The Senate debate: amateur hour

The four Republican Senate candidates who debated on Idaho Public Television Thursday night pitched themselves as an alternative to the career politician.

Then they went out and demonstrated their amateur status. For 60 minutes, they pretty much gave a pass to the front-runner and the one professional candidate in the GOP field — Lt. Gov. Jim Risch.

The first question out of the box was about Risch, a no-show at Thursday night's debate. All four candidates failed to seize the opening.

None of the candidates brought up the centerpiece of Risch's pedestrian campaign for the GOP nomination — the property-tax bill he engineered as governor two years ago. Risch's rivals are slamming the property tax relief and the sales tax increase that went with it (click here for our story). They somehow failed to bring it up during a statewide debate five days before the primary.

Only Fred Adams, a Senate candidate from Idaho Falls, had a clue about what a candidate ought to do when the front-runner isn't on hand to defend himself. You go on the attack.

Adams criticized the fact that top Republicans have closed ranks around Risch, saying this prompted his run. In his closing remarks, he slammed Risch for refusing to participate in a live, televised debate because he wants to duck the tough questions. "Risch is simply another lifetime politician."

Give Adams points for pluck.

As I've said, Risch's decision to shop for a friendly debate — opting only for the pre-taped pseudo-debate orchestrated by KTVB — was disappointing. And he ought to be embarrassed by his lame stated explanation: concerns over the Public Television format.

But considering the way Thursday's debate unfolded, Risch probably won't pay for his duck-and-cover politics.

The general election field is likely to include two eager Risch antagonists, Democrat Larry LaRocco and independent Rex Rammell. My guess is they will be much less forgiving.

To watch Thursday's debate online, and see the post-debate analysis, click here.

"You go on the attack."

Yes, KR that is what we have always seen in the past. But we cannot simultaneously call for a new style, issues-oriented candidate and issues politics and then wonder why they didn't trash their opponent.

The debate should be about them and their views, not about the other guy. This is one of the huge distinctions between Senators Clinton and Obama. He has generally taken the high road and shown that he can be different - that is refreshing; while Clinton is the worst of politics as usual.

Risch should have been there, but he will not be embarrased for his absence. The others however were not amateurs for keeping their guns hostered. They may lose but they showed promise of better politics to come, and maybe earned a few votes for their courage in so doing.

The debate should be about

The debate should be about them and their views, not about the other guy
how about the other guy's views. And one of Risch's views seems to be he need not spend it time at that debate.

Can't really blame him though given the low performance of his opponents.

It's obvious this is a Risch vs. LaRocco contest. And a LOT of R are going to vote for LaRocco. If nothing else the other R candidates could be helping out LaRocco.

UP said it better than I was gonna.

It woulda been like watching folks eat.

Well I just saw a couple of minutes

But in those minutes they revealed themselves to be absolutely clueless about the U.S. Constitution. One of them suggested that the states should have the ability to regulate immigrants entering the state of Idaho. Pathetic.

So are the current bunch of idiots still better than the noobs?

I'm very afraid the answer is likely YES.

What we deserve

When we call good people who mean well "idiots" and "noobs" why would we deserve better?

Because there are too many people you can't count on...

when you can't sit on top and track stuff and get your own work done at home.

I have been stonewalled for weeks waiting for people to do things I asked or paid for and they could have picked up--seven weeks later and even though they were in Boise regularly on business.

All I wanted to do was get a better CAMERA so I could provide pictures for sale items on Craigslist, to a friend in overseas who might buy a 1942 radio chassis and cabinet and needed to tell me how to ship the cabinet via APO/FPO and to a friend out east who is trying to help me fix old favorite receiver. Seven weeks, and I was GIVEN a classic nine hole rear bike rack for my bike.

So if I have PMS it stands for Pretty Mad Schwinn owner. Being run roughshod over a lot is eating me.

Both Questions & Answers Were Exceedingly Bad

The candidates were pathetic. I recorded it so I could watch it again, just to see if it was as bad as I thought it was. It was...

The questions were as softball as they come. Basically giving each candidate a chance to say whatever it was they wanted. The answers were what you would expect from a bunch of Republicans in denial. Hardly an original thought was given. Everything was recycled from Bush's 2000 campaign, or worse fragmented thoughts. Beyond a glim understanding of the philosophy, most ran out of Real Estate really quick. There were no pioneering, or even ideas filled with the kind of wisdom one would expect from a Senator.

Worse than that for me were the answers given about the last question. About Idaho's schools being ranked in the bottom with spending being rated at second to last in the U.S. , at around $6k per child. "That's a state problem!" was the most common answer, followed up by "It isn't how much you spend, but the quality of the educational system" and then my personal favorite, "There's nothing wrong with the Idaho legislature." (We cried.)

Idaho desperately needs fixing. Teachers are grossly underpaid and leaving at the end of this school year. Schools are plagued with lead and problems from mining years gone by. Health care is scary in Idaho. One clinic in the Silver Valley is run by nurse practitioners with no doctors. (Which I doubt is legal.) There is NO affordable housing in North of Idaho. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is constantly preoccupied with funding and costs, rather than actually helping people with honest needs. (You pretty much need a lawyer and proof of death before they sue you after not really helping you.) Then there are the roads in Idaho that so very desperately need fixing. The legislature keeps robbing from the annual tax funds to put money in the one time funds so they can steal from that account. Oh and then there is the $1 billion in tax breaks given to everyone and anyone who contributes into their life long political careers. Some honest dialogue about these issues would have at least given us some hope that they have the leadership required to fix these severe Idaho problems.

Giving answers to these problems and tying them into the Federal Legislature would have been nice. When my daughter was in 1st grade she gave more effort into her homework!

Idaho is saddled with monumentally stupid and corrupt career politicians. Democrat, or Republican doesn't matter, they need to be gone!

"...they need to be gone."

Exactly how many of these debaters are incumbent Idaho U.S. Senators? How can they need to be gone when they are not yet there?

Idaho's public K12 education is above the national average in graduation rates and test scores, and below the national average in cost per pupil. Those are good things. And the cost of $6K per year is more than tuition at BSU.

Republicans are not in denial because they don't have "original" thoughts. They (we) are conservatives, believing that many answers are already available they just need to be used. Strong family, strong national defense, lower taxes, pro-business - not original ideas but still the foundation of GOP belief. You may disagree with their positions, but don't be surprised that Republicans are not trying to reinvent the U.S. We tend to prefer many of the old original ideas to the new ones.

Expect to die without an answer...

barring some stupid revolution as such was the plot of 1,000,000 bad movies.