Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Gubernatorial Debate Impressions

Some very rough impressions from the debate (having been half-listening as I prepared and ate dinner):

Mihos was about as I expected. Has one good point (returning more money to the localities), but is a tad too stridently anti-tax for my tastes. (I'm no fan of taxes, but I care about balanced budgets and responsible spending more.) The most conspicuously uncharismatic of the bunch. Continues to strike me as passionate but a tad weird.

Gabrielli comes across much better in the debate than in his touchy-feely commercials, which are so blandly nice they make me twitch. Seems to be serious and intelligent. Has one Big Issue (spending state money to fund stem cell research), which I have mixed feelings about -- I think it's a good cause; I *don't* think that state money is especially well spent on choosing scientific winners like that; I do suspect that it may be a useful card in trying to reverse the brain drain from the state. He really spent much too much time on that particular hobby-horse, though -- whether a good idea or not, it isn't that central a point. Actually commands the camera best of the lot -- while he's not precisely charismatic, he does have a fairly good CEO attitude.

Reilly didn't come across as badly as I'd expected -- he tends to feel smarmier in his soundbites, whereas here he simply came across as patronizing. I do think he's sincere, but I didn't get the feeling that he has much imagination; when pinned to the wall with tough questions, he seemed the most apt to duck and weave. Still not exactly inspiring.

Patrick didn't do quite as well as I'd hoped -- he seemed oddly uncomfortable with the camera, and fell back to sounding very much like a normal politician in many ways. But he came closest to admitting that these were hard questions and did not admit simple "magic bullet" answers; I have a good deal of respect for that, since I think it's generally true.

The big loser of the evening was Healey -- I was genuinely surprised at the degree to which everyone avoided taking potshots at each other, in favor of saving all of them for the current administration. After the debate, her handler remarked that it was a no-win proposition for her, so of course she didn't participate; that said, I'm not sure she did herself a favor here, by effectively letting herself serve as the punching bag and letting herself look afraid of the fray. And the Republican contention that this was simply a Democratic primary debate rings just a smidgeon hollow in the presence of Mihos, who is the furthest right of the bunch in several respects. The Democrats really came across as surprisingly united for three guys with rather different views; I suspect that that doesn't bode well for Healey in November, but it's early days yet...

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