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Clark: What’s there to debate about having a debate?

First she won’t. Then she will.

And now he won’t?

They must be gobbling some crazy Technicolor mushrooms over in the 5th District congressional race.

To recap this dope opera …

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers announces that she will not debate her Democratic opponent, Daryl Romeyn, on TV due to scheduling constraints.

As the heartburn over this snubbing rises, McMorris Rodgers rechecks her busy-bee schedule and – “Oh, my gosh!” – finds an opening where she can debate Romeyn after all.

Except now a wilted Romeyn is much too – “sniff” – occupied to – “sniff” – debate McMorris Rodgers because of all the commitments he – “sniff” – made after getting the MoRo brushoff.

I haven’t seen a couple this dysfunctional since Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin.

These candidates have forgotten how vital debates are to the democratic process.

The debate format gives voters an opportunity to carefully evaluate candidates as they face each other and retell the same scandalous lies that have been airing nonstop via sleazoid radio and TV attack ads.

Paraphrased example:

PATTY MURRAY – My worthy opponent says he wants to work for America. But will he really work for America? Or will he creep into the homes of our slumbering elderly at night and dig the gold fillings out of their teeth?

DINO ROSSI – Is Patty Murray a vampire? Has anyone ever seen Patty Murray in daylight? Can Patty Murray see her reflection in a mirror? Don’t let Patty Murray suck the blood out of America! I’m Dino Rossi. And I’m not one of the Undead.

Now let’s not be naïve. We all know why Republican incumbent McMorris Rodgers doesn’t really want to debate Romeyn.

Heck. If I were a politically powerful pregnant woman with a fertile lead in the polls and bulging with campaign dollars, I wouldn’t want to waste 10 nanoseconds on Daryl Romeyn, either.

To put it in Three Stooges terms, McMorris Rodgers is the beloved, extremely popular Curly.

Romeyn is Shemp.

Plus Romeyn is a former television weatherman. And we all know what an inaccurate and unreliable profession that is.

Romeyn’s political pedigree is thinner than Justin Bieber’s memoirs. It begins and ends with the primary in August where he managed to limp into second place by barely beating serial nuisance candidate Barbara Lampert, 16,506 to 12,482.

Meanwhile, McMorris Rodgers took first place with almost 81,000 votes.

So let’s get real. Party affiliation aside, we all should be able to agree on the following simple rule:

To be taken seriously, a candidate must beat Lampert by at least 6,000 votes.

Now I pretty much know how jilted Romeyn felt when McMorris Rodgers declined to square off with him.

My editor uses the same ol’ “Sorry, but I have scheduling constraints” stunt whenever I try to debate him on the subject of a raise.

Tossing poor Romeyn a mercy debate bone will cost McMorris Rodgers some votes because it makes her look small.

It’s like when I was a dorky high school kid. I pestered this extremely cute and popular girl until she finally relented and gave me a mercy movie date.

I knew I was out of my league. And since I didn’t have my driver’s license my older brother had to drive us.

There’s a romance killer.

But that said, Romeyn is a numskull for playing hard to get and turning down this secondhand debate offer.

Commitments? What a doofus.

Dude, have you forgotten? You’re Daryl Romeyn.

You’re the ant trying to move that rubber tree plant.

You need a debate to at least have a palooka’s chance to swing for a knockout.

To do that you’d have to get McMorris Rodgers off topics like the economy and foreign affairs and onto subjects that play more to your expertise.

Hailstone size, say. Or storm fronts.

I know. It’s a long shot.

But this is the 5th District, after all. This is the place where one of the looniest political upset shockers took place.

Two words, Daryl:

Tom Foley.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at