I’ve been thinking about gubernatorial candidates James Gierach [February 18] and Sheila Jones, who are being denied the opportunity to flex their political muscles in the televised debates. The two were described in a recent Chicago Tribune article as “minor” candidates. It sounds like they ought to have a curfew. “Now I want you to be in bed by the time the debates begin.” There is no such thing as a minor candidate. It’s like referring to a woman as sort of pregnant; you are or you ain’t. They’ve met the specs for a place on the ballot and consequently owe the voters proposed solutions to the problems facing our state.

How does one traditionally peddle their political wonder drugs? Television and radio commercials, mass mailings and other showcases for members of the club that grants them fund-raising opportunities beyond the reach of “ordinary” citizens. This ideally contributes to a snowball effect allowing “major” candidates to parlay their ante into bigger wads, more and better produced commercials, strengthened political connections and so on.

Outsiders generally don’t inspire organizations with special interests (all organizations) to cough up any significant amount of dough to promote their campaigns. Sorry Ms. Pappas, Ms. Netsch, Mr. Quinn. You are not outsiders. I’m an outsider, I work with outsiders and you . . .

Ms. Netsch really hit a hot button with her pool shooting prowess and corresponding high-priced copy writing. That kind of talent and production would have sold a hell of a lot of Ford Escorts or Pampers as well. Approval ratings soared and the marketing department at Netsch, Inc., projected fat contributory payoffs.

If the sponsors of the show are worried that these “minors” will debase the debate, they should consider Mr. Phelan’s campaign citing statistics about taxation that, when challenged, he could not explain. Peek in on Ms. Netsch’s call for caps on administrative expenses for schools, without explaining what they are and why they are expensive. Listen to Mr. Burris babble about funding education by cutting waste and letting the budget grow with the economy; buzzwords that bored us 30 years ago, but somehow can’t be exorcised from political language, much less explained in a 30-second spot or a whistlestop.

If these minors are irrelevant we’ll know it. If Mr. Gierach is a one-issue candidate and doesn’t have the comprehensive platform of a sophisticated public servant we’ll figure it out. If Ms. Jones really wants to align herself with a paranoid, megalomaniacal convicted felon then she can talk about conspiracies until the Queen of England is arrested for drug smuggling or God makes a personal appearance to endorse her. We Americans tend to swallow pills without checking the PDR, but we’re not that gullible.

We were confronted with an outsider in the last presidential election. There were only a couple billion differences between that outsider and our minors. Then again, while he didn’t win, he somehow managed to elevate a debate destined to sink into the usual boring and meaningless rhetorical crap. He struck nerves in the populace and in his honor the other candidates were more than willing to pilfer his sting.

More input cannot pollute the political landscape beyond its present, barely inhabitable condition.

Randy Lee

N. Ridge