PHILADELPHIA — I sat down and settled in to watch the final Dan Onorato vs. Tom Corbett debate from Monday night with great interest. This has been one of the more hotly contested races in the nation and is the key to the future of Pennsylvania. As a registered Democrat, I naturally lean in the direction of Onorato; however, I believe that I am fair enough to admit the better candidate based on personal character and policy. This is something that is becoming more difficult in the current election with vicious attack ads, outright misinformation and media frenzy clouding the issues.
Several things do stand out, however.
The Big Questions
First, with all of the media heat and atmosphere of desperation, I expected the debate to be a little more, well, intense. It was far more muted that I would have thought. In the aftermath of the debate, both candidates where asked, naturally, who they thought won. Corbett said that he thought everyone won the debate and Onorato said that no one will know until the election is over. Onorato’s opinion is honest and direct.
On the other hand, Corbett sounds like a salesman trying to sound sincere and profound. When Onorato made the claim that Corbett has done a “double take” on taxes, Corbett did not respond, but is running on a tax platform; his one big message being the reduction of taxes. This is not only “not new,” but it seems to be the only message that any Republican at any time has ever focused on. What is he selling and why, when questioned about his apparent inconsistencies on the subject, was he silent?
…there were no taxes at all? Well, there would be no government, which means the country would be run by the corporations and the wealthy-simply because they “can.” The Republicans seem to be pitching that this scenario might solve all of “our” problems; it would certainly solve “their” problems.
No government means no regulation, protection, and, most of all, no recourse-every man for themselves. Oh, yeah — no social welfare system, either. Not that we have one now, but if corporations and the wealthy had their way, the food stamps and TANF many Philadelphian families rely on would be cut completely because they do not want to pay for it.
Onorato talks of what government should do, how government (the people) should deal with the problems we face. Corbett says that the solution is to reduce government control of the country and allow the wealthy to run things. Give the country back to the king after fighting so hard to get rid of him? At least Onorato’s message involves what will be done, something, anything — but not “nothing.”
In this case, based on issues at hand, in my opinion, there was no clear winner in the last debate. As to character, both men are reasonably well received, but the manner in which Corbett presents himself and the overall message strikes me as being too salesman-like. It also seems that what is being sold is “…look, it won’t work so you might as well vote for me and we can go back to yesterday.” While Onorato does not inspire me with “Kennedy-like” enthusiasm, I believe that he is the better candidate at this point.
In watching the two men debate, what I heard was one saying “We can solve our problems, let’s try….” and the other saying “You are wasting your time, let’s just go back to the way things were.” Lowering taxes is just too old a pitch, and sounds like an everyday boardwalk pitchman selling kitchen knives. I thing that the candidate who is running for government should win, not the one running to close government down.