I rarely agree with Jeff Hoover on anything. He’s a conservative Republican and I’m a progressive Democrat, so the odds of us supporting the same programs and policies are usually somewhere between Slim and None.
Those odds got a little shorter over the weekend, though, when I found myself reading his editorial in the C-J and nodding my head Yes. Here’s what we agreed about:
Having six issue-driven debates as part of this year’s governor’s race … AND, forming a Debate Commission to over see the process.
Hoover notes that John David Dyche came up with the idea for the six debates, one in each congressional district. I love the idea — it takes the race to the people in a structured manner, ensuring that a candidate can’t skip an area of the state or only show up for friendly gatherings.
But a Debate Commission for the state? If structured properly and run fairly, this is even better. Make the process repeatable, fair, and well-run. Perhaps have debates between the other offices, as well. Record the debates and make them available via YouTube and social media. Cut through the fog of mud-slinging and money-driven campaigning, and get down to some real discussion on issues.
You’ll still have the candidates to deal with: for most, the goal will be to be as innocuous and vanilla as possible. And, for many voters, debates can turn into athletic events, where everyone is worried about who “won” rather than who made sense.
Doesn’t matter. Debates put the focus back on issues and policies and programs and details. Properly structured, they can be a great way to lay out the real differences between the parties and between the political philosophies. (Or expose the similarities and “me-too” approach too often seen.) This is a solid idea, and I hope it gets done and done right.
Representative Hoover, you done good.
What about you? Thoughts on the debate proposals, or on the governor’s race? Add your thoughts in the comments!