Tuesday, October 17, 2006

7th District Debate!

So, I just got back a few minutes ago from the 7th District candidate forum in Adrian. Wow!

Tomorrow, I'll have a real post, based on the notes I took, each question and each of the four candidate's answers, and a real assessment of performances. But right now, a quick response.

David Horn - US Taxpayers Party - Tonight, he was the "me too" candidate, and the audience noticed. Each time Tim Walberg answered a question before he did, his response was something to the effect of "I agree with Mr. Walberg, and might add that..." He also didn't make too many friends when he thanked Spring Arbor College for hosting the debate, when, in fact, it was Siena Heights University that hosted it.

Robert Hutchinson - Libertarian Party - The only time I agreed with him was when he argued for more accountability on Iraq, but I loved him to death. I'd never vote for him, but he was fun. At 83 years old, this is the first time he's run for office, and he's running against America's "failed foreign policy." In every answer, he was frank and honest and true to Libertarian ideals. When asked what the federal government ought to do to help Michigan's economy and job market, he replied, "The Federal government? Sounds to me like it's Michigan's problem!"

Tim Walberg - Republican Party - Make no mistake, Tim Walberg is an experienced, polished politician and very skilled in debating. He spoke with that sense of sincerity that's practiced so hard that you can tell it's fake. I'll get into the issues tomorrow-- like, apparently, that we ought to get rid of health insurance and have people pay on their own. The man is a natural, career politician (it's worth noting, out of the 30 years he's spent in Michigan, 16 were spent in the state legislature, and even more has been spent running for office. Hmm...). Oddly enough, Jack Lessenberry's commentary today touches on the kind of politician Walberg is. Go check it out.

Sharon Renier - Democratic Party - Even though the debate rules specified that there would be no attacks on the other candidates, Sharon Renier did hit hard on Walberg on a number of issues. As she told me afterwards, "Someone had to!" She got a great deal of applause and support from the audience, and managed to give plenty of new and old supporters bumper stickers (including me). She isn't a polished performer like Tim Walberg, but she was prepared, she was real, and she connected with the audience in a way no other candidate did. Although I'm a bit biased, I do think she was the winner of the debate. (By the way- she's also got the endorsement of Esquire magazine! Thanks, Matt at Michigan Liberal.)

Best Moment of the Debate - When Iraq came up, Tim Walberg's response began with "Too easily, we forget 9/11..." First, someone in the audience said, "Oh, man," and then a series of boos were heard. Then, lots of booing, to the point that we couldn't hear his answer for a few moments. This is "conservative" Lenawee County rejecting the 9/11-Iraq link, just like the rest of the country.

I live here in Lenawee County. On the south side of my town, there's this odd intersection. Travelling south into it, there are three ways you can go. One way, you turn left. Another, you turn right, only to curve straight onto the next part of the road. Finally, you can turn all the way to the right, and travel east.

The result of this is that there are three traffic lights, labeled "Left", "Right", and "Right". I've always joked that the intersection represented the political biases of the county and the area. But here I was tonight, at a debate full of plenty of Republicans (who cheered Jim Koehn (R) in the debate for HD057 immediately before the Congressional debate). And they booed Tim Walberg. They responded when he was hypocritical, and they cheered Sharon Renier when she offered genuine, Democratic solutions to problems. They applauded when she exposed Tim Walberg's real record. Right here, in Lenawee County.

I think, perhaps, we need a new set of traffic lights, 'cause those ones don't work anymore.


Glad you made it out. Yes it was a great lake debate. Sharon won hands down. I left very impressed!
Jim Koehn, he is the Republican who is trying to wrestle the Lenawee house seat back from Walberg's legacy, right? What was is that Walberg won Lenawee county in his last November election, 250 votes? His claim that he more truly represents the people of his district rings hollow when you look at that stat. What kind of margins do the Spade brothers win by? In my estimation, Lenawee is a tossup in this race with a nut like Walberg running.

I am very interested to hear more debate recap.
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