A debate for the ages

In Anchorage, at nine in the evening of November 3rd, the 2016 Senate election in Alaska will probably be decided.  This is the traditional statewide TV debate, held in the spacious studios of the Public Television Station.  I’ve been watching these things since 1978, when I saw Tom Fink stand his ground in the gubernatorial debate.  He won the debate, and took enough votes from Hickel to elect Hammond.  I was in the Hammond camp, and have wanted to express my appreciation to this day.

On stage you’ll have the clueless incumbent, Lisa Murkowski, the Republican nominee, then the Democrat, loony old Ray Metcalfe, and the Libertarian, fire breathing Joe Miller.  Margaret Stock, a sensible Democrat, is running as an independent, and she’s the one all the Democrats in Alaska want to win.  Except for the Bernie Sanders types  – –  they’re with Metcalfe.  Add a couple vanity candidates and the stage is set.

I think Miller wins that debate, the way Fink won his.  Stand your ground, but not in a disagreeable way.

All that talk about Begich doing a write in was a head fake.  BAAM is still on, the papers mailed to the FEC today.  BAAMB will be put on ice.

The way they did these debates back when I was a candidate you got to ask your opponent a question.  The first Democrat I debated, Steve Tackett, a scab home builder, was afraid to debate me before the Public Television debate, which he had to go to.  He was scared to death about what question I was going to ask him.  I didn’t have anything on him, so he got off easy.

Not so the Democrat they recruited to run against me in 1984, a timid bureaucrat named David Hedderly-Smith.  I looked up his voting record and found a gem.  This guy hadn’t voted in the last Anchorage Municipal election.  Which meant he didn’t actually vote for the property tax limitation initiative that he claimed to favor.  Which meant he didn’t care about the hard working tax payers of Anchorage.

I set him up just right.  I asked him if he supported the tax limitation, and he said he did.  I then told him that I’d looked up his voting record, and found that he had neglected to vote in that election.  An important limitation on property taxes, which you didn’t vote for.  And then I got to the question.  “You’ve accused me of voting “no” too much, but when you had a chance of voting on an important protection to property owners, you didn’t even vote at all.”  That was the question.  This mild mannered clerk acted like I’d smacked him in the head with a two by four.   I enjoyed that.

So doing debate prep can be important, if you know what you’re doing.

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