HOW DO WE DEFINE INSANITY?

The complete video of the May 25th debate between Virginia’s four Republican senate candidates is nowhere to be found yet. However, I did find a copy of the May 11th debate at Virginia Beach. The video is from E. W. Jackson’s youtube website. Jackson admits the quality is not great. Nonetheless, the quality is good enough, and no one else made any effort to provide the complete video of the debate. Why? I can only speculate.

  • The candidates that think the video would help them either lack the funds and the time to post a quality video
  • The candidates that do have the funds to post a complete video think posting a complete video helps their opponents more than it helps them.

Why did I choose “HOW DO WE DEFINE INSANITY?” as the title for this post? When Jamie Radtke provided her closing remarks, she quoted the definition of insanity. Here is the definition.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. — Albert Einstein

During the debate, Radtke made a point of attacking George Allen’s record.  Radtke objected to the possibility that we might elect Allen, someone she clearly considers the sort of career politician who made the mess in Washington that we have right now.

Is Allen the sort of career politician who made the mess in Washington that we have right now? Well, when he was in Washington, he definitely voted for things he should not have voted for, and during the debate Radtke cited some of those examples. So I doubt Allen is much interested in posting a complete video of the debate.  Nonetheless, I suspect most who listen to the debate will decide Radtke seriously weakened her argument by overstating her case.

On the other hand, E. W. Jackson avoided attacking his Republican opponents. Instead, he offered himself as the best qualified alternative to be our senate candidate. Jackson stressed his ability to carry to the Republican Party’s vision and to appeal to people who are not part of our movement, specifically Hispanics and Blacks. Without doubt, Jackson would have more appeal to such minorities than some. Nonetheless, I wish he had not made an issue of it. If I were going to vote for the man, it would be because I admire his character and think he is competent.

Jackson is admirable and competent. He certainly has more substantial experience than the guy we have in the White House. Nonetheless, in his closing, what he essentially asks is that we vote for him because of his oratorical skills. Given how similar his argument is to the one that got Obama in the White House, I doubt that argument will fly with very many Republicans.

I really do wish Radtke and Jackson had run either for Congress or positions in the General Assembly. As capable as both are, neither has the stature required to make a serious run for the U.S. Senate. Nonetheless, when we elected him, Jim Webb was not well known, and he had not served in elected office. So neither Radtke or Jackson can be blamed for asking for our votes.

George Allen for the most part ignored Radtke’s attacks and stayed on message. What message? Allen sounded like a Conservative. His record, however, is not entirely consistent with Conservatism. Hence Radtke’s criticism. Allen asked us to consider what he would do for us in the future as our senator. What he has done or tried to do as our senator — that he did not talk about too much.

Bob Marshall focused on his record, stressing his accomplishments as a delegate in Virginia’s General Assembly. Considering that Allen actually was a senator for six years, I found it odd that Marshall can point to more substantive accomplishments as a delegate than Allen can as a U.S. senator.

Other Views

Bearing Drift provides this summary, Hampton Roads Republican US Senate Debate Summary. For me, here are the most important lines.

Delegate Bob Marshall was not as impressive or memorable in Hampton Roads as he was in Roanoke. Perhaps he just wasn’t as funny. He did have his share of one-liners (“By the grace of God, I have never been endorsed by the Washington Post”), but the majority of his responses consisted of well-prepared bulleted lists that contained a combination of experience and legislative strategy. To the politically astute and to those who recognize that procedure can be just as important as philosophy, Marshall’s answers were impressive; but to those who fawn over candidates for their artistry in speech rather than their science of parliament, these answers may have been lost on them. If there were no Seventeenth Amendment, Del. Marshall might lead the polls.

Virginia Right provided an even more detail report with this post, E.W. Jackson Wins Va Senate Debate – Jamie Radtke Marginalizes Her Campaign as the Far Right Fringe Candidate. For me, here are the most important lines.

Bob Marshall is undoubtedly the most knowledgeable of the minute details of an amazing number of bills and has been an effective legislator with enough foresight to pen the right bill at the right time to position Virginia in a way that makes federal intrusion into the Commonwealth fare more difficult on anything from ObamaCare to illegal immigration. The average voter, however, may fail to comprehend Bob Marshall and appreciate his technical prowess and “wonkish”  understanding of the art of governance. Still, for fans and supporters of Bob Marshall, his performance at the debate was solid and he did nothing to hurt his campaign.

For the sake of gaining readers, both reporters and bloggers love to stress drama. However, when we go into the polling booth, we are picking someone we want to protect our rights and spend our dough. The guy with the technical prowess and a “wonkish”  understanding of the art of governance may not have the best oratorical skills; he may not make the most wonderful promises (which he cannot deliver anyway), but if he is the best qualified fellow to protect our rights and spend our money wisely, he is the one to vote for.

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