It's pretty clear neither Rich Snyder nor "Silent Terri" Lynn Land want to debate their opponents. The latest turndowns are from offers made months ago by WOTV (NBC) in Grand Rapids.
Snyder and Land prefer to tell their stories via tens-of-millions of dollars on paid ads that may or may not be factual, ads where they can avoid defending their actual positions on real issues.
In the case of Snyder, it makes some sense politically since the conventional wisdom for incumbents is to deny your opponent a shared platform. But you'd think he'd be eager to talk about his "Michigan Comeback" record, especially against an opponent who in the past has not shown himself to be a strong debater.
Snyder's problem: the facts don't support his rhetoric, and he knows it. He doesn't want to defend Michigan's recovery lagging behind that of the nation, or explain how he can take credit for all the jobs created by the resurgence of GM and Chrysler, or show even one job that has been created by his "Right to Work for Less" law or massive tax cuts for his business friends, or defend the litany of scandals in his administration.
For Land avoiding debates defies conventional wisdom: she is trailing in all the polls and sinking. She has the multi-million-dollar backing of the Koch brothers to slam her opponent, but to date those ads don't appear to be effective.
But she cannot debate because she suffers from Palin Syndrome: total unfamiliarity with the policy issues she would have to face in the U.S. Senate ("I can see Amway from my front porch...").
Are Michigan voters willing to elect people who cannot or will not talk about the issues facing the state and the decisions they will make on our behalf?
Snyder got away with that four years ago. He never told us he'd slash education funding, or impose dictators on a dozen cities and school districts, or raise taxes on middle class families and retirees. He was all smiles, bumper sticker slogans and dashboards. He waited until he was in office to reveal the real Rick Snyder.
Apparently he thinks he can get away with it again. And Terri Lynn Land, given her total unsuitability for the job, really has no choice.