The second Chris Gibson-Julian Schreibman debate took place last night at the WMHT studios in North Greenbush. Once again, Schreibman clearly won on points, both for style and substance.
Not that much changed from the initial debate in Kingston last week. Gibson continued to try to disguise his voting record in Congress and portray himself as a moderate. Schreibman continued to thwart that attempt and underscore Gibson’s right-wing voting record on major issues, particularly the Paul Ryan budget that would transform Medicare into a “premium support” (i.e., voucher) program.
As he did in the first debate, Gibson ticked off the four items he sees as his major accomplishments: “storm relief, broadband, Lyme disease and small business”. This is an eclectic and somewhat ludicrous list. It is also misleading, insofar as Gibson claims to have resolved any of these issues. The aftermath of Irene still lingers in many areas, rural broadband accessibility remains a sick joke, Lyme disease continues to be rampant throughout the 19th Congressional District and upstate New York in general , and upstate business is hurting as badly as it ever has.
The difference in this debate, to the extent there was one, was in Gibson’s demeanor. He didn’t become as flustered or excited as he was in the first debate, and he attempted more attacks on his opponent, largely in the form of asking “OK, then, what’s your plan?” But most of Gibson’s energy continued to be spent dodging his own record, and I think he was unsuccessful in this.
Schreibman has the stronger presence and does a far better job of speaking directly to the audience. This is likely due to the fact that, unlike Gibson, he’s not trying to hide anything. Gibson tried another distraction at the end by closing with an especially sleazy and divisive line, asking “who do you trust? A combat veteran or a New York City lawyer?”
Well, I’ll tell you, Chris: I trust Julian Schreibman a hell of a lot more than I trust you.
You can watch a stream of last night’s debate on the New York NOW website. The third and final debate in the series will take place at 7 PM on Wednesday, October 24 in Craven Lounge in the Morris Hall building at SUNY Oneonta.