Thursday, October 05, 2006


One of my favorite political analysts, Alexander K. McClure, watched the Ed Rendell vs. Lynn Swann debate last night. Alex is calling it a clear win for Lynn Swann. Here’s some of the specifics from Alex’s post:

On the school shooting in Lancaster County: Rendell talked about measures putting more police on the street and drug dealers. What does putting more police on the street have to do with gun violence in schools? Was the person who shot the school up a drug dealer? A few minutes later Swann pounced on Rendell’s answer, noting that his answer had nothing to do with violence in schools.

SATs: Pennsylvania’s SAT scores are behind those of the neighboring state. Rendell did a classic Fast Eddie and said that more Pennsylvania seniors take them than across the nation. We’re not comparing PA to Mississippi Eddie. We’re comparing it to New Jersey. As for Rendell’s pledge to hand out laptops, Swann handled it with all the grace (”poetry in motion”) he brought to the football field - what good is the computer, he asked, if they can’t read?

Closing Argument: Rendell came across as a classic liberal, a rather bizarre move for a debate being held in conservative Southwestern Pennsylvanian. He made the same old pledges he made in 2002 - smaller class size, all-day kindergarden. Rendell was reading off notes too. So much for being the brighter candidate in the race.

Swann came across in his closing statement as a reform conservative. He hit on the issue of doctors leaving the state, a huge issue in Pennsylvania, one not touched upon in the debate.

Frankly, I expect that people saw Rendell as a tired political hack who blamed everyone except himself for his failures. I also think that peoples’ first impression of Mr. Swann was that of an energetic, charismatic leader who would lead people to a better Pennsylvanians. I also think they see the difference between a leader and a politician.

If alot of people were watching, I can’t see how this debate didn’t turn the momentum in Swann’s favor in a big way.

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