comments in every medium possible. If a congressional candidate wants to put up a campaign web site, that candidate ought to have the courage to put a means for interactive and open-to-the-public communications from voters.
It doesn't have to be a discussion forum. Les Roberts has a blog on his campaign web site that allows readers to leave comments. Bruce Tytler had started a similar blog on his campaign too, before he cut his campaign short.
Candidates are perfectly able to moderate blogs and discussion boards. It's easy to configure them for quick moderation, and even to block access to cyberstalkers or spammers who want to cause problems instead of adding to a substantive debate.
I have no problem with moderating online discussions - it's the smart thing to do. I do have a big problem with candidates who won't even give their supporters the chance to speak.
Putting up a campaign web site without any place for voter discussion is an arrogant thing to do. Ray Meier and Brad Jones both ought to be ashamed of themselves for being so afraid and disdainful of the voters of New York's 24th district that they won't allow the voters to speak.
Why, it almost appears as if Meier and Jones know that the voters won't support their campaigns... Hm. Uncanny, that.