Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fredo's review of the GOP debate

I've listened to most of this debate at this point. I don't disagree with anything DioGuardi has to say, but I can't seem to warm up to him. He's obviously the most practiced and doesn't get himself too far out on a limb (see: Blakeman) with rhetorical flourishes. His low ACU ranking is an issue, but he's bound to be an improvement on Gillibrand. He just seems a little long in the tooth and, as a former long-time Congressman, unlikely to cash in on the "outsider" sentiment that seems so popular this year.

Blakeman seems to have the most passion, and the most willingness to go out there and battle. He was clearly drawing distinctions between himself and his opponents, and challenging Malpass and Dioguardi on different points througout the debate. It would help if he did a better job getting his facts right (he called Dioguardi a paid lobbiest and really pressed the point, but it would appear he was factually wrong). It would also help if he didn't step on giant landmines, like when they asked each candidate to say one thing they admired about Gillibrand, he led off with "she's an attractive woman." I guess we can see why he's divorced.

Blakeman also seems to be frequently loose with facts and truth. He "can't remember" if he's been sued (wouldn't most people remember that)?

As for Malpass, he's the intellectual elite of the group, long time Bear Stearns chief economists, speaks three languages, etc. etc. He's got tons of published paper trail, and gets the economy better than 99% of the folks in Washington. He also seemed incredibly genuine and likeable. The downside to that is that he's not the practiced with political rhetoric and parry. He seemed unable to defend himself against Blakeman's attacks and unsure how to attack his opponent. He spent plenty of time bumbling and stumbling around. They asked him in the lightning round (yes or no answers only), "should creationism be taught in public schools?" His answer, "um......[6 seconds]...no." He's just not a politican, and he's going to be running into a buzzsaw of attack ads, and he's got a long paper trail for the Dems to distort.

If I were to use a boxing analogy to describe the political approaches taken by the candidates in this debate, DioGuardi was the boxer, Blakeman the slugger flailing away hoping to catch one good uppercut. Malpass? I don't know, maybe a front-row armchair philosopher considering how best to improve the sport.

In terms of policy, there are some differences between the candidates. DioGuardi is clearly most pro-life of the group, and Malpass takes a pro-choice-with-"reasonable"-restrictions approach. Blakeman and Malpass expressed more unabashedly hawkish foreign policy positions, while DioGuardi went as far as saying that, with what we know now, invading Iraq was a mistake (the other two said it was the right position).

The most lacking element of the debate? Discussing the structural problems in our budget that need reform to reduce the deficit, in a real way, over the long term. Malpass spent the most time talking about deficit, followed by DioGuardi, but no one talked about how the Dems were kicking the can down the road, and how the tea party uprising is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix the long term problems embedded in our entitlement system.

Think I'm leaning to DioGuardi as the most viable, but I think, unfortunately, we don't have a great candidate available in the group. I'd definitely like to support Malpass if he showed the ability to articulate his agenda more clearly and deal with his opponents.

3 comments:

SheaHeyKid said...

Haven't seen any of these candidates, but for what it's worth Malpass writes a great column in Forbes. The entire country - and NY in particular - could use some economic brains and reality at this time, so all other things being equal he'd get my support. That said, I can appreciate that unfortunately to get elected today you also have to have some political savvy, which if he's lacking could certainly lead to Malpass' defeat.

Fredo said...

Political savvy may or may not be the right phrase. He's just sort of bumbling around up on stage. Doesn't present his thoughts cogently or effectively.

I've been watching some of Malpass' other performances in TV interviews, and he seems a lot more solid than he did in the debate setting. Like I said, I'd like to support him. He's the candidate I'd most like to see win.

With only two months until the general election, however, there's not a lot of time for a candidate to "grow into the job". He's got to be campaign-ready.

dark commenteer said...

My favorite part of the summary is the way Malpass went from an announcer in Fredo's initial comment to "a front-row armchair philosopher considering how best to improve the sport" in his follow-up post.

I wanted to directly quote the difference but apparently waited too long and Fredo had a chance to remove his comment for the other post...oh, well.

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