The Republican gubernatorial debate on Channel 2 last night convinced me of one thing. Those who have worried about Topinka scooping up the marbles are wrong. While it is more advantageous for Jim Oberweis (who did very well in the debate) to position himself as the Topinka challenger, I think the real contest will be between Oberweis and Brady. Reason: I dont know what shes done to herself and maybe it was my TV set, but Judy looked haggard, at least ten years older than she is (61). Could it be she lost too much weight? In which case remind me not to do the same. Its better to be fat and have the wrinkles fill out than to be gaunt and have the wrinkles stand out there. While its not politically correct to criticize a ladys appearance, I thought her hands were shockingly gnarled when she raised them to gesture. Either the years or her makeup person torpedoed her.
In addition to which, those who expected a tone of authority to come from one who is state treasurer, was state senator and state representative, it didnt. I thought she would have communicated a sense of ease with business topics. Asked where in the budget she would cut, she said the driveway to the governors mansion which Rod isnt using anyhowa saving of $1 million. I agree with those who say Oberweis occupied the Reagan posture even to the deferential bob of the head to show humility. He was superbly equipped to give authority in the debate and that he did.
I also think that the debate helped Bill Brady enormously. He has been the unknown factor up here in northern Illinois. His description of himself as Goldielockshalf way between Topinkas experience and the businessmens non-experience, was masterful and a winner. So in summary, I think the race is between Oberweis and Brady. If it becomes such, will Topinka slip in? After last night, I dont think so. She simply didnt show the expertise her backers have insisted she has.
Im not much impressed by those who say Oberweis has run several times and hasnt won. Bill Proxmire, who became the leading Democrat in Wisconsin, ran for governor in 1952, 1952 and 1956and lost every time. When he asked why he wasnt winning, the answer came back that he was too smooth, too prepared, too oracular almost like a radio announcer. Proxmire then began to scratch his head, say well a lot before answering and hem and haw as if in deep thought. It took many years for him to develop a style that carried him through his career.
Theres no doubt that television is Bradys medium. To my friends who say I dwell too much on telegenic charm, I remind them on JFK on the tube and the haggard, tired, grey Nixon in response. Brady is a made for TV candidate, Oberweis less so. Gidwitz is just himself. Frankly, I didnt think Gidwitz bombed: he just was himself which isnt too bad when recognized as a non-charismatic businessman.
So in summary: I think the race could well be between Oberweis and Brady. I have changed my impression of Judy. The longer she is away from the cameras the better she looks, but when theyre all together she comes off second to worst. Unless she gets a new makeup artist and better command of the statistics befitting her reputation.