Saturday, May 26, 2018

Gubernatorial debates more about opponent gaffes than real knowledge

I find it laughable that the gubernatorial hopefuls of the major political parties in Illinois already are fighting over when, and how often, they’ll debate.
Did Pritzker 'one-up' governor?

It’s not like either Gov. Bruce Rauner or Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker really want to speak. They’re more interested in getting their opponent to put their foot in their mouths.

IT MAKES ME think that Saturday Night Live got it right many years ago when they headlined a sketch parodying the ’92 presidential debate as, “The Challenge to Avoid Saying Something Stupid.”
What will be Rauner's response?

Because if we really get the large number of debates that are being pondered as of now, there will be plenty of chances for Rauner/Pritzker (if not both) to say something so inane that it could cause a massive shift in the political sensibilities of the Illinois electorate.

For Pritzker is the guy who definitely has fantasies of Rauner finishing himself off with a gaffe or two. To bolster the chances, he went ahead and said this week he will participate in three debates – one on Sept. 20 in Chicago sponsored in part by the Urban League, another on Oct. 3 in Chicago sponsored in part by the League of Women Voters and a third Oct. 11 in Quincy sponsored in part by the Illinois Broadcasters Association.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Rauner is somewhat peeved with Pritzker over this – because he hasn’t agreed to anything. The announcement sort of publicly commits him to partake in so many events; even though he might actually prefer gatherings under different circumstances.
Would we, the electorate, be better off ...

PRITZKER HAS MANAGED to one-up Rauner on this issue, because if the governor seeking re-election decides to push for something different, it’s going to be spun as though Rauner is ducking debates.

As though he’s somehow being cowardly and afraid to face off against J.B. with the people of Illinois watching on television.

Which, actually, is what these debates will be. Television spectacles. They will be held in television studios and the broadcast stations involved will take great pride in that fact.
... if these cartoons weren't so darned accurate?

If anything, they’ll probably be upset that I’m crediting the Urban League and League of Women Voters for the two Chicago-based debates, rather than the respective television stations, for staging the events.

NOW AS A reporter-type person who has had the chance to cover such political debates, I’ll admit I find them of little value.

Usually, the time restrictions prevent anyone from seriously answering a question – particularly since the candidates themselves find it more a priority to take pot-shots at each other.

While also hoping they can say something that provokes the opponent to say something ridiculous or embarrassing, or just downright stupid! Which is always a possibility when someone is trying to provide an answer in a 90-second time-span, with the entire event lasting just under one hour.

But I can see the point of the debate format in that it forces candidates into equal (almost) terms when it comes to confronting each other, and it sort of forces them to address the issues.

ALTHOUGH WE CAN run into a problem if the particular debate moderator gets into some sort of an egotistical kick of thinking that the particular debate is really their personal interview with the candidates – rather than a chance to see them face off against each other.

Which could become even more intense if this year’s election cycle produces a governor upset that he got suckered into facing off in debate under terms and conditions not of his own choosing.
Activity at the Veteran's Home in Quincy is bound to be a debate focal point
It will be particularly interesting to see about the supposed debate intended for Quincy, where there is a Veterans Home where residents were afflicted with Legionnaire’s Disease and many are more than eager to blame the Rauner administration for the problem.

Would Rauner have preferred a downstate debate in a place like Urbana or Peoria? Of course, there’s really no hiding from the state’s problems – as everyone in Illinois has a gripe these days about the way our state’s government operates.


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