On Sunday morning, April 15, Twitter raconteur and political inside/outsider Michael Muller, who is running several current Republican campaigns, engaged 11th Congressional District candidate Cecil Bothwell, Democrat, in a dialogue. Here’s our best effort to organize and compile an exchange that’s fraught with the time-delay challenges inherent to the nature of Twitter conversations but flavored with Muller’s take on serious journalism (hint: not so much). We sense a little play on Mike Wallace here, in Muller’s mix of straight questions and playful entendres, but he adds his own sense of … invention (when there’s no answer, he talks to himself). Bothwell gamely plays along and says he stands by what he tweeted but that he didn’t know he was being interviewed.
Muller: We’re speaking this morning with Congressional candidate @cecilbothwell. Join us after this commercial break! http://youtu.be/gCMzjJjuxQI.
Muller: Manolo! Bring me another Bloody Mary!
Muller: Thank you for joining us in the studio, this morning @cecilbothwell. Tell us again why you decided to run for Congress, @cecilbothwell?
Bothwell: [no reply]
Muller: I think we may have lost @cecilbothwell. Can someone check the connection? This just in from @weavervilleman. The Buncombe County 911 system is apparently down. Please do not have any emergencies for the time being. Oh wait, we’re back with @cecilbothwell. Can you hear us, @cecilbothwell?
Bothwell: I can read you, over.
Muller: Apparently there is a delay in the transmission due to the 30-year time difference between Robbinsville [in the western part of District 11] and Asheville. Please bear with us as we work out the technical difficulties. Oh, wait, we’re back. How would you characterize @HR4Congress [Hayden Rogers], your opponent in this race, @cecilbothwell?
Bothwell: Yesterday in Swain, [Rogers] listed a lot of things people like, and told the crowd, “If you favor those things, I’m your pick.” HR does say he’s a Blue Dog, like Shuler. I’m an FDR Dem in many respects. Yellow Dog. But also oppose USAPATRIOT Act, NDAA, war on drugs. Ron Paul, you listening? [And] HR has, to date, not made his positions on issues other than gay marriage clear. He’s agin it.
Muller: [Amendment One proposes amending the North Carolina Constitution to declare that the only legally recognizable marriage is between a man and a woman.]. Are you thinking that all The Gays coming out to oppose Amendment One will help your chances?
Bothwell: [no reply]
Muller: [after more technical difficulties] Apparently our guest @cecilbothwell is no longer here in the studio.
Muller: As you travel the highways & biways & bicuriousways of the District, @cecilbothwell, do you find most voters support or oppose Amendment 1?
Bothwell: yes, I’m the only candidate in either party who has taken a strong public stand against [it].(both Dems favor it.) [10:20] HR has, to date, not made his positions on issues other than gay marriage clear. He’s agin it. My perspective is slant[ed], because mostly Dem audiences. But Dems are getting with the vote no in a big way. Maybe wishful.
Muller: And if you should lose the primary to @HR4Congress, @cecilbothwell, will you run in the general election as an independent?
Bothwell: Forbidden by state law. [If you] Run in a party primary, not permitted to jump in as indy. Expect we’ll get Rogers’ endorsement May9.
Muller: Thanks for that clarification, @cecilbothwell. I didn’t realize that. You could mount a write-in campaign however, no?
Bothwell: Hmm. I’m not clear on write in rules. But getting 45,000 people to write in would be a daunting task, in any event.
Muller: Current internal polling (which means that I made it up) suggests that the 11th Congressional District leans +10 Republican, @cecilbothwell.Would you say that this will make it difficult for any Democrat to win in November, @cecilbothwell?
Bothwell: My internal polling is calling for another cup of coffee.
Muller: Politics makes strange bedfellows, @cecilbothwell. How do your progressive supporters feel about you getting in bed with Tea Baggers? Tea Bagging, as you might imagine, is something us gays take very seriously, @cecilbothwell. Well not all that seriously, but still.
Bothwell: Ah, in bed. Knew you’d get around to that. Patriot Act, NDAA, drug war, all cut across left-right lines.
Muller: Ron Paul is a Constitutionalist, against the FED, against Fed welfare, against foreign military intervention – are you too, @cecilbothwell?
Bothwell: No. My platform appeals to Ron Paulists and TeaPeeps. Populism is broad and deep in the district.
Muller: In fact, you take many of the same positions as failed Republican congressional candidate Carl Mumpower, @cecilbothwell.
Bothwell: Perhaps that’s why I beat him in [the] 2009 [Asheville City Council elections].
Muller: Oh snap! Good one. So you seem most closely aligned philosophically with Ron Paul, @cecilbothwell. Would you say that’s accurate?
Bothwell: Have very different view of Constitution than Paul. It’s dynamic, not static. Can no more be “strictly” read than tea leaves. Am aligned on a few issues. But believe in counter-cyclical Fed spending, Keynesian, Humphrey-Hawkins, etc. To further answer: am in favor of earned benefit programs, and help for the impoverished, free public education for all.
Muller: So you’re not a strict constructionist, @cecilbothwell. Does this mean that you believe that the judiciary should have the final say?
Bothwell: Must balance three branches. Another dynamic, not static thing. Now, really, must go find coffee. Been good twitting. Later.
Muller: We spend more money on federal education programs than ever before, @cecilbothwell, yet the US consistently ranks low in graduation rates. Are these acheivement gaps are best addressed by increasing spending on federal education programs, @cecilbothwell. If so, which ones?
Bothwell: [no reply]
Muller: It looks like @cecilbothwell has left the studio, which is a shame because I was about to administer a Rorschach test on him.