Should We Even Try to Take Politicians Seriously?
Tim White’s been doing a great job moderating debates for the various political races of the season, and the Congressional District 1 debate was no different. I’ll confess, though, that I find it difficult to take answers seriously or to expect that debates will provide a reliable impression of who candidates are. In that respect, this answer from Bill Lynch is a classic of the genre:
White asked Lynch why voters should trust him to “get anything done” in Congress, given his “hyper-partisan” role as state Democratic Party chairman for more than a decade.
“That was my job, and I was proud of the job I did,” Lynch responded. “I was never afraid to stand up and speak my mind. And frankly, I think that that’s something that the people of Rhode Island want and need … now in Washington.”
“That was my job” implies that people shouldn’t hold him but so accountable, as if he really is “hyper-partisan,” which is a spin he’s tried previously on WPRO. But that he would characterize his performance at that job as “speak[ing] my mind” suggests that he was a natural fit for the role.
The answer, in other words, is clearly that voters cannot trust him to be anything other than hyper-partisan, but he wants to claim to be some sort of an independent outsider while assuring his fellow Democrats that he’ll always and ever be their boy.