The United States Supreme Court and other judges have shown me the way. You know I support Martha Coakley. You also know some of the things she has done over the past have not particularly endeared me to her. I know some of you feel the same way. But we have to put that aside. Its nitty-gritty time. It’s now or never in deciding what type of Commonwealth we will be over the next four years. Each of us should seriously decide who will be the best governor for all of the people.
I usually hate to watch debates because the candidates have been prepped so much that you learn nothing. For example, Candidate X is asked what should be done about the immigration problem? X answers, “that’s a good question, I have a fourteen point plan on that issue. Visit my web site Xforgovernor.com. Let me tell you about Clara Turnip who I met the other day. Clara is a single mom raising her three kids. She lives (wherever the debate is taking place). She supports me on this. blah, blah blah. Next question to X: “What measures would you introduce to reduce gun violence? X answers. “that’s a good question, I have a seventeen point plan on that issue. Visit my web site Xforgovernorcom. The other day I was talking to Sally Squash about that very issue. Sally is a hard working woman raising five kids. She lives (wherever the debate is taking place). She supports me on this. blah, blah blah.
For that reason you learn little more than that the person knows the neighborhood where the handlers have deposited the candidate off for the debate. Also, you know the answers pander to the public and you have to look beyond the answers to the person’s background to figure out whether any of their multiple point programs have any more validity to them than the words in the Soviet Constitution guaranteeing the right of free speech.
Anyway, I got beyond my distaste for debates and watched the last two: one was in Worcester under the direction of the ebullient Latoyia Edwards who identified herself as being from St. Mark’s Parish in Dorchester, a sign of a real Dorchesterite — we always identified ourselves by our parishes. The other was in a television studio in the Boston area.
You are probably wondering how I can give an unbiased opinion on a debate where I favor one of the candidates. That gets me back to the Supreme Court. At one time in the past a dispute arose over whether Congress was violating the Constitution by not giving the judges of the Supreme Court a pay raise in line with the increase in the cost of living. The issue came before that court but the first thing the judges had to decide was whether they could be impartial in determining whether they deserved more money in their pockets. I’m sure it’s not going to burn up much of your brain power to figure out what they decided. Having found they were unbiased, they then voted to give themselves a pay raise.
We also saw that happening in the Whitey Bulger case. A judge there was asked to recuse himself for reasons that suggested he was biased. He looked into his heart and found he could still be impartial. The Court of Appeals may have disagreed but he still disagrees with that court. So it is with me, I have done a close examination to determine if I can be impartial in judging the candidates from their debate performance and I find that I can.
At the Worcester debate it appeared Coakley was clearly smarter, livelier, more witty and quicker on her feet. Baker seemed to be nailed to the floor fretting over whether Martha was going to come too close to him for comfit. Coakley wasn’t programmed using speaking points, rather she seems to be speaking from the heart. Baker stuck to his pre-debate preparation.
My “who you would like to have a beer with” test clearly went to Coakley. Baker reminded me of a guy in a white shoe law firm I interviewed with for a legal position. The most common sound during that dreadful 15 minutes was of silence.
The second debate though was different. Both candidates were fixed in their chairs. As I saw it, that was a big disadvantage to the peppy Coakley. It was a fairly even back and forth. Baker still had the worried look on his face whenever Coakley directly addressed him as if she was going to spring something on him he wasn’t prepared for. Near the end Baker for the first time showed another side of himself – something he’s hidden well – that he is human. He told of an encounter with a New Bedford fisherman that made him cry.
The fisherman had told his sons to turn down athletic scholarships to go to college. He wanted them to be fisherman like himself. Now he was crying over that bad advice apparently because the fishing business is hitting upon hard times. I didn’t see what the economy had to do with it. It would have been bad advice to his kids even if things were thriving in that industry. You can still be a fisherman with a college education if you want but you also have other choices. I’m not sure why Baker cried over that – but that he did was noted.
But overall, without a hint of bias, I suggest Coakley won the debates. 🙂 That means little though. You can be a lousy debater and a good governor. The true test of who should sit in the corner office at the State House is who you would most enjoy having a beer. For me Coakley wins that test hands down.