VA-05 Forum Debate Grades: Dr. Webb Punches, Good Looks Desperate

On Wednesday, the Senior Statesmen of Virginia hosted a forum between the two candidates for the Fifth District Congressional seat. Dr. Cameron Webb, the Democrat from Charlottesville, debated Bob Good, the Republican from Campbell County.

And y’all, it was a spectacle.

I want to do what I have done in the past, and that is to give these candidates a grade on their performance. I want to speak to each of their strengths, while also pointing out their weaknesses, and address opportunities for both of them to grow. So with that, let’s start with the grade for Mr. Good.

Bob Good: D

Bob Good talks about wrestling a lot; apparently, he wrestled in high school and college. To steal a metaphor, there were multiple times that Bob Good was pinned to the ground, with nowhere to go.

Bob, for the love of God, I do not give a flying f**k about endorsements. I could care less that Dr. Webb is endorsed by Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris. Bob Good leaned too hard into endorsements. I realize he is bitter that he is not endorsed by the President or most prominent Republicans because he’s not in the mainstream of the Republican Party. Most people do not care who endorses who. But, for God’s sake, stop it with the endorsements. No one cares.

Second, Bob’s answers are very basic and elementary. He did not want to talk about policy. He wanted to talk about all the things he opposed. I understand that Mr. Good doesn’t want us to speak to his actual record (because it was atrocious), so he just spouts talking points that are spoon-fed to him by his consultants. Mr. Good needs to explain what he is for, not what he is against.

The only thing I liked about Bob was the moment of humility where he described his upbringing. That rare moment was endearing. I wanted to see more of the human side of Bob Good. I think there might be a real dose of character there.

If Bob Good keeps debating like this, looks like Melvin Adams and Chris Shores are going to have keep their resumes fresh and up to date.

Dr. Cameron Webb: B+

Opening statements set the tone of a debate. It’s like the first punch of a boxing match, or the first drive down the field in a football game. Debates, much like sporting events, are a game based on momentum.

When Bob Good finished his statement and Dr. Webb said …


Oh Snaps GIFs | Tenor

It was also a reminder of my favorite television show, The West Wingwhen President Bartlett debated his Republican opponent. I have written about this episode of TWW before, but it’s just so good I have to refer back to it.

You see, President Jed Bartlett set the tone of that debate within the first sentence. To steal a wrestling metaphor Mr. Good will understand, Dr. Webb literally pinned Bob Good so well he was stuck for the rest of the forum.

Dr. Webb speaks with eloquence; it’s a natural fact. He reminds of a minister in his speech, and he has a commanding voice, something that grabs your attention.

On the question of broadband internet, Dr. Webb … I cannot find the words to describe how epically Mr. Good was taken down. I might be paraphrasing a little, but Dr. Webb stated:

That’s a good idea if you’re serving on the Campbell County Board of Supervisors, but we are running for the United States House of Representatives.” 

Since Dr. Webb is an avid basketball fan, I will use a basketball metaphor. Dr. Webb’s answer on broadband was a slam dunk. News flash to the Good campaign: national problems require a national solution.

Much like Jed Bartlett in TWW, Dr. Webb walks us step by step through the USDA broadband servicing and how Mr. Good’s answer was basic and elementary. Much like in the above-referenced clip, Bob Good gave a ten-word answer on broadband.

Dr. Webb kept giving hard-hitting answers that were much more impressive. He has read the policy forward and backward on healthcare, broadband internet, and on the climate change argument (although that climate change answer was a little rusty; he could finesse that a little more).

Dr. Webb has been practicing his answers for a year, while Bob Good was too busy stealing a convention from Denver Riggleman.

However, there are things Dr. Webb can improve upon. He likes to explain things. He is much like President Bartlett in TWW; he likes to explain to you in a nine-point plan how you are wrong.

I will say, Dr. Webb, I could tell by the end you were a little angry. I don’t blame you in the least. Mr. Good kept repeating nonsense about how you are going to vote like AOC. I hope my readers understand, we have interviewed Dr. Webb on Bearing Drift’s Grand New Podcast. He is not an AOC type. Hell, half the time I wonder if he is running a campaign to engage Republicans instead of Democrats.

Next time, Dr. Webb, breathe. Breathe in, breathe out. I realize you were getting upset toward the end. Keep your head on straight and try to answer the question.

WINNER: Dr. Cameron Webb

Fellow Republicans, we are in trouble. Bob Good can barely debate, barely raise money, and can barely run a competent campaign.

Mr. Good, if you read this, please call the NRCC and ask for someone to help you with debate prep beyond talking points that are being used to scare voters. That debate was embarrassing to watch as a Republican. Learn how to talk about what you ARE FOR, not your opponent’s endorsements. Look for ways to reach across the aisle. Study up on policy. Take every talking point that has been spoon-fed to you by your consultants and throw them out.

Mr. Good, for the sake of the Republican Party, find your true character. I really appreciated your life story about attending Liberty University on scholarship. That was a human moment. I want to see more human moments from you.

I also ask you to reach out to moderates in the Republican Party of Virginia and beyond. We are here, we want to engage with you. Please, find a way to engage with the moderates, and even moderate independent voters. You are failing in the outreach to the center.

I hope there are more debates for the Fifth District seat this year. Please keep reading Bearing Drift for more updates about this race.

See also:

-The Daily Progress: At Senior Statesman forum, Good and Webb highlight policy differences

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