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Mayor Paul Soglin Cleans Clock Of Scott Resnick In Live Television Debate

March 24, 2015


There is no doubt I love a good political debate.  But lets be honest, most political debates are rather tame and limited in the impact they make on the average voter.

But there is no way anyone watching the Madison mayoral debate Tuesday night live on WISC-TV could not have come away wondering just how much more preparation time might have been required to make challenger Scott Resnick ready for prime time.  That there have been numerous debates already this election season underscores how steep the learning curve is for one who wishes to lead this city for the first time.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin did an old-fashioned clock-cleaning on Resnick with powerful rebuttals and a stunning use of facts and data to underscore city policy over the past four years.  Thankfully I was watching on my DVR so I could rewind and hear Soglin again tell Resnick that he could not always be in the council chambers to hold the alderman’s hand when it was time to cast a vote.

With a punchy rhythm Soglin used his pen as if to check off wrong positions from a sheet of paper that Resnick had taken as an alder.

If this had been an old Batman television show that is when the words POW and PUNCH would have filled the screenAll Resnick could so was look stunned and bewildered.  There was no way for him to recalibrate fast enough to dodge the incoming political swings from Soglin.

It was masterful on the part of the mayor to wage a debate in this fashion.  Clearly Soglin has listened enough to the misuse of information over the past weeks and decided it was time to set the record straight.  That it would result in such political theatre could not have been planned.   For that to succeed required Resnick to be shell-shocked.     He played his part perfectly.

The other part of the debate that was most effective was how Soglin made it clear the alderman had been on the council for the past four years and yet seemingly only now found his voice for the issues.  At one point Soglin made note of it directly.

“It’s interesting. Everything Scott answers is ‘It’s not enough.  But yet he’s been on the council for four years, and suddenly discovers all these issues related to equity.”

While it is true that decades of political work and policy formulation has strengthened Soglin’s hand as a candidate it also needs to be said that anyone hoping for a chance to unseat him has to do the needed homework to make it happen.  Part of that is to know the data, studies, facts, and figures inside-out so that they can not be used against you.

Resnick has failed at that part of the campaign.

When Soglin had to school Resnick in how homeless people come to be classified as calling Madison home for reporting purposes was perhaps the sharpest factual point of the evening.  Upon hearing those words there was just no place for Resnick to hide.

The outcome of this election may never have been in doubt.   After tonight it is now all about the scope of Soglin’s win.


One Comment
  1. Solly permalink
    March 25, 2015 2:47 PM

    What will the “young downtown professionals do” if Scott loses?! Secede?

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