Sunday, October 17, 2010

More than Meets the Eye in Debate Setting

One thing involvement in politics teaches you is that there is always more than what meets the eye (and than what makes the papers). This couldn't be more true with respect the debate October 13th between 120th district candidates Phyllis Mundy (D), Tim Mullen (Libertarian), and Bill Goldsworthy (R).

The casual newspaper reader who did not attend the debate might remark: "How nice and democratic it was of Phyllis to agree to a debate with the two challenger candidates." But this debate was not conducted professionally.

First, the Mundy campaign barred all access of filming (beforehand), even though NuPo staff, and both the Mullen and Goldsworthy campaigns wanted to film. A video might help voters see the differences between candidates, but Mundy probably thought it might be detrimental to her grip on the 120th to allow Tim and Bill a larger publicity platform via Internet video. Mundy has a nice voice and sort of a Kingstonian accent which undoubtedly resonates with local voters, so her speaking abilities were not what influenced her decision to prohibit filming. (Nevertheless, her speeches were not prolific in either content or prose. If anything, Mullen's speeches were the most provocative and creative, though he too was not polished throughout.)

Secondly, at one point in the debate, Phyllis did not like an audience member's question regarding subsidies. She protested that it was "too broad." The debate moderator, whose identity is not known by the NuPo, actually canned the question at Mundy's direction, even though Tim Mullen was supposed to have a chance at answering it, and even though Mullen spoke up and said that he wanted to answer it.

Third, in light of the circumstance mentioned second, it is not known how fair the moderator was in choosing questions submitted by audience members.

Fourth, Mundy did not take time to meet voters in the foyer like Mullen and Goldsworthy did. She also made no effort to meet either the Mullen or Goldsworthy staff.

Admittedly, Mundy's poor campaign etiquette does not have much to do with issues--neither does this article. But this article does reveal that making off-hand Rush Limbaugh-esque judgments about happenings in the political world sometimes leads one to misperceptions about that world. The political world is about power, and those who seek office, unless totally out of an honest conviction, typically are junkies for power, and know how to safeguard it.

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