You have an excellent play-by-play review. Here’s the color.
Granted, these debates are only as important as they are used in paid and unpaid media, and since the liberal media will highlight Republicans being negative about Republicans, the press is guaranteed to lead stories with Jaime Radtke’s numerous attacks at George Allen. Her goal is to make it seem like a two-person race. Reading the writeups in various newspapers, she accomplished that.
Her performance was amateurish to the live crowd. Candidates can not yell into microphones the way she did. It never sounds good, and you appear out of control. Watch how E. W. Jackson raises his voice and directs it just off-mike so to make sure the microphone works with him and not against him. Experience!
Jaime made just about every answer about George Allen. She has to. She has no other choice. For her, Washington DC is the enemy, and so are the Democrats and Republicans who are there or, in Allen’s case, who spent a term there.
Bottom Line – Radtke lost the crowd, and it was obvious, and the viewers, to whom she came off shrill and answerless, but to the press, she was the focus point, and if that was the goal, then she scored.
George Allen is 100% focused on November. When questioners threw right-wing red meat, he gave cogent answers, but nothing that would excite the world. No talk of Fair Tax like Radtke or Flat Tax like Marshall. But when the questions were about Medicare or Education, Allen hit them out of the park with detailed, positive, articulate and knowledgeable answers. The other candidates had so little substance on these issues, they couldn’t fill two minutes without changing the subject.
George Allen is already talking toward centrist voters and peeling away support from Democrat Tim Kaine.
Del. Bob Marshall – I like the man a great deal, but why is he in this race? Every time he spoke, it was nothing but a litany of bills he patroned in the General Assembly. No vision, no forward thinking, no talk about anything but “In the General Assembly, I passed” this or that. And he never went anywhere with it. Is he running for United States Senate or giving a homework report? No reason for Bob to be in this race at all.
E. W. Jackson – A reporter asked me if Allen wasn’t in this race, would this be Jackson’s race to lose. Well, of course, but if Allen wasn’t in this race, other people would be, so it’s not really a fair question. I’ll tell you this, if it was a convention, Allen might be in trouble.
Jackson is good….damn good. His consultants may have done him a disservice, as he was woefully unprepared for this debate. He answered 3 or 4 questions with the same answer. Freedom, get government out, let the private sector do it. The art of the debate is to make it seem like you aren’t repeating yourself when you are.
Jackson’s finest moment was in his closing remarks. He supported all his competitors, calling them “colleagues” and said they shouldn’t tear each other down. Told a great story about three Virginia greats, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Madison, saying they were all great men, but destined for different tasks. One we needed for the Revolution, one we needed for the Declaration of Independence and one we needed for the Constitution. The question is, who do we need at this moment to do what needs to be done! Rousing and the best moment of the night.
A literal and heartfelt standing ovation for the fantastic close. You never do that. That should be the OPENING statement. It would push Radtke back on her heels, and maybe this debate would play as a two-person race in the press, with Jackson as one of the two. Horrible strategy to save it until the end. In politics, you lead with your best. First sentence, first answer, first statement. Bad choice, if it was one, and if it wasn’t a choice, then bad planning. Jackson has all the tools to be a class-A candidate, and he emotionally moved people tonight.
George Allen is winning and winning easily. There isn’t a Republican Party in Virginia without George Allen in 1993. Half the voters going to the polls June 12th will know George Allen and never heard of the other three.
George Allen – A – He’s winning and scoring points in November already.
Jaime Radtke – B-minus – She’s doing what she has to do to regain second place, but turning off most people who hear her.
E.W. Jackson – B – Great player with poor coaching. This is a star on the rise.
Del. Bob Marshall – D – Really, no reason to be in this race at this point, other than giving social conservatives a place to go. No one is really campaigning for them.