Thursday, August 24, 2006

Chafee v. Laffey - Debate III

What to say about the TV debate last night?

The seekers of truth will want to peruse the dialogue over at Anchor Rising. Some good debate going on there.

But to begin with, if I was a close confidant of Steve Laffey, I’d want to see a big shake up of his inner circle, his handlers, after last night’s debate.


Let’s begin with his appearance. Somebody decided he should dress up in a zoot suit. He looked more like a consigliore than a Senate candidate.

Chafee, as much as I never like his appearance, was dressed in brighter, yet staid and professional looking clothing. I’ve seen Chafee at public events, and he looks like a school kid. His hair is usually messed up, and his clothing wrinkled and wretched. Last night he looked like a US Senator. Laffey looked like someone from Godfather I.

Next, he talks in patronizing tones. “Listen folks,…”

A debate forum for the US Senate is not a corporate boardroom. You can’t talk to people like you would talk to a room full of business subordinates. And the US Senate is a unique institution requiring a certain demeanor in respect of the office. It is not a place to square off for a round of boxing, though, admittedly, in days of yore there had been violence the likes of which we’ve not seen. But in general, I found Laffey’s comments more like those of someone seeking reelection as mayor of the city of Cranston, than that of one seeking election to that august body in Washington. And he turned off a lot of his audience. Not me, but a lot of people he needs to convince to vote for him.

On the war, he had several openings to distinguish himself from Chafee. Someone, one of his inner circle most likely, has gotten Laffey to shift gears to sound more like he’s opposed to the President on the war “since the President and those in Washington (I’m paraphrasing) support my opponent,” and since he’s dissatisfied with Donald Rumsfeld. But you cannot have it both ways. You can’t have been supporting the war, the troops, the president all along the way, and then make it sound like you’re not anymore. It sounds inconsistent at the least and hypocritical at most.

And Chafee picked him off on that point.

On embryonic stem cells, Laffey had the opportunity to completely defuse the issue with the recent discovery that a single cell can now be extracted from embryonic cells that do not threaten the life of the pre-born human being. Ta da! Over. But no, he had to use an argument that made him sound inconsistent and even a little greedy, having invested in it.

Chafee won on that round too,

Was there anything I liked?

I liked his closing statement. He looked square into the camera without flinching and he said he’d be a fastball pitcher while his opponents will give more of the same. He also had a few very good moments, particularly when he distinguished himself from Chafee’s atrocious behavior on the Samuel Alito Supreme Court nomination.

He hurt the Senator on that point.

Who won the debate?

I know many have chimed in that Laffey won. In my opinion, it was, at best, a draw. Do I want Laffey to win. Those who read this blog know we have not been kindly to Chafee.

I would like to see Laffey defeat Chafee, and go on to beat Whitehouse. But, if he continues in this manner, and the debate on Saturday is similar in tone and style, he will lose.

He might still win the Republican Primary. And if he does, he’d have chance at beating Whitehouse, partly due to the fact that Whitehouse will implode before November, but he’ll shoot himself in the foot if he keeps up with this message, approach, style, consistency and appearance.

To change the tone in Washington, I say that Laffey needs to change his own tone first.

I base these comments - constructive criticism – in part on the observations of a wise and very conservative woman whom I know and trust.

You know, women use both halves of their brain. Men would be wise to take heed.

How does Laffey fix this? Add some good, polished, accomplished and conservative women to the inner circle. Do that, and then listen to them. Take their advice on how to dress and how to act. And dump the person(s) who is(are) making him sound incredibly inconsistent on things like embryonic stem cells and the war in Iraq.

Do it now, or it’s curtains.

I say this because we don’t need another Whitehouse in Washington. One is all we need, all we've ever needed.

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