It's livestreaming here (among other places), and airing on every local TV station in town tonight.
Eli: Is there any way Inslee can beat Joe Biden tonight?
Goldy: With what weapon? Oh boy! KING-5 has hashtags!
Eli: Wow. Way too many moderators (I count five) in this debate.
Goldy: McKenna is giving the instruction manual for how to understand the debate.
Eli: Good, because this is a complicated one. Five moderators! Only four TV stations acting cooperatively could come up with that one.
Goldy: Uh-oh... Inslee just claimed to have majored in Economics. Last WA candidate to make that claim didn't do so well.
Eli: Get over it, Goldy.
Goldy: Spending money on "education" is clear the Republicans new strategy for slashing funding on everything else.
Eli: "Lean management!" Where have we heard that before? Still waiting for McKenna to deliver on his threat to "sock" Inslee for repeating that phrase so often...
Goldy: Oops. I think they're accidentally repeating the previous debate.
Eli: McKenna almost calls him "Governor Inslee." Corrects: "Er, Congressman Inslee..."
Goldy: Enersen takes dig at Inslee, putting "Lean Management" in finger quotes.
Goldy: McKenna: "If education had simply kept its share of the budget, it would have $4 billion more than it has now." Okay, then. From where else should we have cut that $4 billion?
Eli: Inslee is definitely the more expressive of the two of them. Not quite Biden level, but definitely more expressive than McKenna.
Goldy: That's rich. McKenna accuses Inslee's education spending fan of not having specifics. Still haven't heard what magic revenue poops out the money in McKenna's "plan."
Eli: Oh lord, the secret sauce again. Is the secret sauce lean? That's what I want to know.
Goldy: It's the secret sauce that makes Inslee more expressive. Don't knock it.
Goldy: HDTV isn't kind to McKenna. He looks better on YouTube.
Eli: He looks better Gangnam style.
Eli: Inslee: "Rob's numbers are simply not factual."
Goldy: Ooh... Inslee comes back at McKenna with actual facts: That WA is in fact consistently highly rated for its business climate. Oh fuck what a smarmy smile McKenna just gave. Constructive criticism: Don't smile.
Eli: Moderator Number 12 has a question.
Goldy: High quality early learning! Yay! Great question. Thank you, panelist whose name I don't know! (Angela something)
Goldy: Did Inslee say "kindygarten"?
Eli: McKenna: "We have been systematically underfunding early learning in this state."
Goldy: FYI, high quality universal preschool and full day kindergarten would cost about $700 million a year. We could start implementing it immediately if we just had the will to pony up the dollars to pay for it. The problem with McKenna on education is that while he is often accurate and specific in how we are underfunding it, he provides no clue as to how he's going to pay for anything.
Eli: Now, both candidates get to talk about the thing their opponent says that annoys them the most. McKenna is pissed about Inslee saying he wants to raise taxes via a complicated property tax swap.
Goldy: I hate that question. And it's been in every debate. Very bush league.
Eli: Inslee was ready for that. He doubles down on his critique of McKenna's property tax swap idea, saying it doesn't do anything to fund education.
Goldy: What it is does, that Inslee hasn't said specifically, is raise taxes on folks here in Seattle to lower taxes on folks out in rural areas.
Eli: Inslee, shrewdly, uses the whole fracas as an opportunity to plug propertytaxswap.com.
Goldy: To be clear, it increases funding for districts that are not raising much in local levies, but it does so by taxing the rest of us.
Eli: McKenna pretends that voting against Ref. 74 is a vote for gay rights because it leaves us with the old law (which is not marriage, and not full equality).
Goldy: McKenna: "I'll be voting to uphold our current law" on marriage. Which is his slippery way of saying that he is voting against R-74.
Eli: McKenna complains that Inslee is going too far to win an election with his attacks. Translation: McKenna feels like Inslee's attacks are too effective
Goldy: I am so enjoying this debate. No wait. I mean beer. I am so enjoying this beer. Also, I'm watching a debate.
Eli: Speaking of drinks, that's a HUGE water glass McKenna's drinking out of. Weird.
Goldy: McKenna on Medicaid: "We need to keep as many people privately covered as possible." Um... why?
Eli: McKenna is again trying to play the smart guy who needs to keep correcting Inslee. But it's toned down a notch this debate.
Goldy: That sarcastic "I'm sooo confused" look... McKenna doesn't wear it so well.
Eli: If voters pass I-502, Inslee won't work to undermine the will of the voters.
Goldy: And McKenna won't promise to uphold I-502. Will of the people and all that.
Eli: McKenna suggests that marijuana is more powerful than meth? Did I hear that right?
Goldy: I hate this split screen thing.
Eli: Inslee should really hammer on this. McKenna is clearly picking and choosing when he wants to follow "the will of the voters."
Goldy: Dan Lewis wins for asking the stupidest questions of all the panelists. Why not just take questions from Twitter?
Eli: At least, per the 14-pages of rules, there are no rebuttals in this segment.
Eli: Ugh. I feel like I've been watching politicians debate since 6 p.m... Which I have been. Maybe these double headers aren't such a great idea.
Goldy: Your problem Eli is, NOT ENOUGH BEER!
Eli: You don't know anything about my personal beer choices, Goldy. Overreach! Overreach!
Goldy: If McKenna is so nonpartisan, why can't he reach across the aisle to a partisan hack like me?
Goldy: It's good that Inslee has brought up the gun show loophole. But it's bad that he did so incoherently.
Eli: Does this thing last an hour? (Please, please, let that be the case.) Or is it and hour and a half, like the prez debates?
Goldy: Oh god. I just assumed it was just an hour.
Eli: They wouldn't dare make it an hour and half... would they??
Goldy: Just checked. Just an hour.
Eli: "...however, if someone buys a bottle of shampoo or a home massaging device..." What the hell is going on in this debate anymore?
Goldy: Angela Russell wins for asking the best questions of the night.
Eli: Inslee wants to make it perfectly clear: he's not for a statewide income tax.
Eli: Oh good, no more time for questions from the ginormous panel. Closing statements!
Goldy: So... we can't have an income tax, and we can't extend the sales tax to services. Yet we rely on the sales tax for 65 percent of revenue, even as the sale of goods continues to shrink as a portion of our overall state economy. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we have a STRUCTURAL REVENUE DEFICIT despite what either of the candidates say.
Eli: Inslee has a 75-point plan! And he brings it up in the closing statement? Hey, I got a plan with a lotta points... But oops, we're outta time.
Goldy: Wow... Stand For Children just became "the state's leading education reform organization" according to McKenna! (On the basis of them endorsing McKenna.) Actually, they're really just shills of the charter school industry.
Eli: McKenna touting newspaper endorsements. Says all the recent, major ones have been for him. Don't want to give anything away, but... Stranger endorsments come out Oct. 17.
Eli: Well, that thing hit some terrible nadir of dullness around the 40-minute mark, but now that it's over it seems like it was just a blink.
Goldy: To some a blink, to others a nightmare!
Eli: To some a blink, to others a drink!
Goldy: So... I think Inslee did better this debate than the last. Would have done even better if they just panned out and showed the whole set instead of closeups and split screens. Inslee an McKenna in full perspective is a huge visual advantage for Inslee.
Eli: I agree, Inslee did better in this one. I dunno, maybe it's because you and I are the only losers in the state who have watched all—what, three? four?—of these guv debates, but I really feel like these guys have worn each other down into predictable grooves.
Goldy: They were nothing but grooves to start with. That's what politics does to people.
Eli: And so it's getting more and more boring, at least for us. But for people just tuning in—or for people fuming at these guys taking over all the local stations for an hour tonight—I agree that Inslee looked better. More commanding, and fast enough to parry McKenna's attacks. McKenna didn't do a great job of offering a positive program, as far as I could tell.
Goldy: The question is, is it even possible for debates to change the dynamic of this race? There is so much paid media out there, I'm not sure that earned media can make a difference. It's up to the ad people now.
Eli: Yes, though here's something I do like: The local TV stations, who are making a killing off all this TV ad spending, at least gave some of it back with tonight's joint-broadcast-clusterfuck. That was nice of them.