Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Asa / Beebe Debate #2: The Winner Is...

First I have to tell you that I did not see the first debate so I cannot compare this debate to that one. I was a little surprised at how balanced the crowd was. I was a little concerned with it being in the intellectual liberal (is that an oxymoron?) capitol of Arkansas.


Sales Tax On Groceries - Best "Gotcha" Of The Debate: When Beebe said he had to see reports on what monies are needed for K-12 education, higher education, etc., before he would look at phasing out the sales tax on groceries, and Asa took full advantage by saying that Beebe just explained why the grocery tax would never be eliminated under his administration.

Highway Funding: I thought this was pretty much a draw. One thing I would like to see is for the highway commissioners to be elected and not appointed.

Mental Health Facilities: I give this one to Asa. Private business can do almost anything better than the government can. Forcing more regulations on business is a bad idea.

Rural Schools: Hands down, Asa. Beebe did try to say it wasn't his fault that the Paron school closed but he wasn't convincing.

Lottery/Casino Gambling: Since both candidates pretty well agreed on this issue, it was a draw.

Healthy Arkansas: Hmmm. I'm not sure about this one. I want to give it to Asa but I just can't seem to make myself do it. Creating an office for Surgeon General is a good idea but getting the right person in that job is critical. But, I think it is a lower priority issue with the voters. Draw.

Emergency Preparedness: Do you even have to ask? Who would you trust? Someone with no experience or someone who has worked on it at a federal level?

Illegal Immigration: I think Asa has a little problem here because there is a negative opinion of the entire Bush administration and DHS on this issue. Slight advantage to Beebe, not that I think he would be better at handling it but it is the perception that matters (regardless of its accuracy). From a humanitarian standpoint, we can't deny these people necessary services such as emergency medical care, etc.

Where Did That Come From?: Some of the questions were a little "off the wall" like the one about an issue the candidates have "done a 180" on. Asa struggled with that one and didn't really answer it. I thought Beebe did a good job answering that one and I was surprised. While the question was innocuous, I think Beebe's response probably solidified the Christian Democrats in the state.

The Winner: I would give a slight advantage to Asa. I would go 55% to 45% in favor of Asa. He won out on the critical issues for Arkansans and has definite plans laid out to move Arkansas forward.

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