The debate continues over whether Clint Eastwood’s performance with an empty chair at the Republican National Convention was an inspired improvisation or an age-induced embarrassment. But one Republican candidate seems to find the empty chair a useful image.
Under the heading “Empty Chair Update” in an email, Elizabeth Emken, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in California, is pointing journalists toward a TV interview in which her Democratic opponent Sen. Dianne Feinstein walks away after being asked if she would debate Emken -- leaving an empty chair!
Here’s the link. It doesn’t show Feinstein to advantage.
Feinstein shouldn’t have taken umbrage at the question, which was an obvious one. It’s one The Times has put to the senator as well, as Emken points out. (However, she misquoted our editorial. We didn’t say: “Nothing says entrenched incumbent’ like a 42-year politician who won’t debate their challenger.” The “42-year politician” was Emken’s addition.)
Feinstein is a favorite in this race. But that fact should make her more, not less, willing to debate her opponent. Declining to do so slights not only Emken but the voters. Senator, this chair’s for you.