Yesterday I was extended an invitation from the Senatorial re-election campaign of Senator John Cornyn to greet the Senator before the debate last night and then watch the debate with supporters. I had to decline but I watched the debate on television.
The debate participants were Senator Cornyn, state Rep. Rick Noreiga and the Libertarian candidate. The third party candidate was an interesting woman but with no name recognition, no money behind her and only polling at 3% in recent polls, she really isn't a viable candidate this time around.
The League of Women Voters sponsored the debate on the local PBS Houston affiliate. The three questioners were made up of one liberal Democrat tv/radio personality, one conservative Republican tv/radio personality, and one political newspaper journalist who leans liberal in his writing. So, the balance represented was par for the course.
What struck me was a complete void of ideas coming from Rep. Noriega. His performance was one of attacking Senator Cornyn's record with stand Democrat talking points. Maybe the DNC wrote his script. He did the standard 'failed policies' of the current administration lines, though never specific in his accusations.
Noriega said he wouldn't have voted for the economic rescue package. But, he offered no solutions in its place. He was an anti-war mouthpiece for the defeatist left. He spoke of 'regaining trust of the international community.' All nonsense. Again, all standard stuff.
Senator Cornyn pointed out he supported the rescue legislation, with more accountability measures put in, and that just throwing rocks with no answers is not a show of leadership. He spoke of his support of the bi-partisan Detainee Treatment Act.
Noriega did nothing to inspire or to point to any leadership qualities. He brought criticism without alternatives. He brought the same old talking points we have heard throughout the past eight years. He did nothing to convince the audience that he would support changing the partisan tone in Washington. He would only add to the problems.
The most recent polling shows Senator Cornyn with a 15% lead in the race. This debate showed why that is happening. Rep. Noriega is much like the top of the Democrat ticket - not ready for prime time.