Thursday, June 07, 2007

On the debate

Some thoughts from last night's debate, of which Blake has a nice write-up ...

- On the Democratic side, James Marlow was mighty, mighty strong. His answers were thorough, unique, concise and fresh. He definitely was heads-and-shoulders above the other two Democratic candidates and, in my opinion, the entire field.

- For the Republicans, Lt. Col. Nate Pulliam was the strongest. He spoke with credibility on Iraq, even I differed with him on some aspects, and clearly articulated a strong conservative message. I came away stunned that Republicans would consider one of their 'Big Three' over him.

- Paul Broun and Mark Myers were pretty weak, particularly the latter. You could hear the laughs in the audience when he trumped the 'I was endorsed by Ronald Reagan in 1988 line' and he kept rambling on his new 'Contract for America' ... which pretty much amounted to some law about posting bills on the internet and weeding out wasteful spending. Not so much the bold vision he kept saying it was.

- High comedy when Erik Underwood said he wanted to move past 15-second sound bites and give concrete answers ... and then concluded this message with 'Let's go from Norwood to Underwood.' Apparently four-second sound bites are OK.

- Both Evita Paschall and Denise Freeman seemed to be well-meaning people who offered little in terms of how they'd govern aside from being 'representatives for the people.' Freeman, in particular, struggled I thought.

- The audience easily had the most contempt for Bill Greene who called global warming a liberal conspiracy to socialize the U.S. economy (I'm still fuzzy on that one), wanted students to be able to carry concealed weapons on college campuses and was the only candidate on the stage to completely endorse the Bush Administration's surge policy.

- On Broun ... if this guy's been waiting five years or so to run for Charlie Norwood's seat and this is the best he's got, then he's fallen from the top tier of candidates rapidly. Coming on the heels of the fact that he was raising money prior to Norwood's death, many Republicans outside of the immediate area have written him off. Arguably, it's got to be the ever-absent-from-Athens-Clarke-County Jim Whitehead as the frontrunner with Marlow trailing behind him.

- And one final thing ... can we drop this whole 'socialized medicine' argument that both Greene and Broun parroted last night? It's absurd. Not only are no major candidates arguing for a single-payer system, but the truth of the matter is that the rest of the major industrialized nations of the world have some form of public-funded, subsidized or public-supported health care system and those systems, by the most recent studies, are more efficient, offer equal or better quality care and still feature elements of competition because they effectively combine both the private sector and the public sector. Kudos to Marlow for talking about it and kudos to Pulliam, the only Republican on the stage who was bold offer to offer his own version of expanded health care coverage, even if it was something that I differed with.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jim Whitehead bobblehead doll was a nice touch.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well written summary, J. I learned the most listening to Doc hold court about the perception of hand grendade waiting to implode/happen in Whitehead and the early days of his running/non-running. I agree with your assesment of the entire slate.

Marlow gets my vote; and he has run a far from perfect campaign. He needs to be more visible and engaging in the last fortnight. I actually have my absentee ballot in the truck.

Whitehead folks sent out fancy pre-printed postcards to ask people if they wanted advance absentee ballots, and I took them up on their gracious offer.

No one knows numbers of any real polling but there was lots of speculation about Columbia County's clout and the effect of the race to replace Whitehead.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

My take on this crop of candidates: good thing only one of them can win... on average, ACC has seen candidates for COUNTY COMMISSION than ANY of this bunch running for Congress. But then, Georgia politics has been in reverse ever since Gov. Barnes lost the election...

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, wonder what THIS will produce...?

New Blog will "accept posts from Athens-area journalists, government, school employees and other TATTLE tellers..."

3:47 PM  

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