Alexi Giannoulias does not like to be seen among people of certain colors. Green people.
Giannoulias is so prejudiced against greens that he torpedoed a debate in Carbondale because it would have included Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones. Never mind that the debate would only have aired on a public TV station in Southern Illinois. Giannoulias wouldn’t even stand next to a green at a public library on Kaskaskia Island.
Officially, Giannoulias backed out of the Oct. 21 debate because organizers planned to include candidates from Illinois’ three legally established parties -- the Democrats, the Republicans and the Greens. Independent candidates had to poll at 5 percent to receive an invitation. That eliminated Libertarian Mike Labno. Giannoulias found that unacceptable.
“We believe Libertarian Mike Labno should have an opportunity to attend and participate as well,” said spokesman Scott Burnham. “But whether it is all four candidates or just the two major-party candidates, we want the debate to be held.”
In other words, if you invite the guy who’s going to take votes from me, but snub the guy who’s going to take votes from Mark Kirk, I’m not coming. So the debate was cancelled.
“The Giannoulias campaign attempted to change the rules of our debate,” said Gary Metro, editor of the Southern Illinoisan, a debate co-sponsor. “We couldn’t allow a candidate that kind of authority, just as we wouldn't allow candidates to write their own news stories. The integrity and credibility of the debate would have been irreparably damaged.”
Giannoulias has no case here, especially since the Greens are a monster of the Democratic Party’s creation. If Rod Blagojevich had been a competent governor, Rich Whitney would never have received 10 percent of the vote in 2006. In that election, the Greens ran poorly among minority voters, so they recruited Jones to build the party’s base. But of course, every minority who votes Green is a minority who won’t be voting Democratic. Which is why Giannoulias is so terrified of giving Jones publicity.
A Carbondale debate also would have brought Jones to the Green Party heartland of Southern Illinois -- another traditionally Democratic area. We’ll just have to settle for this Sunday’s Meet the Press debate, which will be limited to the colors Giannoulias likes -- Red and Blue, but no Green.