Tonight was the night of the District 22 Congressional candidate forum, which was sponsored by the Clear Lake High School debate team. Until the candidates took the stage, no one had much in the way of expectations, because the incumbent, Tom DeLay, had made it clear for some time that he was entirely too important and busy to attend an event where “there would be more candidates than constituents”. Well, guess what? The North Point Elementary School gym was standing-room only.
When the student moderator introduced the candidates, the audience was audibly shocked when who should walk onto the stage but Tom DeLay. Apparently, he had announced on KPRC radio at 6pm that he would be attending. Someone must have finally talked some sense to him. I’m surprised that His Arrogance actually listens to anyone outside of his circle of sycophants.
It was an interesting evening all in all, as all four candidates (DeLay, Democrat Richard Morrison, Independent Michael Fjetland, and Libertarian Tom Morrison) were present. There were a sizable number of HIGHLY partisan DeLay and Richard Morrison supporters present, most of whom managed to make their presence know quite volubly.
As far as my own impressions go, I am strongly pro-Morrison, so those of you who don’t share my Left-leaning politics be warned. You might not enjoy what I have to say about your candidate….
Tom DeLay: Let me begin by saying that DeLay was an absolute embarrassment to himself and his constituents. He was correct in his previous assessment that this forum would do him more harm than good. The damage was all self-inflicted, though. His narrow-minded, moralizing, self-superior, father-knows-best demeanor did not endear himself to the audience, who on several occasions laughed so heartily that DeLay was forced to pause. He didn’t answer questions, he resorted to several snide, disrespectful comments about Richard Morrison, and he generally showed himself to be a arrogant, self-important buffoon.
There were, of course, those who wholeheartedly hung on his every word, but they were a pronounced minority. Their man clearly did nothing to help his cause, and if his performance ends up on the local news, it could potentially do some serious damage to his re-election prospects.
Richard Morrison: Morrison came across as a serious, thoughtful moderate Democrat who is more concerned about representing the people of District 22 than becoming the most powerful man in Washington. His answers were serious, well-considered, and reasonable. He appeared tolerant and open to differing points of view, which was not a quality Tom DeLay displayed in abundance.
No one could reasonably characterize Morrison as a Liberal, despite DeLays protestations to the contrary. Based on his performance tonight, Richard Morrison seems to possess the passion, the commitment, and the intellectual and philosophical depth necessary to effectively represent what is now a very diverse district.
Michael Fjetland: As a former Republican who has taken on DeLay twice previously, Fjetland is certainly a much more reasonable alternative. Now running as an Independent, Fjetland seemed to have trouble articulating why he is a viable alternative to DeLay. His qualifications seem to be that he was a terrorism consultant for a couple local TV stations and the he has been to 55 countries. Given how often he repeated these points, I guess we were supposed to be impressed. Sorry; but having a lot of stamps in your passport does not qualify you to serve in Congress. Nor does being a talking head.
Tom Morrison: I’m sorry, but what is it about Libertarians? Why do most of them come off as refugees from the Chess Club who couldn’t get laid if they were the last man on earth and were surrounded by the Swedish Bikini Team? Morrison actually had some interesting ideas, but he seemed utterly incapable of expressing them coherently. He spent most of the evenings looking as if he’d made a wrong turn on the way to a Dungeon and Dragons convention. With some public speaking skills, he might have something. Unfortunately, every time he opened his mouth, I had to fight off the urge to nod off.
I’m not sure that any minds were changed tonight, but it was an impressive accomplishment for a group a high school kids. The members of the Clear Lake High School debate team who worked hard to put this together should be commended for a job well done.