If Halloween weekend’s Georgia Governor debates are of any importance, I would have to say that Georgia voters are just as confused or perhaps even more confused as ever. Because I write about Georgia politics often, I watched the debate marathon over the trick or treating holiday. There were three debates and mostly contained the usual rhetoric and ideas.
Former Governor Roy Barnes, Democrat, made me laugh with his quick-on-the-draw Southern slang. Republican Nathan Deal became a little hot under the collar and defensive. Libertarian John Monds spoke with his usual pie in the sky idealism, and then most likely alienated 95% of the Georgia population when he spoke of his desire to legalize marijuana. There were a few nuggets that came out in the debates that I did not already know or had heard countless times. Here is a rundown of the three debates.
The WSB-TV Governor’s Debate
This was the first of the political triathlons and was held on Saturday, October 30 at 12:30 p.m. Fortunately, all three of the debates happened around general mealtimes, so that made it convenient to tune in. While we ate a quick lunch, we watched the sparring between Deal and Barnes take place immediately. Little was accomplished in this debate.
The FOX Atlanta Governor’s Debate
The second debate took place on Saturday, October 30 at 5:00 pm. By this point, we had a few guests over to celebrate Halloween in a low-key manner with a little candy and homemade chili, so since politics is always a crowd friendly event, we tuned in. I have to say that I learned more about the issues in this debate than the other two combined. The candidates appeared less argumentative and insults were not being hurled back and forth between Deal and Barnes. Perhaps they were just tired from the previous one at lunch.
There is a lot of discussion on how to improve education in this state, an issue that directly influences our vote. They promise to do a lot, but there is not as much input on exactly how they are going to pay for it. As a mother of an advanced learner who skipped a grade and now is homeschooling due to the fact of that my child was still bored, my ears perked up when I heard Nathan Deal describe a program he would like to implement. This was the first I had heard of this throughout the long campaign. So I went back and looked at his website. He has one line to “allow students to advance immediately upon mastery of current content.”
He explained it well during the small time he was allotted. Deal proposes that if students have completed and know everything at their grade level, they should be moved on into the next grade level at the middle of the year. This would be a godsend for parents like us. We had to fight tooth and nail to skip our son due to academic concerns. This is so desperately needed for the hundreds of children who are not being challenged in the current school environment. I just wish Deal had spent more time during the campaign talking about this instead of the fact that he helped his wife grade papers.
The Georgia Public Television Governor’s Debate
After the more intelligent debate of Saturday evening, the sparring became the norm again on Halloween Day. This debate was held at 7:00 pm on Sunday night. Roy Barnes dipped into some hot water about an event that happened two decades earlier, and pulled out a newspaper article to accuse Deal of being rude back then. I absolutely thought this was ridiculous and he was promptly reminded by the debate moderator that no props were allowed.
This debate actually showed Barnes on the defensive about being a trial lawyer and actually answering accusations there. As far as I could hear, no new information was supplied. We shall know on Tuesday. Did the debates cause anyone to switch sides or influence the undecided one way or the other? Did Roy Barnes close the gap? I heard little to change anyone’s opinion.
Sources: Roy Barnes for Governor, Nathan Deal for Governor