Thursday, October 18, 2012

Debate Night: The Undercard

By Atticus Finch Jr.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012, will probably be remembered as the presidential town hall slugfest in which Mitt Romney revealed his little black binder of women AND challenged President Obama on the Libyan consulate tragedy only to be spanked by moderator Candy Crowley. All I could think of was the Saturday Night Live regular “Emily Litella” saying “Never mind!”

The presidential race was actually the last debate of the night. Earlier in Raleigh the candidates for NC governor also squared off.

And here in Watauga County, this little bird found a discreet spot to watch a local debate hosted by the ASU Student Government Association in collaboration with ASU College Democrats and Young Republicans. Watauga County had its own slugfest Tuesday night at 7pm at the Broyhill Center.

First up was Elisabeth Motsinger, running for U.S. Congress in NC's 5th district. Mrs. Motsinger shadow-boxed her empty podium opponent, answering politely all questions while her opponent was uncharacteristically silent. Motsinger said economic recovery must trump debt reduction and that "focusing on small business is the key, not big business pretending to be small business."

Candidates for NC House district 93 then squared off. Incumbent Jonathan Jordan took a page from Bill O'Reilly's "rumble" with Jon Stewart by bringing visual aid placards with fancy bar charts. If the audience was feeling any Oooooohs and Aaaaaahs over Jordan’s graphic skills, it politely suppressed them. Former House representative Cullie Tarleton struck a blow when he summarized Jordan's budgetary approach "in five words: cuts, cuts and more cuts." Jordan raised the Boone water intake issue, of course, but he resisted reading from Tarleton's 2009 House Bill 1101 this time and instead blamed the Town of Boone. Tarleton quickly pointed out that "the Republican leadership stopped Jordan's attempt to undermine the project."

NC Senate candidates Roy Carter and Dan Soucek provided the greatest contrast. Mr. Soucek was poised and smarmy in his delivery. He explained that he introduced Senate Bill 949 to eliminate Boone's ETJ in order to create a dialogue about this issue. (Oh. That was your intention! Next time, consider a phone call.) Mr. Carter animatedly argued for education saying we're losing our best and brightest by cutting the Teacher Fellows program. Interesting turns of phrases also heard: "voodoo budgeting” (Carter’s accusation), "someway somehow is not a plan" (Soucek’s rejoinder).

Last up were the six candidates running for three Watauga County commissioner seats. Six questions spread across the three races made for a (very) brief opportunity for these candidates.

Last week at the Farm Bureau forum, Tommy Adams claimed "personal property rights" is what his campaign is all about, but tonight I don't think I heard that term even once. Ah yes, the audience of ASU students doesn't own property. So instead he continued to push the business park idea for the old WHS site as the economic solution for the county. (Even as multiple offers have now been tendered, and one accepted.)

This little bird apologizes for becoming mesmerized by Adams' comment on voter fraud and a State Bureau of Investigation case file in Boone in 2005. It was in 2005 that the Templetons tried to take over the Boone Town Council. It’s my understanding that it was Tommy Adams himself who was the object of that investigation. He was accused of trying to help the Templetons by inducing ASU students who were not residents of the town to claim they were and vote for the Templeton slate. Which made it more than slightly amazing that Mr. Adams would raise the issue as an accusation against Democrats.

Republican incumbent commissioner Vince Gable, running against John Welch, again reminded us of what a great job he has done ensuring our county debt is well managed and not a problem. Since fear of debt is a Republican staple, no one gasped. In the last race, Perry Yates said, "I agree with Virginia [Roseman]" and Virginia Roseman said, "I agree with Mr. Yates."

Remainder of debate summed up this way: no gaffes, no home runs. Actually after watching Romney later in the evening, I have to say that no gaffe is a home run.


Anonymous said...

Some people that I talk to say that even though Virginia Foxx didn't show up, she at least tied, if not won outright!

Anonymous said...

Mr Finch must have been enjoying the free refreshments rather than listening to the debate. No mention of the serious topics debated. Ridiculous article.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that Mr Finch is the fat guy in the second row who kept smirking, rolling his eyes and forcing sarcastic laughs whenever one of the Republicans was speaking.

A Joe Biden fan probably.

Anonymous said...

It is true it was Adams who was the subject of that voter fraud by the SBI back in 2005. Amazed he would bring that up, but I guess he's arrogant enough to figure he can get away with just about anything.

Anonymous said...

No it was an investigation of student votes being sold.

Anonymous said...

If you have any evidence or reports of any voter fraud allegations against him, why don't you cite them?

You can always tell the phonies..they start their slander with opening such as "is it true that..." or "I've heard that...."

I've heard that Anonymous 11:28 beats his it true that he also beats his elderly parents?

Anonymous said...

I think we're stuck with Soucek. He seems to be in the thrall of big developers but at least he seems like a decent man so that doesn't bother me too much.

I am very much hoping we see Jordan go, though. I have rarely been so unimpressed with a representative. Jordan's office can't even be bothered to return constituents' calls.

Anonymous said...

I agree Soucek is a decent man...a West Point graduate who gave 10 years to the armed services of this country and certainly doesn't deserve the frequent slander he receives here - probably from people who never wore the uniform of their country.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:56, you must leave some very irate and nasty messages. Mr. Jordan has never failed to return my calls.

He has just been endorsed by both the National Rifle Association and Grass Roots north Carolina.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, your charge against Jordan is totally false. I've had no trouble contacting him.

And if the truth be told, Tarleton would not answer inquiries of constituents when he was in office; Goss rarely would answer. If you could finally get Tarleton by email, he would not want to answer your questions online, a written record, but insisted on a phone call, which is obvious why.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of good people running for office and they come from both the Republican and Democratic parties. It's a shame that we can't advocate for our choices without attacking the individuals running for office from the "other side".

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:12 -

Indecent calumny. Steve Goss had a stellar, well-earned reputation for returning constituent calls and helping people.

I will not use stronger language to characterize your statements, but I'm certainly THINKING it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:12,

How nice for you that Jordan returned your calls. That doesn't mean my charge is false - he did not return mine. Maybe he only likes hearing from constituents who already agree with him, or maybe you just got lucky.

I can contrast that with Soucek, who was very impressive in responding and taking time to talk to me. This isn't a partisan thing, it's constituent service as I observed it and there was a huge difference in the way these two men handled it.

Anonymous said...

The truth is no doubt "indecent calumny" to you.

Call it whatever you wish.

Nevertheless, I will stick with my statements re: Tarleton and Goss, because it is the truth.

Jordan and Soucek have proven to me on several occasions that they are very responsive to constituents.

Anonymous said...

Soucek may be responsive, but that does not make him a decent man by a long shot.