What I found so disappointing about the recent debate between Matt Doheny and Elise Stefanik was the sameness of their positions, their almost religious fervor for Republican principles and their apparent inability to stray at all from the national party’s talking points.
Neither mentioned compromise. Neither talked about consensus to get the country moving.
And worst of all was their inability to answer direct questions.
I suspect my expectations were too high. After all, they are going head to head in the Republican primary on June 24 and the goal is to convince voters they are the purest conservative candidate on the ballot.
They hold almost identical viewpoints on repealing Obamacare, immigration, opposition to the Paul Ryan budget and the importance of Fort Drum.
The most heated exchanges reverberated around who lived where, for how long, and who is the true North Country native.
Does it really matter where they went to high school at this point?
I’m looking for someone who has the brains to understand the complexities of the federal government, the willpower to battle for what is right for all Americans and the guts to stand up to the leaders in their party and say “enough is enough.”
You can’t say Washington is broken while being in lockstep with current party principles and showing no willingness to compromise on anything.
There is no indication either candidate is that person.
If you are looking for a true star in the debate, it was moderator Liz Benjamin, the former newspaper columnist who now hosts the show “Capital Tonight” in Albany.
Benjamin tried repeatedly to pin both candidates down on the issue of taxes. Faced with shutting down the government or raising taxes, she asked how they would vote and reminded both candidates that this was not a hypothetical, it actually occurred.
Stefanik rambled for awhile before Benjamin told her she had not answered the question.
Stefanik tried again without ever reaching a conclusion.
Exasperated, Benjamin went on to Doheny, who played his own game of dodgeball.
Needing to move on, Benjamin summed it up, “So neither one of you answered the question.”
They stared back in silence.
After this performance, I’m ready to vote for Benjamin as a write-in candidate, and I don’t really care where she lives, because she sounded like the only one in touch with reality.
Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read his blog “The Front Page” daily at www.poststar.com or his updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley.