WHERE IS THE VISION?—A DEBATE ABOUT DEBATES FOLLOW-UP

As candidates face off on issues leading up to the November elections, voters should expect to hear an examination of the office-holders’ records and what the challengers would do differently. The latter is starkly missing from the discourse thus far.

In the race for governor, former Stamford mayor Democrat Dan Malloy has accepted invitations to 19 debates all over the state, including some high-profile TV forums. He has challenged Republican Tom Foley to do likewise. Foley is bobbing and weaving to avoid having voters see the contrast between Malloy and him so many times. We’re now to the point of discussing what constitutes a “debate.” The answer is simple. Let’s stipulate that anytime the two are standing side by side, answering questions, it’s a “debate”—if there are forums in which the two can question each other, all the better.

But in the back and forth about the debates, the Foley camp simply attacked Malloy’s record as Stamford’s mayor. Fair enough. Malloy has a record and it’s fair game (it would be nice if the attacks were truthful). However, the voters deserve to hear what Foley would do as governor. So far, all we’ve heard is that he will cut spending and put a target on the backs of state employee unions. And as far as personal background, let’s hope one of the cuts Foley plans is not his state car and driver. I’d hate to see what would happen on I-95 if the legislature somehow rebuked a Foley proposal.

We seem to be having the same problem with the Chris Murphy-Sam Caligiuri contest for the 5th district congressional seat. Yesterday, Republican Caligiuri released an internal poll showing he was within a point of the incumbent Democrat Murphy. The survey was done by a reputable Republican pollster. Two things stand out: It’s an internal poll and it’s done by a Republican pollster. Both make it suspect just as an internal poll done by a Democratic pollster would be.

But again, rather than fighting about the credibility of the poll, Caligiuri should tell us what he would do differently. Republican state party Chairman Chris Healy’s school of “the current guy is really bad so vote for our guy” campaigning can only go so far.