Thursday, May 22, 2008
On this day:

Thoughts on tonight's beauty contest...and a couple of endorsements

Well, that was a lot of fun. When the moderator announced about halfway through the debate that the next round of questions would be a "lightning round," I had to laugh. The whole darn thing was pretty much one lightning round after another.

Still, I thought it was a decent forum. There were tons of questions covering a broad range of issues, and the candidates answered them as well as could be expected. Sure, it was a beauty contest, but that's not all bad. We now have a better picture of who can think on their feet, who can deliver a coherent message in front of a camera, and who will best represent the views of their constituents.

Here are a few thoughts on each candidate, starting with the two Democrats:

Parker Griffith: Griffith will undoubtedly be the Democratic nominee. He is poised, likeable, and - unlike his opponent - kempt. If voters want another Bud Cramer, Griffith is their man. He's a fence-straddler on the war and evasive on just about everything else, but conservative enough on social issues to win support from a significant number of Republicans in the case that his Republican challenger fails to run a credible campaign.

David Maker: I half expected Dr. Maker (who needed to shave and tighten his tie) to look up at the camera and say, "Sorry, dudes, but I really need a toke."

Cheryl Baswell Guthrie: I thought she gave the best answer of any of the candidates on individual retirement accounts within Social Security. I also liked what she had to say about consumer-driven health care. Her big problem was that she often seemed to have a tough time putting her words into coherent sentences. On the abortion question, I swear I thought I heard her say, "Pro-life begins at the life of conception." Somebody watch it again and let me know.

Mark Huff: Unremarkable.

Ray McKee: Believes that the fair tax is the solution to all of our problems, except when he doesn't know what the problems are. Not Congressional material.

Angelo Mancuso: If he really meant to endorse civil unions for same-sex couples (which he called "legal unions") , then he definitely stood out from the crowd on that one. In a Republican primary, I'm not sure that'll be a good thing.

Wayne Parker: Parker seemed a little nervous, but with the possible exception of George Barry, he was the most impressive of the Republicans. I think he's still the candidate to beat.

George Barry: Barry was by far the best speaker on the Republican side, and his answers to tonight's questions were probably more to my taste than those of any of his fellow candidates. It's just too bad that he's also a die-hard protectionist and a North American Union conspiracy theorist.

Now, a few random thoughts and observations, in no particular order:

Someone should alert Andrew Sullivan, who seems to believe that all Southerners are "Christianist" bigots, that with the exception of Guthrie, every single candidate - Democrat and Republican - expressly said that they were opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment and that the issue of same-sex marriage should be decided by the states. (If I remember correctly, Guthrie didn't actually endorse the FMA, but she didn't say she was opposed to it either.) Wayne Parker added that the federal government might need to get involved if at some point states are forced to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Thankfully, every single candidate - Democrat and Republican - also said that they were pro-life. (Although Maker added a few significant qualifications to that.)

Every candidate said that No Child Left Behind should be repealed. Parker Griffith qualified that by saying it should either be fully funded (by the federal government, I assume) or else repealed.

With six candidates in the race, no Republican is likely to gain a majority in the June 3 primary. That means that there will be a runoff. My prediction is that come November, it'll be Parker Griffith vs. Wayne Parker.

My eagerly-anticipated endorsement goes to Wayne Parker in the Republican primary and Parker Griffith in the Democratic primary.