Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pat Faces Peg on April 20th

After hesitating to even acknowledge Peg's candidacy, Pat Toomey finally agreed to appear in a candidates forum with her on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, PCN. Click here for a video of the debate.

As to whether Toomey decided to appear with Peg out of necessity or out of his own good will, I do not know. He may have been forced to show up by the PCN people if they told him that they'd give the entire forum to Peg if he didn't show up. Maybe showing up was a strategic decision for Toomey, given that he may need the votes of many of Peg's supporters in the general election should he win the primary. To give him the generous benefit of the doubt, maybe he decided that he would participate in the forum out of a desire to participate in the democratic process. Who knows...

For most of the forum, Peg and Toomey didn't argue but merely responded to basic Q&A from the moderator. Hopefully there will be a future forum in which Toomey and Luksik go head to head for most of the duration. (I think Peg would benefit more from such a format.)

That aside, during this debate, Peg used far less of the common platitudes than Toomey*. In other words, she didn't treat the voter as if he were an imbecile. Too bad, since she thereby lost the imbecilic vote--but for all intents and purposes, she had already lost it for not acquiescing to the 'social justice' crowd--some of whose members Toomey apparently thinks he can win over.

For most of the debate, Toomey and Peg seemed like fellow travelers--and in many ways they are, but Peg seemed more sincere and thorough, and she was willing to do things like criticize the big banker/politician oligarchy.

When it came time for the candidates to ask each other questions (and hence to criticize each other), Peg really grilled Mr. Toomey about his vote for making background checks necessary at gun shows--a vote which he denied. (I cannot verify either of their allegations, my schedule prevents me from doing so.)

Next, he asked her whether she would vote against earmarks like he claimed he would. In her response she accused him of publicizing certain earmarks that he brought into his congressional district while he was running for congress. Toomey seemed very timid when questioning Peg--which is understandable since he does not want to alienate her supporters. But Peg had everything to gain and nothing to lose. Plus, well, she has no voting record for Toomey to criticize, nor a non-conservative/non-liberty oriented stance. And if Toomey criticized her for a being too conservative, it could bode badly for him.

So, what can one conclude from the forum? Perhaps that Peg will keep Toomey honest.

*For instance, Toomey mentioned how he is descended from immigrants--as if Peg weren't also.

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