Sometimes two sets of good intentions collide. I can’t say enough good things about the Register Citizen’s 5th District coverage (which seems, ironically,to have crashed while I was writing this). It’s a noble effort and a must-bookmark for those of us who have Political Compulsion Disorder. It’s part of a larger effort by the Journal Register Citizen Register Citizen Journal Journal newspapers to do political coverage better, a rare thing here in the twilight of newspapers. There is currently a plan among post-newspaper cyborgs of the future to send one of their own backwards through time to kill Matt DeRienzo when he is a little boy. We must hope this does not happen.
Another of their good intentions is the notion of involving their readers in picking out questions for debates, which is how the same people who broke and covered-the-crap-out-of the Rowland-meddling-in-the-5th story were able to host a debate yesterday at which this topic was not mentioned. In some way I refuse to learn about, the readers were allowed to vote this topic out of existence.
The readers are not always right.
They think they want “substance” which to them means statements about taxes and jobs, but what that leads to, in most debates, is a lot of very empty posturing. Anybody who says anything real is immediately pecked to death by the other chickens. This is what happened to Roraback yesterday when he had the nerve to deviate from the tax Stalinism that passes for “debate” at a GOP gig. His proposal was actually thoughtful and a little closer to workable. His reward was a lot of screeching, feces-tossing and chest thumping from the other monkey house inmates. Anybody can jump up and down in a cage screaming “I’m more Rubio than thou.” It doesn’t make it true. This is not meaningful dialogue, although it does make me like Roraback a little more.
Meanwhile, the Rowland story is like one of those Agatha Christie novels in which everybody at the country house has some connection to the crime. There’s the willowy blonde whose husband was paying off the bad guy. There’s the sad Monkees haircut guy getting picked on. There’s the dogged, slightly plodding FBI agent who keeps saying the name of his town over and over like an incantation. There’s the edgy right wing dog shelter millionaire who put the kibosh on a deal with the bad guy. And there’s Justin Bernier who, by crime novel logic, must have done something really terrible because he’s the only person not easily connected to the Rowland nexus.
So they should have ignored the readers, at least for ten percent of the time, and asked the Rowland questions. Debates aren’t really debates. I mean, nobody really debates at debates. Candidates don’t honestly engage around the issues. They just ram their pre-scripted talking points into any available crevice. You learn more about them when you drag them where they don’t want to go.
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