Gubernatorial debate

I caught the last 35 minutes or so of tonight's gubernatorial debate. I can sum up the debate in a few words:

Rick Perry looked like a governor. The others didn't.

Couple comments:
1. I've always thought one of Chris Bell's strengths is that he looks like a governor, but he didn't tonight. The new hairstyle was off, and it looked on my TV like he didn't shave over his top lip. It was distracting. He might've had a chance at seeming gubernatorial otherwise, but the look was just not completely right. Otherwise, Bell's performance wasn't bad. He came off better than Friedman or Strayhorn, but he occasionally looked a little too smug, which he has a tendency to sometimes seem like in public. For example, he sounded awfully condescending when he told the female journalist (don't know her name) that she "just hadn't been paying attention." That ruined some other politically very good responses.

2. Ugh. What was with the asking the candidates "gotcha" questions? That seemed like a low point in Texas journalism. Just terrible. I have no idea who thought that up, but they should be ashamed of themselves. Texans deserve better than journalists trying to make politicians look dumb. How about asking serious questions instead of shallow "gotcha" questions? I mean, Strayhorn has run a campaign that has made many unsympathetic towards her, and yet they managed to make her look sympathetic to viewers by asking her who was recently elected president in Mexico. She didn't know. That's pretty unimpressive. But so what? I'm not going to vote for her because she keeps changing her convictions on high-profile issues, not because she can't think of the name Felipe Calderon on what might be the most stressful moment of her life. I mean, it took Chris Bell 5 seconds to remember that the Alamo was fought in 1836. It's hard to think on a completely different angle under that kind of pressure.

3. Chris Bell had to go after Strayhorn more than Perry. Not too surprising.

4. Friedman looks short between Perry and Bell. He must've skipped the debate prep, because he looked extremely awkward on camera. He shifted, he fidgeted. He made me nervous. He had some absolutely great responses that resonated. He also thoroughly bombed a few. I guess that's what you'd expect from him though. He has no chance of winning with performances like that...and that's how he's campaigned.

5. Way to bomb the tuition dereg question, Chris. The journalists chose a softball lob question to pitch to you, and you just whiffed it because you wanted to go back and talk about the Trans Texas Corridor. I have no idea how you could miss scoring points on that one, but you did.

Posted by Evan @ 10/06/06 08:04 PM


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The "gotcha" part of the thing was bad.
I felt especially bad for Wayne Slater, a real journalist surrounded by teleprompter readers trying to play the "gotcha" game and look smart. Not impressive, Belo.

Perry looked most gubernatorial. Bell might have pulled it off, if not for that occasional look of condescension that seems to come so naturally. The other two were just pathetic.

Posted by kevin @ 10/06/06 10:06 PM


You're two-sentence summary was right on the mark.

However, I thought that Chris Bell's only real problem was his foghorn voice.

"I'll tell you how you build enthusiasm, John..." (What an awful question to have to answer, though.)

Maybe people from Bell's home region (Houston?) have gotten used to that voice. Last night was the first time I've ever seen him, though.

The big surprise for me was how badly Strayhorn did, even setting aside the "Felipe Calderon" question. Hasn't she been elected to statewide office two or three times? Can't she find anyone who knows how to help her prepare for a debate? (Bell and Perry were able to come prepared.)

Posted by James Haney @ 10/08/06 02:32 PM

I wasn't so impressed with Rick Perry. He certainly did better than Strayhorn and Friedman (both of whom had good contentions that didn't translate due largely to nervousness), but I feel like he dodged most of the issues. Chris Bell at least offered a coherent platform.

Posted by Kevin A. @ 10/08/06 10:45 PM

Chris Bell had an outstanding performance. I don't worry about someone's voice but their character and willingness to challenge the likes of Tom DeLay and the Repbulican sellouts. Kinky was shallow but entertaining and Strayhorn was a wind-up Grandma, just spouting campaign slogans. Perry presents himself well- too bad he never tells the truth.

Posted by XRepublican @ 10/09/06 09:40 AM

Perry has my vote!

Posted by Kevin Davis Jr. @ 10/09/06 09:25 PM

Perry did fairly well. I think his campaign goal thusfar has been to remain out of sight and, largely, he's done that. With three people to divide the anti-encumbent vote, Perry really only stands to lose from public appearances. But he didn't lose that debate, to be sure.

Not only have polls shown a slight increase in his support, but he managed to demonstrate competence despite slip ups like saying "words matter" before butchering the English languages with phrases like "no matter whether or not", "deflect from", or "the geleck" (I don't know what it is, either). Beating odds like that, it's no surprise that Rick Perry's been governor for many years including a term as a Conservative Democrat.

The real winner of this debate, however, was Chris Bell. Not necessarily as much because of what he said or how he said it, but because people heard what he said and how he said it. With an increase in name recognition came an increase in support and--did you catch it?--Kinky yielded his question time to give Bell some time to rail on Perry. A small concession after Bell adopted Kinky's casino policy.

After the debate, a fact check went up on Bell's site and Bell made a public statement requesting Kinky's help in defeating Perry (essentially asking for his support and, by proxy, voters)

Obviously, the two big losers are, naturally, Strayhorn and Friedman with Friedman having been made the biggest fool of all. From his own speeches, the speeches of other candidates, and even some hard journalistic interventions, it seemed as though every word that wasn't deadwood was dead weight for Kinky Friedman.

Whether or not an anti-Perry coalition between candidates will be enough to knock the governor out of his mansion remains to be seen, but until then, the interrim is undoubtedly supporting Perry.

Visit Chris Bell's web page to be linked to the full debate and read a debate fact-check; something no other candidate offers.

-Harrison Napper

Posted by Harrison Napper @ 10/11/06 04:19 AM

Perry's going to win, win easily, maybe even with a majority - a first in American Politics with three other candidates in Double figures in a non open primary system

What the governor has done in the debate is open up the public's viewing the heavy spending tactics proposed by Bell and Strayhorn - barring a miracle - both would need a Income tax to balance their for the children spending proposals

Posted by EricPWJohnson @ 10/11/06 06:56 AM

Well in my opinion it shouldn't matter what the candidate has on. What should matter is his political view

Posted by Kamryn @ 10/18/06 07:44 PM

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