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Saturday, November 19, 2005

6th CD Forum Scorecard

--posted by Tony Garcia on 11/19/2005

OK...finally I have time to really give my assessment of last week's forum/debate with all of the GOP Congressional Candidates for the 6th District. For detail on the questions and answers go here.

All of the scores will be given in alphabetical order instead of the order that the canidates spoke.

Opening statement:
Bachmann-- -1. overall the "reason to vote for me" were so easily refutable that I counted the responses as negatives. "only candidate to already have represented over 25% of the district". OK, a plus on electability, but should we then assume that you are incapable after the next redistricting? And that is your one "why i'm better" for your opening statement? yikes. the kid talk is tiresome ("awesome", etc). My other notes (repeated throughout the Forum) was time management.
Esmay-- +1. because I personally do not like the message of "I'm like Kennedy/Kline" because I want a candidate who rides his own success instead of coattails. However, it played well amongst the group.
Knoblach-- 0 overall the "reason to vote for me" were so easily refutable that I counted the responses as negatives. Taxpayer scores he provided were old...because his taxpayer ratings have recently done a nose dive. Positives are added for the presence that Knoblach had. Strong speaking...which is a large change from before.
Krinkie-- +2. theme is one that I agree with. I know Krinkie's pro-life credentials but for me, personally as a delegate, my #1 issue is fiscal responsibility.

Abide by endorsement:
Bachmann-- 0. Right answer, but don't say "I don't need 2 minutes to answer" and then get the time's up signal!
Esmay-- +2. A yes/no question that actually got a yes/no answer without extra fluff!
Knoblach-- -1. this is a yes/no question. No equivocations needed.
Krinkie-- +1. Right answer, but all you need to say is yes/no.

What to do about illegal immigrants:
Bachmann-- +1. Great example (the airport). Right answer. Unfortunately the point got muddy in the explanation. Keep It Simple! Especially with only 2 minutes. (though I did not penalize the points for that).
Esmay-- -2. Started with a great answer (that's why I didn't take off more points)...the answer is enforcement. Then you gave a LONG list of enforcement tools that sound very, very, very, very, very expensive. I mean VERY expensive list.
Knoblach-- +2. Would have been higher. Great answer: state level issue. As a federalist I still might have issue with immigration control being state level, but I'd rather err on the federalist side than the nationalist side. No support of amnesty was a winner to me...until you added the hedge of "within reason" and a hedge for the "hard-working" illegals.
Krinkie-- +2. INS overhaul is good. Enforcement! Yep. The driver's license having VISA expiration dates got a point by itself.

How to keep U.S. from having its own Paris:
Bachmann-- +2. Shot at the French, always fun, though might affect electability during the general campaign! Assimilation IS the answer.
Esmay-- +2. Assimilation IS the answer. Didn't take points off for this but the andecdote was not really needed. Don't fill time just to fill it. Take notice of the popularity of your endorsement answer.
Knoblach-- -1. secure borders is good; english is our language it should be THE official lang..."within reason"--that loses points AND the fact that this is the 3rd hedge after 3 questions loses another point.
Krinkie-- +2 Assimilation IS the answer and love the Federalist approach.

How do you finish war on terror:
Bachmann-- +1. Good quotes followed by bad examples. Right overall answer. The explanation of "export freedom" was probably more harmful than helpful, though the concept was helpful. "Jihadists are playing for keeps"--great quote and passion...passion would have better to come out throughout the answer instead of the last few seconds.
Esmay-- +2. military is doing their job & we must make the U.S. see it--perfect answer. The Hitler example was likely applicable but I'm sick of hearing comparisons to Hitler for anything. Lost a point for this but I admit there is nothing he could have done about this.
Knoblach-- -2. Blame the leadership for "many mistakes"! Lost big for this. The great distinction between Iraq and Vietnam saved a few points.
Krinkie-- -1. Lost a point for whining that Esmay should have got this question first. It was humor but it came off as whining. Listed campaigns as examples of problems that need to be fixed (Bosnia, Somalia) which the GOP was in arms about. Without acknowledging the GOP error on these I count it as a minus to use these examples.

Support Bush's Social Security reform:
Bachmann-- 0. Really did not get a sense of her support for Bush's plan. She answered 2nd behind someone who directly answered the question so there is no excuse for a convoluded answer. Did not lose points because I know she supports Soc Sec reform.
Esmay-- +1. Answered the question...explained what people could not see about Bush's plan; supports Soc Sec reform.
Knoblach-- +3. Great answer. Complimentary and informative and direct.
Krinkie-- +1. Wanted to say "raise retirement age from 65" (which I would have given big points for) but didn't. The answer was also informative and direct but that hesitation on saying "raise retirement age" was a little too obvious...for me at least.

Vote to cut Northstar Rail extension from Big Lake to St Cloud:
Bachmann-- +1. Would cut the extension! Points. Could have been big points since she set up saying why roads are more important than rail, but she never followed through.
Esmay-- +1. I don't like his answer (support rail to big lake) but his answer was so practical that I almost bought his answer!
Knoblach-- -3. Minus points for supporting Northstar (want to take off more since I'm so against Northstar but I understand that it directly helps, in theory, his district and that his constituency REALLY wants their transportation subsidized by the rest of the state/country). Minus points for hedging (could cut it under the right circumstances).
Krinkie-- +2. He has the message that is my #1 priority: cut all spending. This message really began to come through here. Wanted to give more points but I withheld because of my bias towards perfect fiscal answers.

Would you extend Bush's tax cuts:
Bachmann-- +2. Would extend tax cuts (how about making them permanent?). Horrible anecdote about being a tax-lawyer, though I gave a bonus point on this because I hope her experience would give her an advantage to finding ways of getting tax cuts through.
Esmay-- +3. Like the gist of the answer. Very much did not appreciate the gratutious mention of the military and took a point away for it. Investment priorities are shifting--good answer. contrast between tax effects on US companies vs foreign companies was great.
Knoblach-- +3. Great answer until the income consumption tax idea. What is that? If i find out that it is a way to ride the fence between flat income tax people and consumption tax people I will deduct large points from here. Until then I will assume that it is a new innovative tax reduction idea.
Krinkie-- +5. This was a litany of great answers. The question was in his wheelhouse and he knocked it out of the park. It is spending! Even on your pet projects! Will you hold to your campaign pledges (shot at knoblach & bachmann). perfect answers, perfect usage of speaker position and perfect delivery (he answered last on this question)

What 1 question would you ask the Gas Gouger Legislation seekers:
Bachmann-- +1. Again a good answer reduced in effect by talking too much. price fixing on gas will be dealt with after dealing with price fixing on concert tickets. OK, one could arguably be a necessity while the other is a luxury. the list of liberal concerteers was SOOOOOOOOO long that it reduced the effect of the point. I did not deduct as heavily as I would in the general election because the liberal bashing, while too lengthy, was trying to play to the crowd in the room.
Esmay-- 0. Started out with a huge gainer for an answer ("do you understand supply & demand") only to follow it with a bigger loser...if you show evidence of gouging we will take action. the concept contradicts his initial response AND gives an indication of a willingness to seriously in price controls AND shows a brief neglect of understanding his audience. Gain a point for recognizing the lead baloon answer and trying to correct it...experienced debaters and candidates have trouble with that even.
Knoblach-- +5. 'should we subsidize oil companies during their bad years?"; [the last person on a question should be able to hit home runs like this regularly...awesome debate execution!!]; why are the prices high? regulations. perfect answers, perfect usage of speaker position and perfect delivery (he answered last on this question)
Krinkie-- +2. Good answer, though this question was in his wheelhouse and he should have knocked this one out of the park like on the last answer. For that missed opportunity I took off a point. I also took off a point because of the failed joke attempt. The joke did not go well in the crowd.

Renew No Child Left Behind:
Bachmann-- +1. Kept calling Profiles of Learning a federal program, took off a point for that. should have been more since she should have known better--she was instrumental in killing profiles. for touting her role in the ending of profiles I gave her a point. Local control was a great answer. Again, delivery was poor...good answer lost in a convoluded answer. Also called the education system a good one. eeks.
Esmay-- +3. love the simple (and correct) answer. Good example/shot at school boards. Federalist answer (though for some reason caused a lot of fidgeting in the crowd).
Knoblach-- +4. don't have a great system...only looks good compared to other states but is failing students. Big points for that. Called for federalist approach. Points for that. stop the unfunded mandates.
Krinkie-- +4. answered the unfunded mandate whine very well. anti-nationalist approach (good) but not federalist. says education is not responsibility of feds, but instead of the parents. agree, but how do you do it?

What one Republican principle will you not betray:
Bachmann-- +0. Commitment to life. finally a direct answer. for that I gave a point. I do not agree with the answer (pro-life as #1 priority as legislator) and I think this COULD have a negative effect on electability in the general election.
Esmay-- +4. Sleep. Congratulations Jay Esmay for winning the hard-to-win award for Making Humor Make Your Point! Very good execution! It took this long to take advantage of being the 4th speaker but you did take advantage of it.
Knoblach-- -1. Commitment to life. I do not agree with the answer (pro-life as #1 priority as legislator) and I think this COULD have a negative effect on electability in the general election...hence the loss of a point. Also gave the explanation of voting for the Health Impact Fee Tax. Since he directly called it a tax the forthright answer gains a point. Loss of a point for waiting this long to explain that position.
Krinkie-- +2. Didn't say "commitment to life" is the #1 priority (plus a few points)...but did cave to the intolerance of the GOP on this issue (loss of a point). "Never promise my vote to someone else." Scoring this is a wash because he kind of does promise to get 100% anti-tax scores.

Closing statements:
Bachmann-- 0. Lost a few points for the "girl in a pink suit" crap. Gaind a few points for giving a great speech about losing freedoms if we aren't careful...and again talked too much beyond the good part. "i will have a titanium spine". As a fiscal conservative I just don't buy this anymore. The answers throughout the forum were mushy/hedging--not the stuff of a "titanium spine".
Esmay-- 0. Good clear statement which I could get behind. Did the coattails thing again (I'm an outsider like Kline, Kennedy,...Wellstone (pa-tooey))...yep, mentioned Wellstone (pa-tooey). That alone dropped him 3 points. Another one for even comparing himself. If you have a comparison to Wellstone (pa-tooey) as a positive I have to think hard about you as a candidate. Especially since your point was that you are not in a re-election mentality as an outsider and Wellstone (pa-tooey) broke his pledge about his own term limits.
Knoblach-- +2. Electable conservative that gets things done. True. May be the perfect balance of practicality vs dogmatism.
Krinkie-- +1. Took advantage of being last again and did well with it. Mentioned everyone has great ideas but neglects the fact that they cannot do anything without winning. Loses points for not hammering his message (fiscal responsibility) and claiming to be optimistic by saying everone else is pessimistic.

Intangibles up to this point:
Bachmann-- +2 Fairly responsive to our show's requests; Came on for our Next Big Thing appearance
Esmay-- +1 Mostly responsive to our show's requests
Knoblach-- +1 Mostly responsive to our show's requests
Krinkie-- +2 Came into the studio for our interview; very responsive campaign to our show's requests

Intangibles that will be considered: These are not candidate specific. Somethings that will be important to me are:
* How the candidates behave both in hostile audiences and friendly audiences (one candidate is falling behind in this area). To me this is a big factor because the winner of this race will be constantly in the middle of hostile audiences.
* How the candidates behave with hostile media. Same reasons as above.
* How the candidates treat our show. This includes things from coming in vs. phoning in interviews, how easily accessible the candidates are, etc.

Candidate will be getting HUGE deduction in score

On the show we will be having a non-political event on Feb 26th. (Location will be announced later.) It will be a remote broadcast...an excellent meet & greet for the candidates a mere 9 days before the caucuses. We have given the candidates the details and ONE (who shall remain nameless for the time being) lost big points at the forum with me for their response. We are talking about an event 3 1/2 months in advance and the candidate said:
"Sundays are bad...how about a different day."
"Well we broadcast on Sundays."
"Can you do the event on a different day and rebroadcast it?"
"Can I call in instead?"
"No, that would not work well with the format and the other candidates have already committed to being in attendance."
"Sundays are very bad. I don't know if I can make it."
"That is up to you. I'm only giving you the invitation."
"Sundays are very bad" and then walked away.

This hit me badly in a number of ways. As a candidate this showed me that they were (1) not willing to campaign full time, (2) willing to pass opportunities for live press time in areas of the district that may be unfamiliar with the candidate, (3) inflexibility to handle a schedule 3 1/2 months out in a world (campaigns & politics) where flexibility even a few days out are required. This is NOT the first time the candidate has shown an attitude towards a delegate or district official of being inconvenienced by such small people.

When I finally decide on my support for a candidate this will affect their score big: I think by 8 or 10 points. I will not add this into their score publicly yet, but in my mind the field of canidates is already narrowed down to 3. Why is this so important? Inaccessibility to a candidate for a delegate is inexcusable and does not give promise to accessibility as a constituent if the candidate is elected. Lack of accessibility is a lack of accountability.


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