If only they were all this entertaining…Michael van Baker at SunBreak: “If

If only they were all this entertaining…Michael van Baker at SunBreak: “If you missed the standing-room-only debate at the Seattle Public Library, you didn’t miss much.” Word. Last night’s City Club sponsored event may have been packed, but not much new was said. Mallahan wants the tunnel. McGinn don’t. Mallahan wants to repeal the $5 million “head tax.” McGinn don’t. And hey, did you know that 20 years hawking cell phones prepares you to run a major American city? Yes, yes you did know that. Despite treading over the same old trails, however, the debate wasn’t totally without highlights…- During the night’s lightning round, the candidates were asked to raise green (yes), red (no) or yellow (waffle) placards on quick-fire questions. When asked if they supported Tim Eyman’s I-1033, both Mallahan and McGinn didn’t waste any time flashing red. To really show he was serious about not freezing the budget at recessionary levels, Mallahan then flicked off the placard and, incidentally, the audience as well.- Both candidates were asked how they’d reduce their learning curve considering neither has held publicly elected office. Both did a good job of ignoring the question. But Mallahan did talk some about how, at T-Mobile, he’d instituted a policy of management called “Shadow of the Leader.” Based on that wonderfully Maoist comment, we’re thinking Average Joe may have a shot at leading some far-flung Chinese province, if not the city of Seattle.- A theme emerged. The same theme that *gasp* has been present in just about every debate since the campaign began. Ask McGinn a direct question and he’ll give, or refer you, to a specific action plan. Ask Mallahan the same and he’ll answer it with a metaphor. Mallahan’s reputation of style-over-substance exists for a reason. Throughout the night, Average Joe gave off the air of the “cool” dad. The guy trying to impress his daughter’s friends by saying it was OK to stay up late and watch scary movies at the sleepover. (Perhaps the same kind of attitude that might win you a debate where taking shots of whiskey earns you more time to talk, no?)Flicking off Eyman, the lack of specifics in his answers, the hammy way he shadowboxed before the debate began. It all felt so…un-Mayorly. Especially compared to McGinn.SunBreak is dead-on when they say that McGinn may be too sure of the strengths of his own convictions. The “activist’s righteous petulance” that they refer to is certainly right there on the surface for everyone to see. But when given the option between the smirking cell phone exec without a concrete plan and the neighborhood organizer who’s convinced of, perhaps even dogmatic about, the certainty of his own ideas, doesn’t it make sense to side with the guy who at least acts like this is serious business?

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