Listen to the radio debate here: http://www.wgbh.org/cainan/article?item_id=480593
This morning's debate on WCAI's "The Point" began with a nervous Aaron Maloy starting off with ponderous restatement of his background on the Cape and his endorsement by Shirley Gomes. Sarah Peake launched into her familiar campaign speech of affordable housing and access to health care.
The first question posed by host Mindy Todd was specifically about the decline of Provincetown High School and whether to support closure. Peake said she supported what was being done at the moment... but whatever that was not being readily or clearly described by the Vice-Chair of Provincetown Selectmen Peake. Her penchant for double-talk showing, Peake said that while all options including closure should be on the table, she also said that what she heard at a community meeting that there was not support for closure.
Which should give voters a good idea of what we can expect from a Representative Peake -- double-talk when it comes to tough issues, and an unwillingness to either take a stand against popular support or to clearly support the public will.
Maloy, as in the previous day's Harwich debate, again brought up the student march on the Provincetown Town Hall. He said that Peake tried to close the school, circumvented the school committee by talking to the Nauset school district, and referred to the school committe as a fringe group. However, Maloy then went on a rambling praise of the school, citing his talking with former school committee member Molly Perdue.
Admittedly angry, Peake went after Maloy, lecturing him that "words are powerful" and that his speech was "reckless." Peake went on to claim that Perdue had endorsed her candidacy.
On the state's new health care legislation, both endorsed the concept of a single-payer system. The only difference was that Maloy favors it being privately run, and Peake supports a government-run system along the lines of Cape Care.
Same sex marriage came up again, with an emailer from Harwich asking how each candidate would vote on the question to put the issue to the voters. Maloy said that the term "gay marriage is an oxymoron" and really was a matter of semantics. Although difficult to follow, Maloy sounded as if he was saying "in the rare case" that gay marriage is voted down, the state's Supreme Judicial Court would overturn it again support gay marriage.
If this is what Maloy believes, then he is badly misinformed. The Supreme Judicial Court cannot overturn an amendment to the state constitution. Also interesting is that Maloys appears now to concede that which I stated clearly for months -- that the question of banning same sex marriage would be defeated by the voters.
Maloy went on to say that he knew heterosexual couples who would rather get a civil union than get married. So much for his pre-primary support for moral values.
Peake took issue with Maloy's suggestion that marriage is solely a religious institution, saying that instead it was civil marriage that was the question. She added that the state constitution should not narrow civil rights (but unlike the day before, was not claiming that no where in the country had people voted on civil rights).
Maloy countered that marriage is not a civil right, and then began to talk about the rights of children in Africa not to starve. He added that calling this a civil right was a slap in the face to Jewish people and black people. Those dots were a little too far apart for me (and perhaps other listeners) to connect.
Peake showed her lawyerly ways by pointing out that Maloy was confusing civil rights with human rights. Frankly, most laypeople aren't too clear on the difference... and probably not on someone who bothers to make the distinction.
No surprise on their positions on the ballot questions -- which were all the same. Especially no surprise that the two extremists who won their respective party nominations would not support Question two, which would change party primaries to allow for a unified ballot.
No new positions on the issue of homeowners insurance reform. But Maloy did lead off with the line that one state rep can't really make a difference. (No, he couldn't have said that, could he? I'll have to listen again online and will amend if I am incorrect.)
Affordable housing also gave them a chance to mix it up. Peake referred to her recent column on the Cape Cod Times, while Maloy claimed to be "the affordable housing candidate" due his history of having problems affording housing. He went on to criticize Peake's record on creating housing in P-Town. Peake said she "took umbrage" and said that Maloy had spent "maybe five minutes in Provincetown."
Maloy countered that he had worked there in Outer Cape Health's office. For a person who had gone to such lengths to research her potential opponents (see previous blog entry), this was a pretty stupid thing for Peake to claim. Moreover, it smacked of the elite insularity of P-Townes that is a popular stereotype of those further down-Cape.
Lastly, on the question of what legislative committees each would want to serve on, Peake said Natural Resources, Housing, Elder Services and Finance & Insurance. I may be wrong on this, but usually state reps only serve on three committees, at most. Conversely, Maloy said he'd want to serve on the Education Committee, and went rambling on about the subject without pausing mention any other committees of interest.
In closing, Maloy claimed that Gomes thought long and hard about her endorsement of his candidacy. "She wants me to continue his legacy." Truer words were never spoken by Maloy.
But he again tried to turn his lack of experience into a positive. Saying that he had never held elective office, he added, "That's a great thing." In Maloy's world experience is bad, ignorance is wisdom, up is down, black is white, and wrong is right.
Peake for all her chance to really say something new, used the same closing as her Cape Cod Times debate weeks ago, citing "stark differences" between her and Maloy.
What is clearly obvious is that she shares a very important trait with Maloy. When someone questions her record in P-Town, she becomes agitated, and goes on the attack. I've watched her in person and on video and it is clear to me that unlike her public persona, she is insecure. Like Maloy. And like Maloy, she cannot bear the thought of having her reality questioned. Beware those who, when criticized, become inordinately agressive.
Neither posses the grace of the person they aspire to follow, Shirley Gomes.