To Debate Or Not To Debate, That Is The Question

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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As my friend and I were riding home from the golf course a couple weeks ago, we were tuned in to Rick Knobe’s program on KSOO radio. Rick was doing an interview with Senator Tim Johnson.
It was a very difficult thing to listen to.
The senator, as everyone knows, nearly died from a brain hemorrhage in December of 2006. We were encouraged by early reports that he was doing great and told that even though it was going to take some time, there was a good chance he’d recover to be the same ol’ Tim as before the injury.
As my friend and I listened to the senator struggling to get the words out and Knobe helping him finish sentences during the interview, we looked at each other and said he’s going to need more time isn’t he?South Dakota Magazine photo
I suppose some of you will think me an insensitive clod for even bringing it up.. but the truth is that Senator Johnson is not yet able to articulate his thoughts and views very well verbally.
Does that mean he can’t function effectively as a United States Senator?
Not necessarily.
Does it mean he should avoid debates with Joel Dykstra, the Republican challenger for his job?
Probably.
The trouble for Dykstra is that to have any chance at all against the favored incumbent, he needs the exposure that only debates can provide..so he continues to push for them.
But I’d be surprised if they happen.
Tim Johnson’s mind may be as sharp and fast as ever but he could never keep up in the rapid fire exchange of a debate format like he did in the old days. That’s just a fact and his reelection staff knows it.Dykstra campaign photoOn the other hand, if Dykstra were to exploit Johnson’s limitations, he runs the very real risk of coming off like a bully and we would never elect a bully to congress. Would we? Oh, yeah..there was that one guy.

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