Thursday, January 25, 2018

Honesty during political debates? Or just more of the 2018 silly season!

First, a bit of disclosure – I didn’t actually watch the debate held Tuesday night between the various candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Bruce Rauner come November.

KENNEDY: Can't say something nice
So I’m relying on assorted news reports of the event that seem to focus on candidate Chris Kennedy’s moment of rudeness (or is it honesty?) when he couldn’t come up with anything nice to say about the front-running challenger, J.B. Pritzker.

ONE ACCOUNT I read literally noted the number of seconds of silence from Kennedy before he admitted he couldn’t say anything positive.

It has many political observers feeling like he violated one of the great unwritten rules of political debate – not to make the personal attacks such as the Kennedy comment that “J.B. emerges as the poster child of all that is wrong with the corrupt system in our state.”

I understand that after the debate, Kennedy felt compelled to apologize to Pritzker and even touted Pritzker’s “incredible record around providing early childhood education.” On some level, Kennedy had a talking point burned into his brain that he could easily have tossed out to answer the question.

So is Kennedy worthy of our hostility for not playing nice, or by the rules, so to speak?
PRITZKER: Feelings hurt? Or campaign bolstered

OR IS KENNEDY being truthful when he told reporter-type people that his political weakness is “my honesty.”

Now as a reporter-type myself who has covered many political debates throughout the years, I’m fully aware that this question about “saying something nice” about your opponents is a common one.

It always seems to be asked by TV-types who think that it somehow brings a humanizing moment about – one whose sound-bite they will make sure to use prominently in their broadcast reports.

Personally, I always ignored the question and any responses because I always felt they were trivial, and downright phony.
BISS: Says HE was the big winner

SOME PEOPLE CRITICIZING Kennedy these days are pointing out how even Hillary Clinton managed to say something nice about Donald Trump during their 2016 campaign for president against each other.

Specifically, that Hillary had respect for Trump’s family members. Which as far as I’m concerned is about as irrelevant as one can get.

The real news would have been if she had somehow attacked those people who happen to share genetics with Trump – and she likely would have been worthy of all the derision she would have received from people for taking personal cheap shots at people who aren’t on the ballot themselves.

As for Kennedy, perhaps we got a taste of the personal distaste the son of RFK and nephew of JFK feels for his opponent. Which I’m sure will translate into feels of incompetence in that he wonders how could he possibly be losing to this guy.

ALTHOUGH WE HAVEN’T had much in the way of extensive polling in this particular campaign, so whose to say who’s really getting their behind kicked. Except that now, we can claim it’s Chris (or should we call him CGK – it’s George) who’s getting his butt whomped because he didn’t think quickly enough on his feet Tuesday night.
DAIBER: Was he really big benefactor?

Which has already given another opponent, the little-known state senator from Evanston, Daniel Biss, the motivation to claim this campaign has become one between Pritzker and himself.

While I have heard some people claim they’re now going to pay attention to Bob Daiber, the regional school superintendent from the part of Illinois near St. Louis who also is the lone non-Chicago-area person seeking to challenge Rauner for governor.

All of which makes me think my time was better spent Tuesday doing work that helped to earn a living, rather than watching the latest episode of the silly season that other political geeks got worked up over.


No comments: