Delco not in ‘Jeopardy’ of any faux debates
Did anybody see the debate between Gov. Tom Wolf and his opponent Scott Wagner at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce dinner two weeks ago? That was one strange debate.
It was really a debate between “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and Wagner, with Wolf weighing in very, very infrequently and Trebek delivering mini-lectures from time to time.
His little homily on Catholic priests was particularly odd, and some say offensive. I really have no idea how he got on that subject since he had no question to ask about it.
He could have asked the candidates their position on the bill currently going through the state Legislature to give sexual assault victims a two-year window to bring civil suits against those who allegedly molested them decades ago, but he didn’t.
Instead Trebek informed us that he was in a Catholic boarding school for three years in his early teens and “there was no sexual misbehavior.”
Teenaged boys are smart and talk among themselves and “we would have known,” he said.
“So I believe there are Catholic priests out there who are able to minister to their congregations without preying – P.R.E.Y., not P.R.A.Y. – on young people.
“It doesn’t only happen in the Catholic Church, it happens in college sports, it happens in show business, so enough of that,” Trebek said with a dismissive wave turning back to the candidates.
OK, thanks, Alex. It’s nice to know your views on that and that you can spell and define pray/prey both ways.
But it cleared up absolutely nothing about where the candidates stand on that issue.
Trebek announced at the beginning that it wasn’t going to be a traditional debate, with each side having 90 seconds to state their positions on various issues, but it was going to be done his way, as a civil conversation.
And, he said, it wasn’t going to be about him.
Alas, as the debate wore on, it was clear the event was all about him and his extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania politics, thanks I’m sure to his “Jeopardy!” writers.
It was damned civil between Wolf and Wagner, since Wolf seemed intent on politely listening to both sides – Trebek and Wagner.
One of the few times he did comment on an issue, the pension crisis, he observed that there is a “bipartisan effort” underway to resolve it. So very civil.
Wolf looked like a contented man, a man who knows the polls have consistently shown him to have a double-digit lead over Wagner in a statewide contest with 800,000 more registered Democrats and no other debates where he might stick his foot in his mouth.
Nobody can force Wolf and Wagner to have a real debate but as a public service, I wanted to let you all know that there are some local debates coming up, courtesy of the nonpartisan Radnor and Central Delaware County Leagues of Women Voters.
Here is the schedule so far: PA House District 168 Chris Quinn (R), incumbent, and Kristin Seale (D) Oct. 14, 3 p.m.
Penn State Brandywine Auditorium
25 Yearsley Mill Road, Middletown
PA House District 165: Alex Charlton (R), incumbent and Jennifer O’Mara (D)
Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m. Connolly Center Cinema Villanova University
26th State Senatorial District:
Tom McGarrigle, (R), incumbent and Tim Kearney (D)
Oct. 24, 7 p.m. Springfield Township Building
50 Powell Road, Springfield PA House District 166: Gregory Vitali (D), incumbent, vs. Balthazar Rubio (R)
Mon, Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m. Radnor Township Municipal Building
301 Iven Ave., Radnor
5th U.S Congressional District Open Seat:
Mary Gay Scanlon (D) and Pearl Kim (R)
Oct. 25, 7 p.m. Delaware County Community College
Academic Building Auditorium
901 S. Media Line Road, Media
Kim and Scanlon are also running in a special election for the old 7th District and voters will vote in that election on Nov. 6 at the same time they are voting in the new District 5 election.
The winner of the special election will be sworn in the next day and serve for two months until the beginning of January, really more like three weeks since the House will take December off.
These will be good oldfashioned debates with questions submitted by the audience and each side having a given amount of time to state their positions.
The League does not tolerate incivility or demonstrations for or against any candidate during the debates.
They will be videotaped and posted on Youtube and some will be livestreamed on its Facebook pages.
The League, unlike Trebek, gets nothing out of these debates except the satisfaction of fulfilling its mission to educate voters and encourage voting.
So whomever you support or oppose, come out and watch the candidates go head to head. This is likely your only chance before the election.
(Disclaimer: I am a member of the League of Women Voters, but don’t hold that against them.)
Jodine Mayberry is a retired editor, longtime journalist and Delaware County resident. Her column appears every Friday. You can reach her at jodinemayberry@ comcast.net.
A scene from the very odd debate between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, left, and GOP challenger Scott Wagner.