Paige Kreegel was more statesman, Lizbeth Benacquisto led the herd | James Pat Guerréro

Paige Kreegel
Michael Dreikorn
Michael Dreikorn
curt clawson_
Curt Clawson
Lizbeth Benacquisto

The thesis: Were the candidates afraid to make known their real views on all of the questions asked? Public confidence or decisiveness delays making a decision because there was hardly any distinction among the candidates in the question-answer public forum. Certainly, the public witnessed a forum and not a debate, which was sponsored by the News-Press and the Southwest Florida Chamber of Commerce as the first debate among candidates for the 19th Congressional Florida District Special Election to replace Trey Radel.[1]

The candidates who attended the Southwest Florida Chamber lunchtime forum were Republicans in alphabetical order: Florida Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, Curt Clawson, Michael Dreikorn, and former Florida Rep. Paige Kreegel.

Synoptically, the twelve questions are given here as summary topics: debt, Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), National Flood Insurance Program, immigration reform, marriage equality, drug testing, defense budget, National Security Agency, Common Core, medical marijuana, tax increases, and Israel. The below tables are the general answers by the candidates.

Candidate        Debt          Obamacare         Flood Ins Inc      Immig Ref          Marriage Equality             Drug Testing
Benacquisto      No                    No                            No                        No                                 No                                        Yes
Curt Clawson    No                    No                            No                        No                                 No                                         Yes
Dreikorn             No                    No                            No                        No                                 No                                         Yes
Paige Kreegel    No                    No                            No                        No                                 No                                         Yes

Candidate       Def Budget Dec       NSA Snooping         Common Core       Med Marijuana       Tax Inc        Israel
Benacquisto               No                                No                                  No                              No                            No             Yes
Curt Clawson             No                                No                                  No                              No                            No             Yes
Dreikorn                      No                                No                                  No                              No                            No             Yes
Paige Kreegel             No                                No                                  No                              No                            No             Yes

In summary, there is not much difference in the answers. What happened to the old-fashioned debate on the questions among the candidates? Is it truly past to history that the debate is a political dinosaur? In fact the video showed a more conciliatory and self-congratulatory reaction among the candidates to each other’s answers, as if they were all on the same side of the issues. All republicans, all conservatives.  Stop messing.

Lizbeth Benacquisto did not follow that temptation. She held tight her responses as if she had been the lead horse, followed by all the other horses in the herd. But Benacquisto knows the Republican establishment line, and the herd somewhat was afraid not to follow it. Would it be that the herd is afraid not to follow the Republican establishment line because it will not get support?

The hard and fast rule of debate is to tear down the opponent’s answer on the issue and respond with a better answer and reference. They were all Republicans; so, they could do that. That would require some preparation, intellect, debating skill, and courage. But this event was a kind forum, accidentally. It is difficult to accept that the attendees would have not prepared for, perhaps enjoyed, some difference of opinion. After all, the baby boomers are predominately the judge today, and they always like action shows of the political kind. You know. Truth and pain and who’s your Daddy now type of stuff. Also, getting oohs and ahhs which was done quite well only once by Paige Kreegel in reference to Trey Radel’s troubles in Congress.

The candidates were afraid to differentiate their views in this forum. Perhaps follow-up debates will occur with more differences, especially in regards to how or which prerogative is better than the current state of affairs. The most humorous candidate was Paige Kreegel, whose ability to speak well and maintain attention would aspire to a statesman.

Democrat April Freeman, libertarian Ray Netherwood, republican Timothy Rossano, and write-in Gerald Gallagher did not attend the political introduction forum.

The primary special election is April 22, 2014; then, the general special election will occur on June 24, 2014.


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