Eli: Which is not to say that we're in Yakima. I'm watching the livestream from an undisclosed location and Goldy—allegedly—is joining from Drinking Liberally.
Goldy: Slogging live from the Montlake Ale House!
Eli: Ooh, "challenge" cards. How many do I get to use against Goldy?
Goldy: McKenna wins the coin toss! Which means he gets to go first, but has to speak in Spanish.
Eli: And does so rather well. All Inslee has to offer in Spanish is "buenos noches."
Goldy: Once again I have an audio/video synching problem with my stream. But then again McKenna's words often don't synch with his mouth.
Eli: Actually, there's some sort of technical difficulty. Enrique Cerna is vamping like a champ while they try to fix McKenna's mic.
Goldy: "Pretend that you were trapped in an elevator with an undecided voter." Or better yet, why not make McKenna pretend he is trapped in an elevator with me?
Eli: Inslee's elevator plan is to talk secret sauce recipes.
Goldy: Inslee has more points on his plan than McKenna. That's why he's winning.
Eli: And McKenna says Inslee's plan may have more points, but doesn't offer meaningful details.
Goldy: McKenna's at a huge disadvantage in this debate, because now he has to hold a microphone, which means he can only gesticulate with ONE hand. That's half the gesticulation. And half the points.
Eli: Inslee brings up "lean management." Is McKenna gonna sock him? (As he said he wanted to at a recent editorial board meeting.)
Goldy: McKenna goes after Inslee for "quitting Congress." Missed opportunity at a zinger. The question was about agricultural issues, and McKenna talks about H1B visas and high tech.
Eli: Inslee didn't miss the zinger opportunity. He says of McKenna's immigration criticism: "It is a little bit of an irony to be chastised by a Republican on this subject."
Goldy: Cerno reminds the audience "no applause." Don't think they'll have much desire to, though.
Eli: Lots of voter ID talk. And it produces the first "challenge" card, from McKenna. He says Inslee is "muddling" the issue. He just wants a higher bar for getting a driver's license. (Which is what Inslee is saying he wants, too.)
Goldy: McKenna says that Inslee is trying to muddle their distinction on drivers licenses, but I think it's more Inslee that's muddled rather than the distinction.
Eli: McKenna gets testy about Inslee trying to "nationalize" the race by mentioning Mitt Romney.
Goldy: McKenna: "I love the way Congressman Inslee is trying to nationalize the race." No he doesn't. The nationalizing of this race is part of what's killing McKenna. But then, it's his fault for being a Republican.
Goldy: Inslee: "We are not Louisiana." But don't fix our tax structure and we will be eventually.
Eli: McKenna gets to ask a question... And he wants to know how Inslee will deal with the current budget deficit. Will he vote to raise taxes the way he did "the last time he was in state government"? (A million years ago.) Inslee's answer: No.
Goldy: And Inslee responds with an almost-zinger by accusing McKenna of proposing to raise property taxes.
Eli: McKenna keeps trying to attack Inslee for being slippery with the facts, but he's coming off as a bit defensive.
Goldy: And too dickish. McKenna is coming off as rather smug. Which may work rhetorically, but doesn't exactly help with the likability thing.
Eli: Plus, I'm not sure wrestling in the weeds is McKenna's way up in the polls.
Goldy: McKenna: "They don't hear gunfire at where they live." And neither does McKenna. Me, on the other hand, a couple blocks off Rainier Avenue S....
Eli: You know, I really don't think lines like "It's a little bit hard to take the Congressman seriously" work when you're seriously behind in the polls. That's the talk of someone who's ahead. Clearly voters take the Congressman seriously. McKenna—and a minority of voters—don't.
Goldy: McKenna starts each of his segments by dissing Inslee. I think McKenna thinks he's going on the offensive, but it mostly comes off as defensive.
Eli: McKenna drops the mic. (And not in the way a pro does it.)
Goldy: Neither support the marijuana initiative, but at least Inslee says he would work to implement it if passed. It's a much more politic answer.
Goldy: I'd suspect the mic thing was a conspiracy, but you'd think the AV geeks would identify with McKenna rather than the jock Inslee.
Eli: McKenna, for like the 12th time, tells us "it's not that simple." But he's not so good at making simple points. Which is how you win debates. Inslee is much better at this.
Goldy: Inslee raises the 47 percent. There he goes nationalizing the race again.
Eli: Inslee moves in for the kill, linking McKenna to Romney's 47 percent callousness over McKenna's health care positions.
Goldy: McKenna really should sit down with me. I think we'd hit it off. We're both wonks. And we're both assholes.
Eli: Inslee uses ANOTHER challenge to keep wrestling McKenna to the mat over health care reform.
Goldy: The right to opt out of Medicaid expansion is the only thing McKenna got out of the anti-Obamacare lawsuit, and it clearly sounds like McKenna intends to exercise this right.
Eli: I still can't get over McKenna's failure to drop the mic right. Here's how you do it:
Goldy: Maybe I'm biased, but I'm just not sure that McKenna can get away with coming off as such a total dick. On the other hand, most voters aren't watching this, so maybe McKenna's aggressiveness will play well with reporters, and voters will hear that McKenna won secondhand?
Eli: That's the only upside I can think of. Maybe it's an appeal to the refs strategy.
Goldy: It's like McKenna is running for the job writing the Seattle Times' "Truth Needle" pieces.
Eli: It's like he wants a job blogging for The Stranger.
Goldy: That's a great idea, Eli. We should hand Slog over to McKenna for a day!
Eli: You think he'd do it? I'll ask Charles McCray III... And won't hold my breath.
Goldy: No, Rob, McLeary says the state is spending too little on basic education.
Eli: Coal trains! Now HERE is a non-answer. McKenna isn't saying anything firm on coal trains. But, neither is Inslee. In fact, he seems to like the jobs that might come with building more coal train ports.
Goldy: Inslee's given a clearer answer in the past. Inslee has implied in the past that the coal trains may cost more jobs than they produce. But he frames his approach in jobs.
Eli: McKenna says people who support Inslee represent "the status quo."
Goldy: McKenna keeps dissing "the people who are supporting" Inslee. Last poll I saw, Inslee's support stood right about 47 percent. Hmmm....
Eli: And that's that. "Muchos gracias," says Inslee.
Goldy: I don't think Inslee gave as good a performance as he did in the last couple debates I saw. A bit more rambling. A bit less coherent. But in going on the offensive so relentlessly, McKenna just came off as a total dick. Even if you agreed with him, it would be hard to like him.
Eli: I think Inslee's strategy was to just keep using the talking points that have put him ahead in the polls so far. And sometimes he couldn't shoehorn the talking point he had in mind into the opening provided by the question, so it came off as... clumsy.
But I agree this doesn't change much. First of all, as we keep asking each other: WHO BESIDES US IS ACTUALLY WATCHING THESE THINGS?
And anyway, whatever problems Inslee had tonight, they were eclipsed by McKenna's churlishness.
They both need to step up their game before the 16th, when they're coming on right after the presidential debate. (Which means people actually will be watching.)
Goldy: I agree. Voters will go with clumsy over churl. Hence Bush v. Gore.