A hilarious story just appeared on GateHouse News:
Rep. Stephen Lynch promised a debate with Mac Dâ€™Alessandro, his opponent in the primary election, and debate he shall.
For 15 minutes.
Lynch and Dâ€™Alessandro will film a debate Friday for WBZ-TV, with Jon Keller hosting. The 15-minute show will air on Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
Mac D’Alessandro has been asking to debate Lynch all through the campaign. It is a common strategy for secure incumbents to avoid debates against political newcomers. The reasoning is that the incumbent already has the name recognition. Debating just gives the challenger legitimacy. So why do it?
It looks bad for the incumbent of course. They end up looking like they aren’t taking the political process seriously and are not cooperating with a process meant to inform voters.
In a previous interview, GateHouse media pressed Lynch on if he would debate D’Alessandro – and he promised:
Weâ€™ll debate, Iâ€™m not sure itâ€™ll be four times. I would hope for more than one [debate].
It’s probably smart politics. Cynical insider politics.
Update: The debate is online now.
Debate Part I:Â http://mybmg.us/awuspM
Debate Part II:Â http://mybmg.us/ap8LF3
D’Alessandro has been critical of Lynch’s vote against health care reform and has been looking for an opportunity to ask him directly about that vote. The first half of this very short debate focuses on that question and Lynch was able to neutralize the criticisms to a large extent by saying that he supports health care reform, but that he didn’t support that particular version of the bill because it was in his opinion a giveaway to insurance companies. The back and forth between them goes into details of various bills and is instructive. D’Alessandro was not able to get the home run he needed.
But in the second half Lynch was able to turn the tables on D’Alessandro. When talking about the Wall Street bailout, Lynch says he voted against it. D’Alessandro counters that he should have voted for it. At that point Lynch goes after D’Alessandro, in one of the most combative exchanges:
Lynch: “So you stood with Wall Street. And you agree that they should have been able to pay Wall Street executives millions of dollars with tax payer money? That’s what was at stake here. Shame on you”.
D’Alessandro: “Saving our economy was at stake.”
Lynch: “Are you kidding me?”
D’Alessandro: “That was an irresponsible vote.”
These candidates were barely getting started when the forum ended. Voters really deserve to get a longer debate between these two candidates.