Posts Tagged ‘Governors Debate’



October 2, 2014

The first of five debates for Governor of Minnesota was held in Rochester last night…and since it was in Presentation Hall at MCC – practically across the street-I decided since I had never experienced a live political debate, I would head over.
Will be interesting to hear the STRIB / POST BULLETIN perspectives today, but for the most part, I was underwhelmed.

First the Independent Candidate: I was very unimpressed which surprised me. Although I lean towards the Democrats, I generally find some points of agreement with the Republicans, so often I find the Independent candidate in a race to be somewhat appealing. Not in this case. It was definitely a “fingernail on chalkboard“ experience when she spoke. She was enthusiastic, young, seemed well-prepared on her OWN issues of interest….all good things…but I am not sure if she directly answered even ONE question throughout the evening. She had prepared a speech and like it or not, we were going to hear it. Once she even acknowledged that the topic of question was similar to something else and then went on to pontificate on the second topic instead of answering the question. So, if you do not listen, cannot follow directions to respond with yes or no answers as directed by the moderator, then sorry, lady, but you get eliminated. If you won’t listen to just one moderator, something tells me you most likely will not listen to the citizens of the state either.

Second the Republican candidate, Jeff Johnson: Again, he had his own agenda and thoughts and one way or another he was going to get them said. Normally, although I do not always agree, there are valid Republican perspectives that with a little massaging could be palatable-particularly if one can weave them into good points from the Democratic side and come up with something greater than the sum of the parts. Unfortunately, he shot himself in the foot. He was totally focused on how wrong Dayton was; how little he had done; what a menace he was to the State of Minnesota – pretty old-fashioned mid-twentieth century politicking which I find totally inappropriate in this century of collaboration and cooperation. And that approach is less than believable when you look at progress made in terms of debt reduction, improvement in education etc. in the State of Minnesota under the Dayton Administration. So, although I was looking forward to hearing what Johnson had to say to see how it could make our state even better, he had chosen to be the naysayer instead. Unfortunately his approach of using his time to tear down his opponent (not even doing that cleverly) rang the alarm bell in my brain. When you strip away the time he spent criticizing the opponent, you realized he robbed himself of the opportunity to make a positive impression on the audience (unless you were die-hard Repos of course). His positive attributes and ideas got lost in the impression of a pretty “empty suit” – intent on harming a fellow candidate – instead of focusing on what a better job he could do to make the state even greater.

Third, the current Governor and candidate, Mark Dayton: There is no doubt, he is hard to listen to- he is not flamboyant; nor does he have a charisma that charms you into easily following him. But with thoughtful remarks, he quietly responded with undisputable facts that made me think….why would we change direction at this juncture – so far, so good.

One of the best parts of the evening was the beginning of the “quick response” section the moderator had explained was designed for yes/no answers on a list of particular issues/questions.

Neither the Independent nor the Republican followed directions – both were intent on getting in more face time; both rambled on with their responses. Ughhh. Then it was Dayton’s turn to answer the first question. He looked at the audience and quietly and calmly said “Yes”…just like he had been asked to do. Nothing more-just yes or no as he had been instructed to do.

Not only did I agree with the yes, but with that I said to myself: These other two are irritating me; we’ve made a lot of progress under Dayton; why change until we have to; let’s give him the time to finish what he ran for office to do…then we can shop around for young charismatic candidate that understands it is a new world out there and tried and true 20th century tactics and ideas don’t work. After all, if this “question-yes/no answer” was designed as a test of how well the candidate will LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE, Dayton is the only one on the stage tonite that passed the test.

Add that to a pretty good list of accomplishments in the first term including the support for Rochester and the DMC, and I would say…even the diehard Republicans in this town should think twice before voting for one of his opponents up there on stage. They are both lightweights and I had no sense from either of a commitment to Rochester, the DMC and our future.

It was encouraging that despite the fact that Rochester is always the conservative hotbed of the state, the greatest applause went to Dayton at the end of the evening. I have no idea what that means but it made me smile….and I was glad I took the time to participate in person in this first debate of the season.