Last night, Elizabeth Cobert Busch and former Governor Mark Sanford had their debate for their race in the first Congressional District in South Carolina. Based on a few reasons, I think the election is over, and Ms. Colbert-Busch, the Democrat, will be elected.
In part, it's because of an exchange the two hand during the debate. In a roundabout, though obvious way, Ms. Colbert Busch addressed Mr. Sanford's extra-marital scandal in Argentina. After giving a thoughtful answer about spending, she wove it another another direction, saying --
"When we talk about fiscal spending and we talk about protecting the taxpayers, it doesn't mean you take that money we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose."
During the crowd reaction, the moderator said, "She went there, Gov. Sanford"
This was when the former governor showed the moral courage of a four-year-old being told it was time for bed, putting his hands on his ears and making noises.
"I couldn't hear what she said. Repeat it, I didn't hear it."
To which Ms. Colbert Busch bluntly replied, "Answer the question."
To which Mr. Sanford said again, "What was the question?" And then went off in a totally different direction.
It's not that he avoided the question (though it is, in part), but mainly that he was just so childishly blatant about it, that even his strongest supporters probably had a hard time believing him, which is never want you want as a candidate. Not being believed. We show the video, you decide --
But a poor debate performance isn't why I think the race is over. Nor is it because of a good performance by his opponent. Or that she is ahead by nine points, with only a week to go before the election. Or that she has outraised him by almost two-to-one, meaning she has the resources during the last week.
No, it's none of that alone. It's all of that together -- and one other huge factor. Ms. Colbert Busch's favorability is 56%. The former governor's favorability is just 38%.
It's not that 38% is dismal (which it is). It's that when you're a former governor, people know you. Moreover, they've had a long time to know you. And mostly, they know you well. And when voters in your Congressional district know you well and have decided that only 38% like you -- you're not going to win.
And you're not gong to win, most especially, when 38% don't like you, you gave a poor debate performance, your opponent gave a good debate, is ahead by nine point and has outraised you two-to-one, with one week to go. And days before, you debated a cardboard cutout of someone you're not running against.
Mark May 8th on your calendar to DVR The Colbert Report. The day after the election.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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