DAVID ROSMAN: Debate fails to clear up questions about Missouri candidates

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:45 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 27, 2012

8:30 a.m. Sept. 21: I was surrounded by business suits and sport jackets. Me? Dress for success — jeans, sneakers and Hawaiian shirt. Shoulda’ worn my ostrich-print western boots. Really.

The event was the 2012 Missouri Press Association’s gubernatorial and Senate debates. I was surrounded by GOPers, tea partiers and a large contingent of Democrats just behind me.

I went to listen to David Spence. I have read his website and listened to his commercials but do not know who he is. I wanted to see if my perception was right.

Todd Akin was also of interest. I have read his congressional records, so I know some of his political positions. His six seconds of shame? Already made up my mind.

To my delight, the Libertarians were represented; Jim Higgins for governor and Jonathan Dine for Senate.

Claire McCaskill and Gov. Jay Nixon are well-known entities in mid-Missouri. Too well known? Maybe not.

I felt sorry for Libertarian Higgins. Jeff Bajayo, a fellow New Yorker, MU student, new to the political scene and Spence supporter, graced me with his insight (after I asked). Higgins could not be a serious candidate. I concurred; Higgins was out of his league.

His lack of direction and knowledge was painful. He and his campaign website said more about the Libertarian Party than the candidate. His major endorser? His daughter. My endorsements come from Loki the crazed cockatiel.

(Jim, I’m available but with six weeks left, I charge the equivalent of the gross national product of Guatemala.)

Young Bajayo also noted that there were a lot of numbers being thrown around, and none seemed to agree. I again concurred. The solution? Educate voters. How? That’s the $640,000 question. Inflation.

Spence spent too much time beating down Nixon but did not provide real solutions for these “Nixon-created” problems except more jobs. But how will you create more jobs, Mr. Spence? By lowering taxes? I suggest Economics 101.

Spence: “It is our God-given right” to own guns. Really? I have read the Torah, Bible and Quran, and there is no mention of firearms. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. And I am a Second Amendment proponent.

Spence, Higgins and Dine have no a clue how government works. Here is a hint gentlemen, business is a dictatorship. You say, employees do or get fired (or in front of a firing squad).

To borrow from New Hampshire: compromise or die. Our government is management by committee. One person, senator or governor cannot change anything on his or her own. Really.

Most practiced was “Do not answer the question asked.” This is a very political methodology — screw the question, let me get to my speaking points.

Entertainment continued when Spence and Dine said that they are not politicians but businessmen. I wonder if they listen to their own rhetoric, which was as political and as “do not answer the question asked” as the three politicians on the stage. Get a clue; if elected, you are a politician. One of “them.”

When the senatorial candidates were asked about America’s obesity problem, I laughed. Dine, contrary to Libertarian thinking, said a tax credit for joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer is the answer. The problems: 1) Not everyone can afford either or both, and 2) Dine is a personal trainer. Does “self -serving” mean anything?

Years back, I was campaign adviser for a Libertarian statewide candidate. I can say, without reservations, the party needs better candidates.

The overused phrase of the morn, “common sense,” as in “Our legislature needs more common sense.” Gentlemen and madam, common sense comes after decisions are made, actions are taken, and things settle down and are examined. It’s called “20/20 hindsight.”

Nixon and Spence, Akin and McCaskill were at their best; great projection, passion and ethic… maybe not ethical. There was just much too much finger pointing, political BS and practiced “do not answer the question asked.”

I heard nothing new, nothing to change minds, and nothing that would cause that stampede to the polls on Nov. 6.

The debates were just good, wholesome family entertainment.

I praise the Missouri Press Association for its efforts and the debates. I only hoped the candidates held themselves to a higher standard. Like answering the questions asked.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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