I watched the gubernatorial debate last night sponsored by WBZ. The format of the debate worked well and Jon Keller did a good job as moderator. Over the one hour the candidates covered many issues with “money, or lack of” being the most important.
Here are some of my general impressions about each candidate…
Democrat Deval Patrick hasn’t lost his ability to express himself clearly and confidently. He IS the Governor and he came across that way. But at times I thought Patrick backed himself into a corner trying to convey the message that things are getting better and the state is on the road to recovery. Whether this is true or not doesn’t matter. It is going to be difficult to sell “optimism” right now to the average guy whose house has lost 30% of its value recently.
Republican Charlie Baker had a better command of the issues than I expected. He fired most of his barbs directly at Patrick with side zingers toward Cahill. Being continuously on the attack has its problems and it showed. In my opinion Baker came across a little flippant and nasty. And it is obvious from last night that his opponents see the Big Dig as Baker’s Achilles heel.
I thought Independent Tim Cahill underperformed in this debate, so much so that I wondered at times if it was part of his strategy. On many issues Cahill was happy to let Baker and Patrick battle it out then simply state that he is the alternative to this. Patrick gave Cahill an easy ride for most of the night, but Baker had not problem throwing Cahill’s own words in his face. The sharpest moment came when Baker made the Treasurer address his statement that patronage is part of the culture on Beacon Hill.
Finally I remember listening to Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein debate eight years ago when she first ran for Governor. I thought she did an excellent job back then. But truthfully Stein didn’t live up to my expectations last night. She seemed off target. Health care dominated her discussion as she called for reform…over and over.
Did anyone win this debate? Not in my opinion.