I wasn't going to watch the governor's debate, but somehow it's found its way onto my TV.
The issue stuff is going in one ear and out the other, so far. I've heard it so many times. But I'm not without questions:
1) What's up with Peter Hutchinson's mouth? At the Chamber of Commerce debate last month, he used "sucks" to describe the roads. Tonight he said people are "pissed off." What's up with that? Granted lots of people -- including me -- used "pissed off" and "sucks" in everyday conversation, but when I'm in front of a microphone, I don't. Is he trying to show he's an average person? There's one more big debate to go. Those of us scared to death of the FCC obscenity rules have got to be a little worried about whether he escalates the "potty mouth" strategy even more.
2) Lapel wear is getting big in politics. Earlier today I was watching the CBS football pregame and all 5 had American flags on their lapels. Tonight I see both Pawlenty and Hatch have ribbon insignias on. That could mean support our troops or it could be for breast cancer or AIDS research. My wife has a silver one that means support for mental health parity. Lapels are like billboards now. Peter Hutchinson doesn't have any lapelwear tonight.
3) Maybe I'm missing something but Mike Hatch -- the attorney general -- keeps hammering the immigration issue, saying the Pawlenty administration's Commerce Department isn't enforcing the law. That seems like a strategy that could backfire. Isn't the attorney general's office the state's top cop?
4) Tom Hauser is the only participant tonight not wearing a diagonal striped tie. He also has the nicest suit. Maybe these three guys ought to try getting a TV gig.
5) Mike Hatch talked about meeting some woman crying on the curb because "she couldn't get her anti-suicide pills." Huh? There's no such thing as anti-suicide pills. Anti-depressants by the way, if that's what he meant, have been linked to child suicide, for what it's worth.
6) Gov. Pawlenty said his "health impact fee" was not a violation of the no-new-taxes pledge he signed because a judge ruled it wasn't a tax. Why is this still an issue? Of course it violated the pledge. How do I know. Because the guy who wrote the pledge said so:
The Health Impact Fee was bad policy, bad politics and bad law. Judge Fetsch’s ruling confirmed what we have said all along: the ‘health impact’ costs of tobacco are already being paid by smokers through the 1998 tobacco settlement. This “fee” was nothing but a tax increase by another name, and the Judge struck down the law based upon the all too cute reasoning behind the ‘fee.’ -- David Strom
Quibble if you want on whether it's a tax as defined by law, but that's different on whether it violated the pledge or the spirit of the pledge.
*** Kennedy: "We're in the first war in the information age." Now I have to figure out when "the information age" started. Because we were in the war in Bosnia. We were in a war in Iraq-Kuwait. We were in Somalia. Oh, and there's that Afghanistan thing. According to Wikipedia,
'Information Age' is a name given to a period after the industrial age and before the Knowledge Economy. Information Age is a term applied to the period where movement of information became faster than physical movement, more narrowly applying to the 1980s onward.I'll be darned.
*** OK, nobody's paying attention to Robert Fitzgerald, so I will. If I had this guy's poise when I was his age, I could've made something of myself. And now back to our debate. He's not likely to win this race, but he's got a heck of a political career ahead of him. Can he have it while a member of a third party?
*** New word: "Filibusting'
*** The story of Gus the freakin' bus? C'mon, Ms. Klobuchar. That's the one question you've been dying to ask an opponent?
*** I don't think any of these candidates has been surprised by a question yet. I'm trying to think of one I'd ask if I were on the panel, aside from a few personal favorite political issues that nobody ever speaks to on a campaign. So I think I'd go with "what's your favorite movie?" Maybe one of the candidates would answer "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," in which case, this campaign would officially be over.
*** OK, there's a new one for my record-book. The first candidate I've ever heard refer us to read something in "Rolling Stone." Reminds me of the time Bill Weld, when he was governor of Massachusetts, told us he knew all the lyrics to every "Rolling Stones" song... and then proceeded to prove it.
*** Debbie Kennedy made a beeline to the stage to stand by her husband as the debate was closing. Planned? Oh, heck, yeah. The cameras were able to capture it before going to Desperate Housewives, but I don't know if it was enough to make the point -- whatever the point was supposed to be.
Man, I'm glad I'm not a reporter having to write the story on this one. As near as I can tell, nobody scored with the "money shot," the one line that becomes the lead on every newscast.
But I'm going to the Rolling Stone Web site now.