Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fireworks at the Goodman - Kreider Debate - Part 3

Actually, here begins the non-fireworks segment of this multi-part post. It concerns the debate itself.

To cut to the chase: Who won? Without meaning to play pollyanna, I'd say the audience won. They got what they came for: a substantive debate between Kreider and Goodman in which, for the most part, you got a good sense for the candidates' views, strengths, weaknesses, and priorities.

But if you insist on asking me to name the winning candidate, I'd argue it was Kreider, not because I'm a Kreider supporter but because, as the challenger, she had the most to gain and also the most to lose. Consider: Goodman is the incumbent. Kreider has never held public office. With over a decade of experience in Ohio policy and politics, one would expect Goodman to have a strong command of the issues. Kreider, in contrast, ran the very real risk of appearing to be out of her depth. Instead, with one (in my opinion, avoidable) exception, she did very well. You might be out of sympathy with her views, but she certainly showed that she had studied the issues and knew what she was talking about.

The debate format involved a moderator who served up questions prepared by Otterbein College students and given to the candidates ahead of time -- a format, it must be said, that was surely helpful to Kreider. Each candidate had a few minutes to respond and an optional opportunity for a brief rebuttal. At the end of the first hour, the debate was opened up to questions from the audience. That lasted roughly thirty minutes, and it was during this final phase that the Crowd of Three (see parts 1 and 2) ganged up on Goodman.

Before the Q&A, each candidate got to make an opening statement. Kreider emphasized her connection to ordinary people and averred that Goodman's ad campaign was trying to portray him as an agent of change but that he was really an established political insider and a member of a Republican-dominated General Assembly that had driven Ohio steadily downhill for over a decade. Deploying the debate's only visual aid, she showed the wide difference between the sources of Goodman's campaign contributions and her own:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 (coming)


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