Tonight at 7:30pm, Cynthia McKinney finally showed up for a televised debate with challenger Hank Johnson as they prepare for the Democratic run-off election for the 4th Congressional District of Georgia. The winner of this election is almost guaranteed the winner of the general election in this overwhelmingly Democratic district.
The debate was simulcast on GPTV (Public Broadcasting) and C-SPAN. It was moderated by local Atlanta news people. If political hardball is your thing, then this was a real slugfest ... unfortunately, both politicians emerged only slightly bruised without a clear cut winner. If you are a McKinney supporter, you probably thought she won. If you are a Johnson supporter, you probably thought that he won. If you were undecided, I doubt that either candidate did anything to make you want to run out and vote on August 8th.
The robot-like Johnson jabbed continuously at McKinney's midsection with the following:
- Missing in Action: McKinney has missed a number of votes in Congress on matters that would have importance to the constituents in the 4th District.
- Desperation: McKinney is in a run-off election for her political life and she, in her desperation, will say or do anything!
- Doesn't Play With Others: Because of her shrill and bombastic manner, no one (neither Democrats nor Republicans) want anything to do with her and as a result, she is ineffectual in Congress.
- Outsiders' Money: Although, McKinney tried to portray Johnson as the recipient of lots of money from outside the state of Georgia, she basically conceded that the bulk of the money she has received for her campaign came from states like New York, California, and Nevada.
The bubbly McKinney counterpunched Johnson's flank with the following pablum:
- Tax Liens & Bankruptcy: Johnson admitted to some financial problems stemming from non-payment of taxes back in the 1980's, as a result he had to file for bankruptcy.
- Cozy with Republicans, Developers, and Landfill Operators: McKinney kept hammering away to the fact that Johnson has seeming strong Republican support, with campaign contributions from a former Republican Gubernatorial Candidate and large business owners; in addition, she kept punching away about him being cozy with "developers" and "landfill operators" who do business with DeKalb County.
- Too Quiet: McKinney speaks "Truth to Power" and she claims that Hank Johnson will go to Washington and keep his mouth shut, since he is going to be a lackey for the Republicans-in-Charge.
- Overdevelopment in DeKalb County: On Hank's watch, there was a massive sewage spill and a big water main break just last week in DeKalb County. Ms. McKinney attributed these problems to Hank Johnson being cozy with the Developers and allowing them to overdevelop the county
Each delivered some nice punches, but neither had the sustained coordinated effort needed to build the momentum for a knockout punch (it was like watching two bantam weights flail at each other for 3 rounds and then have the referee call it a draw). Each stayed firmly entrenched in their 3 or 4 talking points and rehearsed responses. The moderators couldn't even get much of a rise out of McKinney for her Capitol Hill incident (which Johnson never followed up on - it obviously wasn't on his notes). And no one can get a rise out of the robotic Hank Johnson, his responses were always monotoned, short on details, and replete with George W. Bush-like sound bites (maybe he is cozy with Republican speech writers).
Well, I already voted (last week)... and there was nothing offered tonight that would've made me switch my vote to Cynthia McKinney. In my opinion, they sputtered to a draw.