I watched and live-tweeted yesterday’s gubernatorial debate from Hamline University, which was telecast on Fox9.
For starters, it wasn’t the worst debate format I’ve ever seen. Fox 9’s crew of hairdos (I have long since stopped paying attention to Twin Cities anchor teams) largely stayed out of the way of the three reporters – Rachel Stassen-Berger, Tom Scheck and Bill Salisbury – who did most of the questioning. And most of the questions – the ones that didn’t get into personal lifestyle issues (do we really care if either candidate ever smoked pot?), anyway – were pretty good.
Oh, yeah – Johnson shredded Dayton. I know, I’m partisan – but I’m pretty clinical about public speaking. Johnson is cool, calm, collected, an on top of his facts. Dayton – as Johnson quipped, at one point – pretty much ran through his ex-wife’s chanting points.
The three highlights, in my book?
Number 3: The Aisle: When asked if they were capable of working across the aisle, Dayton’s response amounted to “I could – if it weren’t for that stupid opposition!”. It’s the GOP’s fault he can’t work across party lines!
Number 2: Pot Calling The Kettle A Pot: At one point, in one of his few spontaneous moments of the debate, Dayton scolded Johnson about a perceived (and false) inconsistency in his record, ending it by telling Johnson to “pick a side and stick with it”. I laughed so hard, I nearly soiled myself.
That’s Governor Dayton; the guy who’se argued both sides of medical marijuana, the minimum wage hike and tip credits, the Vikings stadium subdidy, Gift, B2B, gas and Warehouse taxes, cigarette taxes, fixing MNSure, sex-offender releases, expanded notification of mental health issues to the NICS database (the list of people who can’t legally buy guns), and even on the availability of his daily calendar.
Number 1: That Definition Of Insanity: Questioned by the panel and Johnson about the MNSure debacle, Dayton let slip that he thought the real solution was single-payer healthcare.
That’s right – when the government makes a collossal botch of centralizing most of healthcare, let’s let them centralize it all!
The one thing the DFL was able to salvage from the debate was an “oops” from Johnson; asked to define “middle class” in terms of a dollar threshold, after Dayton waffled and proved he didn’t have a clue, Johnson said “I haven’t a clue”.
Of course, there is no hard-and-fast dollar figure as to where the “middle class” begins and ends; it’s more a matter of circumstances; the middle class are those who don’t live off of investments and spare Renoirs,oroff of charity and subsidies.