All three candidates wore suits this time, I guess Casey got the memo that Thurston Howell attire of a navy blazer and khakis is not appropriate for a fucking Senate debate. However, he did not get the memo that he has a huge unibrow. Sorry, but it's just there, I couldn't stop myself from gawking. It's just as distracting as Peter Gallagher's pair of caterpillars, but not as heavy, but only one continuous line. The opening statements started off with Chuck Pennacchio who corrected the moderator's pronunciation of his name. She was saying it with a soft "ch" sound as in "change" instead of the hard "cc" as in the end sound of "clock". She said she was told to not pronounce it like "Pinocchio" to which Chuck quipped back, "No, I'm not Pinocchio, that's the other guy [Sen. Man on Dog]" to a round of laughter from the crowd. Chuck got the center podium, he looked very comfortable even though he was a little under the weather.
Bob started off by saying that he wanted to earn our votes. This is quite different than the Rendell-Reid-Schumer triangle of "VOTE FOR HIM OR WE WILL KILL YOU" method they've been playing to date. I can't think of a single thing that Casey has done on the campaign trail to earn a single vote other than declare himself a Democrat. He came out for the nominations of SCOTUS nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito. He said that he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. He said that we should stay the course in Iraq and keep the nuclear option on the table for Iran. He turned down numerous opportunities to debate in the Philly metro area, home of a third of the voters in the state... If that's "earning" a vote, then I should've "earned" a raise of $1M since I go to work everyday and work. Hearing him live in person for the first time definitely showed me just how boring he is. His voice is upper nasaly and he sounds like he's got a mute on, his voice is muffled. Anyone who has taken a public speaking 101 class or speech class in high school or, say, watched TV every knows that you can't just talk in a monotonous voice. It just puts people to sleep. Casey's good at that; putting people to sleep with his "stances" and when you add in his delivery, you've got Candidate NyQuil.
Alan sounded particulary whiny tonight. Which is better than his normal monotonous tone. Nice guy, I've met and spoken to/with him several times, just not a lively guy. He was much livelier tonight though jumping on Casey for not wanting to rebroadcast the debate to make it more available and for not wanting to debate again in Philadelphia and Harrisburg; he got a round of applause for that, we all wanted more debates.
The debate was moderated by NBC local affiliate WGAL8 co-anchor Janelle Stelson [pictured above speaking with Chuck after the debate] who brought some personality to the moderator position. She was more than a person just reading questions. During the opening statments, she quipped in with a little personal comment to each candidate and interjected between questions with follow ups outside of the alotted time when appropriate.
The first question of the night asked the candidates what their first three pieces of legislation would be. Alan was up first and stressed addressing the problem of global warming to which he said that Congresses in the past had passed up crucial opportunities to help the environment; pensions, with too many corporations getting through too many loopholes in escaping payments; elderly working program where people sixty-three and older, if they were to choose to stay in the workforce, would receive untaxed wages/salaries as long as they made under $30K. Chuck stressed universal healthcare to save $163 Billion by eliminating the overhead from private insurers; bilateral trade allowing fair trade instead of free trade and addressing the immigration issue; a living wage, he noted that 25% of Americans and Pennsylvanians are working and still in poverty and concurrently implementing a progressive tax on the top 2% having them pay 50% in taxes - under Ike, the tax rate on the same 2% was above 90% and that tax base helped establish the US as an economic superpower. Bob wanted early childhood education for four-year-olds; fiscal discipline; ethics reform where he railed on Sen. Man on Dog [speaking of ethics, Bob takes money from the same people as Man on Dog].
The fifth question of the night addressed Supreme Court (SCOTUS) appointments and whether or not one should have a test to determine how one should vote for a nominee and whether or not a filibuster is a proper procedural measure. Chuck started off by saying that the partisanship in the nomination process has been largely Republican as they have control of all three branches of government, they're the ones driving the partisanship. He noted that it was a sham to watch his Democratic colleagues "question" the recent SCOTUS nominees Roberts and Alito and that they took the non-answers as answers. He stressed that he would never ask for permission to filibuster from his Democratic collegues; he would simply filibuster and he would've filibustered the Alito nomination. Bob said that he is against getting rid of the filibuster completely, but that he felt that Alito's testimony was truthful and straightforward. Was he watching the same hearing as I was? He said that there should not exist a litmus test, but a consideration of a nominee's character, experience, judicial temperment and judicial philosophy. I'd say that Alito's a pretty shitty choice based on that, but then again, it seems as if we watched different hearings. Alan had been sounding more and more like he was advertising his firm than simply relating issues to him being a practicing pension lawyer running a small business. He asked about the individual litmus tests on choice, civil rights, labor, environment, womens rights - Alito fails all of those litmus tests [touché!].