Sadly, I actually missed a big chunk of the debate because I was called away by work. On the plus side, I'm getting enough work that it actually pulled me away from the debate. I did, however, see enough to address the four points that I wanted addressed.
First: Healey's performance
I though Healey did a much better job than in the last debate in terms of simply presenting herself well. She had obviously been coached much more extensively this time and was much more on top of her game. The biggest effect of this, I think, was that she actually acknowledged
that there were more than two candidates in the race. Unfortunately she forgot that fact again in her closing remarks. Overall I thought her performance was still pretty disappointing. She represents the status quo that people don't want, and she knows it, so she does little other than point out why (she think) her opponents' (really, just Patrick's) positions are even worse than hers. She also keeps harping on and on about how horrible it would be to have Democrats in control of both the governor's office and the legislature. I agree with her, that it's, in general, not a very good idea, but it's also not really a position you can run on. If the race were closely contested and she and Patrick were neck and neck, then it might become a valid point to campaign on, but when she's trailing by as much as she is in the polls she really needs to point out her positives
not Patrick's negatives
Second: Patrick's performace
I still don't think that Patrick lived up to his reputation in this regard, but he, like Healey, gave a much better performance than in the last debate. I was, as usual, somewhat disappointed on his actual policy, but I still think that he would, politics aside, make an excellent governor. I also really liked the way that he addressed the Cape Wind question, and I think that his rationale for not supporting the income tax rollback is a good one: yes it would be great to cut that .3% on everyone's income tax, and yes the people voted for it, but before we can do it we need to cut spending by that much. I also approve of his statement that it's more important to cut property taxes first.
Third: Ross' performance
Sadly, Ross did not pick up any hints in terms of wardrobe or makeup. She wore the same blue ...thing that she wore last time and looked more like she should be a shopkeeper on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley than a gubernatorial candidate. She did, however, display an amazing improvement in terms of speaking. Her statements were much clearer and more organized, she spent less time trying to identify herself as part of the 'lower 60%' (although she did mention it at least once), and she consistently gave intelligent, coherent, and well thought out responses. Listening to her speak, and watching her demeanor, she actually gave me the impression that she could do a good job as governor. I'm still not going to vote for her for a number of reasons, but I was very impressed with her performance tonight.
Fourth: Mihos' performance
Mihos, I think, may have actually done a little worse in this debate than in the previous one. He didn't seem quite as on top of things and fantastically coherent as in the last debate, and he had lost some of the general charm that he displayed before. I think part of that may have been the lighting... He did still do a good job though, and he, and Ross, surprisingly, both drew a lot of applause and laughter from the audience (For which they were sternly admonished by the moderator. The audience, that is. Amusingly enough, Healey got by far the least reaction from the crowd, if any at all.) He did, I think, focus less on attacking Healey (at least in the parts that I saw), and instead focused more on the Republican party in general. That aside, I think he did an excellent job of answering the questions posed, though if he brought up the small business issues I had hoped he would, he did it while I was working.
Moving on from the actual debate, another local blogger and Mihos supporter Jesse Legg
had a very insightful post earlier today
. He talked about how the candidates are not doing a very good job of leveraging the internet. As Howard Dean showed two years ago, the internet can be a very effective tool in campaigning. He suggested using YouTube as a medium for debate, with each candidate offering their answers to the questions in separate videos. I think this is an excellent idea, and would do a lot, not only for the candidates, but for the state political blogging. How much improved would a blog be if you could embed YouTube videos of the candidates speaking on an issue in the paragraph in which you talked about their position on that issue? Short of recording, digitizing, and editing the debates yourself, this really isn't a possibility right now.
Amusingly enough, this is actually one of the issues I brought up in my letter to Christy Mihos. His last ad
has an amazing presence on the web. It's become a viral video and has brought national awareness to Mihos and his campaign. As Jessi
can tell you, virals can be a very effective marketing mechanism, and anything that works for marketing can be adapted to campaigning. I also really think that candidates should maintain their own blogs, or at least offer something
to bloggers. In 2004, Gary Nolan
, one of the candidates for the Libertarian nomination (and the man I wanted to vote for) maintained a blog and provided web banners for his supporters to put on their websites. I would love to be able to put a Christy Mihos
banner on my blog, but one simply isn't available. None of the other candidates are offering anything like it either. In addition to simply spreading awareness, it obviously will also act as a distinguisher; never a bad thing. I anxiously await a reply from the Mihos campaign to my email, and hope they'll be able to provide a good perspective on this (and maybe even start taking advantage of it).