Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Debate: It's Ford by a Head

Just a quick post on the first debate between Harold Ford, Jr. and Bob Corker in the TN race for US Senate. No real surpises, but Ford won.

As I've said before in an earlier post, these are both good candidates. Corker is smart, qualified, and a responsible moderate at heart. He's not your standard-issue, big spending, warmongering, child-molesting Republican. He generally acquitted himself with poise and dignity in this debate. There was a lot of shameless pandering, of course--especially on immigration, for example. But both sides did it, and we musn't forget that this is a debate after all, so pandering is par for the course.

Two major points of interest, one substantive, one superficial. I'm not sure which will matter more. First, as for substance, both men came across well. Their strategies, however, were exactly opposite. Corker started off with a statement about who he was and where he was from. He sounded like he was running for mayor of Chattanooga, which he's already been. Ford, by contrast, skipped the usual bio and went straight after foreign policy: Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. North Korea. Iraq. He wanted the audience to know that he's thinking BIG. This is a national election. If you want business as usual, if you want to "stay the course," just vote for Corker. Ford took every opportunity to remind people that Corker was a Republican and that they had controlled every branch of government for the last several years. Party was an issue, and Corker never made a serious effort to show his independence from the GOP in Congress or the White House.

Second, Ford's strategy reinforced the superficial visual difference between the two. Ford looked a head taller and much more statesmanlike. As a not especially tall man myself, I feel bad for Corker on this one. But the height disparity really seemed to highlight the greater forcefullness of Ford. And Ford kept using terms like "shortcomings" and "big differences" to give viewers subtle reminders. I'm sure it was intentional.

Corker made a couple of big attacks, but Ford parried them with ease. Given the recent momentum of this race toward Ford, Corker needed to land a few solid blows. I didn't see any.


At 9:20 PM, Blogger Number Three said...

Isn't Corker like, five foot nuthin'? I mean, I'm not one to mock the vertically challenged, but I think I could take Corker in a one-on-one.

Does Corker stand on a box for the debate, or does Ford just tower over hizzoner?

Always one to drag these things back into the gutter.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Frankly, Corker looked like a midget. Ford's not that tall--my guess is he's no taller that 6 foot, and probably not that, but Corker barely makes it to Ford's shoulder. If I had to bet, I'd say he's shorter than #3.

At 11:09 PM, Blogger Scott McD said...

NPR's "All Things Considered" did a feature story on the Ford-Corker race:



Post a Comment

<< Home