Letter to the editor
First Wisconsin Governor debate examined
October 17, 2014
Last Friday evening I watched Wisconsin Public Television’s coverage of the first debate between Governor Scott Walker and his challenger, Democrat Mary Burke.
Four seasoned news broadcasters asked hard, direct questions of the candidates. When a candidate seemed to dodge the question, they asked again.
Burke spoke succinctly and forcefully. Her replies were clear and to the point. It was evident where she stood on each issue.
Gov. Walker, by contrast, avoided answering some of the questions. Even when pressed a second time, he continued to obfuscate.
A notable example was Gov. Walker’s failure to commit on whether he believed a full-time worker could actually live on the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage.
Burke, on the other hand, stated unequivocal support for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Gov. Walker continued to evade the question and stonewalled until his time was up. In comparison with Burke’s crisp delivery, Walker’s rhetorical strategy was to rattle along without pause, fasttalking until the moderator cut him off.
Gov. Walker often disrespected time limits and did not conclude when being broken off. Burke spoke directly to the audience, while Gov. Walker often seemed to be talking to someone unseen off to one side.
The debate exposed the differences between the candidates with sharp clarity. It was cogent straight talk versus circuitous slick talk.
The second and last Gov. Walker/ Burke debate will be televised by various media outlets including Wisconsin Public Television and CSPAN at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17.
I urge any voter who may still be on the fence to tune in and judge for his or her self.
Thomas R. Smith
River Falls, Wisconsin