Earlier this evening, the three candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate appeared at a forum televised on Phoenix channel 3 (KTVK). (Video of tonight's forum, as well as last week's Democratic forum, can be found here)
I wasn't going to write about it as I figure the R bloggers in AZ will do that (figure Sonoran Alliance will annoint Hayworth the hands-down winner, Political Mafioso will do the same for McCain, and somebody will declare Deakin to be the "future of the Republican Party" or some such tripe), but I'm sitting through one of the ugliest innings that I have ever seen as the DBacks mail it in against the Padres,
As such, I have the time for a few comments.
First, the summary:
Candidate 1: You support amnesty/earmarks/big government! I'm the *real* conservative!
Candidate 2: I'm rubber and you're glue! Everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you!
Candidate 3: At least you both agree with me on that.
Seriously, this was less a candidate forum and more a remake of an 80s slasher flick - they were cutting at each other from the word go. Hayworth and McCain spent no time telling what they would do to serve Arizona and its residents. Neither did Deakin, but he was almost an afterthought as McCain and Hayworth spent the hour launching haymakers at each other.
McCain and Hayworth made it obvious from the beginning that participating in the forum wasn't one of the ir priorities.
Frequently, the answers they gave had very little or nothing to do with the questions asked and a lot to do with criticizing the other.
Hayworth dropped names, citing endorsements from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, and other nativist individuals and organizations.
McCain didn't mention people so much as run down the list of big corporations that he will aid if he is re-elected. (trolling for campaign cash?)
Deakin tended vacillate between "stop Obama" and "restore constitutional government!" He may have dropped some names, but by the time the third question was asked I was tuning out the responses. I kept an eye on the screen waiting/hoping that one of the candidates would jump across the lectern trying to throttle one of the others.
It didn't happen, but I kept hoping for a popcorn moment. :))
Anyway, the big winner(s) of Friday's debate had to be the Democratic candidates.
They were far from perfect during their debate, but they focused on the issues facing the state and the country while avoiding personal attacks.
Whichever one is the eventual nominee can point to their performance and compare it to the Republican nominee's.
And no matter who the eventual nominees are, the D will come off as the candidate who is more professional, mature, and concerned for Arizona.