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Zephyr and Rob

September 4, 2014

These are two people who have spent a lot of time in public settings — Teachout as an adjunct law professor and Astorino as a TV and radio personality.  As a result, they both seem very comfortable in delivering their talking points.

That said, there was not a lot to commend them for in today’s debate.  Neither showed any sophistication or subtlety.  It was all about bashing the incumbent. 

The fact that Teachout joined Astorino in doing so – at one point echoing Astorino’s claim that the governor is “corrupt” – won’t help her.  In fact, it might really hurt her.

Those who cast ballots in next Tuesday’s primary election are both left-leaning Dems and also die-hard Dems. They believe in their party, which is on an upswing under Cuomo. Hearing Teachout say: “His behavior is what we typically call corrupt” will anger them.

It would have been easy for Teachout to parry Astorino on this point. She started out saying: “I can’t look into his heart.”  But she didn’t continue with the logical progression of that construct, which is that she can’t therefore know whether he is corrupt.

Instead, she underscored Astorino’s attack, and at one point even said: “I really respect Rob.”

What she should have said on Moreland was:  “I don’t know all the facts. Nobody does. The investigation must take its course before any judgment can be made.”

That’s the minimum of what she should have said — not as a loyal Dem — but as a law professor.

In this particular exchange, and throughout this debate, there was a strong undercurrent of frustration from both candidates. They know they are far behind, and they think that if they can just be clearer and more direct and more passionate with their criticism, something might change.

The problem is that it begins to be disloyal for Teachout to do it so,  and it’s off-putting for Astorino to do so. As we’ve written before, he comes off as whiny and snide.

It’s strange digression on our part, but we wonder what these two are like in private. It’s clear they don’t like Cuomo, but we wonder if they are having second thoughts about being so negative.

We want to think the best about the two of them – that they are, in normal settings, nice people and that they are doing this because they believe they have no choice. 

That’s what we’d like to believe, but we don’t know for sure because we can’t look into their hearts.

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