Forgetting that I lack a sense of humor, McCracken County Judge Newberry regaled me with lawyer jokes before Dem debate started.
INTRODUCTION - DEBATE DEMOCRAT STYLE
It is fitting that the last Democratic debate took place in Paducah Thursday evening. It will be polling booths closing an hour after the eastern end of the state that will bring the curtain down on four of the candidates.
Bill Bartleman of the Paducah Sun served as moderator. It was no secret he wasn't the Dems first choice. The Paducah Sun has been less than kind to Democrats in recent years. The event, held in the Julian Carroll Civic Center, was advertised as a “town hall meeting.” It was anything but.
The Democratic host admonished the crowd of around two hundred that outbursts would not be tolerated. At one point, he said that no one wanted to hear what those in the crowd had to say. He advised that deputies were in the room to keep order. Bartleman noted in his opening remarks that in the GOP Senatorial debate in Paducah, that all candidates were not allowed to speak. One elderly candidate was escorted from the hall. He seemed to applaud the Dems allowing all candidates a place on the dais.
The “debate” was the classic line ‘em up and ask ‘em the same question format. It produced no sparks, no fireworks. Attorney General Conway and Lt. Governor Mongiardo played defense most of the evening. Mongiardo called on Conway at the beginning of the evening to stay on the high road and for the most part they did. The format didn’t lend itself to sharp exchanges.
As it always seems to happen in Democratic campaigns, the candidates trailing badly in the polls provided the highlights of the evening. Ask anyone who has ever watched Gatewood Galbraith who’s the debate winner when he's on the program and the answer’s always the same. He wins debates, but it doesn’t translate into votes.
The same may be true of three of last night’s debaters. Darlene Price was sharp and funny. Her one liners were certainly better than Jay Leno’s tired performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner recently aired on C-Span. Maurice Sweeney said what the pack leaders avoid saying – he supports President Obama and believes in progressive politics.
Dr. James Buckmaster, the most conservative candidate, is probably more in line with the swing voters that the Dems will need in the fall. His Rand Paul-ish take on politics didn’t play well at this partisan gathering. He was the only candidate to dodge the question of whether he would support the party’s nominee in the fall. The rest were complimentary to their fellow candidate. (Okay, at least one said that any of our guys are better than theirs.)
We’ve broken down the debate into issues with some asides on each candidate. And as always, there are pictures.