Monday, August 18, 2008

Seeing Between the Lines of the Coleman/Franken YouTube Debate

I just finished watching the YouTube debate between Al Franken and Senator Norm Coleman. Senatorial candidates will be answering questions posed by YouTube users, and Franken and Coleman are the first to participate.

My most important observation is that Norm Coleman didn't mention Al Franken even once in any answer he gave to questions ranging from energy policy to increasing voter participation.

On the other hand, Franken mentioned Senator Coleman in every answer he gave. It's like he had a really strange form of Tourette Syndrome, in which he was compelled to say something disparaging about Senator Coleman whenever he spoke. It came across as a little desperate.

Norm spoke about bringing people together to get things done, which to some may seem that he's just reciting his own slogan as an answer to a question. However, the examples he gave about how he is able to work across party lines are effective in pointing out that Norm can work with people from both sides of the isle, while Franken has called those on the other side of the isle "monsters" and worse.

There was another interesting thing about Franken's answers. At the beginning of every answer, he thanked the person who asked the question in a way that reminded me (I'm dating myself here) of the teacher on Romper Room. He talked to the people supplying the questions as if they were preschoolers. Conversely, Norm spoke to the people as if they were intelligent adults.

This reminded me of a comment from a young person I know who told me that she was open to Franken's candidacy early on and decided to look at his web site to find out more. She said she came away from the site feeling he was talking down to her and treating the people who visited the site like children.

That young woman is now a strong supporter of Norm Coleman.

I urge you to watch the "debate" and judge for yourself. Here's the link:

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