For a moment it looked like we were about to reach peak debate weirdness. True, there has been stiff competition this year for the honor of oddest political debate. Florida Governor Rick Scott's delayed stage entrance on Wednesday over the issue of a small fan placed at rival Charlie Crist's feet was strange. And, yes, the colorful cast of characters that populated Vermont's gubernatorial debate—during which one of the seven candidates described himself as a revolutionary socialist and secessionist, and the topic of aluminum nanoparticles was given airtime—received its share of chuckles. But on Thursday, those moments seemed like they were destined to become mere also-rans in comparison to what was about to go down in Colorado, where a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives promised to debate a chicken.
Aside for the obvious questions about the man vs. chicken debate—would electric fans be allowed on stage at Colorado Springs Penrose Library, and where did each candidate stand on the question of federal aluminum nanoparticle protections for chicken feed?—the most pressing one seemed to be whether the chicken might actually hold its own against Halter.
Alas, we shall never know. In place of an actual chicken, three operatives in chicken suits from the bi-partisan PAC No Chickens in Congress appeared instead. The point of this rather disappointing spectacle was to call out Halter's opponent in the race, incumbent GOP Representative Doug Lamborn, who has steadfastly refused to debate the Democrat.
"The congressman will not be providing Mr. Halter with a platform to spread his deceptive rhetoric and uncivil tone,” Jared Rego, Lamborn's campaign manager, told The Gazette last month. “People know where Congressman Lamborn stands on the issues. The only person in this race whose positions are unknown is Mr. Halter, who keeps masquerading as a moderate, all while disguising his liberal views.”
So was the chicken debate a stunt? Sure. But one that was no more disagreeable than refusing to debate an opponent on the issues facing voters. Still, seeing a real, honest-to-God chicken on stage with Halter would have been beautiful.