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The Borscht Belt Debate

Courtesy WNED and CBS2 New York

Despite Brian Meyer’s desperate efforts to keep the format tight and moving, it was unwieldy. With four gubernatorial candidates being provided with equal time, it seemed at times that Cuomo and Astorino were afterthoughts. After all, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian Party candidate Michael McDermott threw some good ideas at people last night at WNED’s studio.

McDermott liked to cut through the BS and had one of the best answers about fracking; that his philosophy was that it was important to wait and see what it does to the environment, because you’re allowed to do on your property whatever you want unless it harms someone else. For his part, Hawkins gave super-liberals the red meat they crave – single-payer, a hard no on fracking, social justice, funding for mass transit. 

Alas, Hawkins and McDermott don’t have a credible chance. 

The format gave candidates one minute to answer questions that often seemed to run on for twice that time, and then occasionally a 30 second rebuttal. One of the problems with contemporary political speech is that we’re too reliant on dopey ads and sound bites, and this sort of debate-by-one-liner exacerbates the situation. No one watched that and learned anything. It treated us like dumb assholes, and yet again we’ll get the Albany government we’ll deserve. 

Take my wife, please. 

Republican Rob Astorino came out swinging at Andrew Cuomo, and didn’t get an opportunity to tell us very much about what he’d do. Cuomo gave as good as he got. It was a good time, but not at all a substantive one. 

Where did you get your haircut, the pet shop?

Here’s how it went, as it went along. 


  • jamesholstun

    “One of the best answers about fracking; that his philosophy was that it
    was important to wait and see what it does to the environment, because
    you’re allowed to do on your property whatever you want unless it harms
    someone else.” This is stupid on so many levels: “waiting and seeing” assumes that the damage is easily reversible, we already know what it does to the environment, we already know that it harms someone else, etc. What would one of the worst answers look like?

  • Cuomo side-stepped and deflected throughout the debate. His “let the scientists decide” answer is nothing more than fence-sitting while trying to play both sides of the issue for maximum votes. Saying that The Moreland Commission accomplished what it was set out to do was an insult to the intelligence of every voter in the state. Yet, he will win.

    • UncleBluck

      Thats the problem Mike….most elections are decided by the people who have no political knowledge or intelligence……

  • rhmaccallum

    Now we know why Cuomo avoids debates. He possesses the debating skills and persona of a sheet of drywall.
    Astorino? Could anyone picture the guy being some kind of spokesperson for Hitler in the 30’s?
    What we have left are two possible candidates to vote for, win or not.