First VP debate nothing short of fiery

The first vice presidential debate of the election season was held today by the Panem Debate Council in conjunction with media organizations including The Panem Free Press.

Candidates that competed were required to meet standards set by the PDC, of which six candidates met the qualifications:

  • Governor Rebecca Tarson (Liberty Party-District 12)
  • Representative Jackson Canth (Conservative Party-District 2)
  • Secretary Lynn Germaine (Independent-District 4)
  • Secretary Joan Kindred (Labor Party-District 5)
  • Secretary Samuel Trenton (Civic Party-Capitol)
  • District Representative Pauline Crystal (Independent-District 15)

Pauline Crystal’s appearance on the debate stage is possible thanks to the ruling last week that decided that the Steinbeck/Crystal ticket was eligible on the technicality that they are running under the “Independent Party” ticket and they qualify for the debates as a result.

Topics of the debate included foreign policy, domestic policy, the new recession, and their records.

If a candidate’s name was invoked during another candidate’s response, the first candidate will be allowed to respond.


Below are excerpts from the debate proceedings, based on subjects.


ON FOREIGN POLICY:


Question: “Representative Canth, you are running on a ticket with the President, your brother, and many have accused the Conservative Party and the President of being lax on the threat of terrorism and OE. What do you have to say to those who accuse you and your brother of that?”

Representative Canth: “Lax is not the word I would use. To say that as a party we are lax is to say that we are allowing this to happen, that we enjoy seeing Panem suffer. Our proposals as a ticket this election are solutions that have been well thought-out and well planned. We are going to take this fight straight to OE and avenge our losses, have no doubt.”


Question: “Secretary Kindred, are you in favor of putting troops on the ground in Oceania?”

Secretary Kindred: “While I’m sure that many candidates on this stage would think that’s the best option, I’m going to go on a limb and say that the easiest option isn’t always the best one. I’m in favor of further sanctions on Oceanian countries that aid and abet terrorist organizations, but until we have a conclusive reason to risk the lives of Panem’s soldiers, I do not believe troops should be sent, no.”


Question: “Ms. Crystal, do you believe that you are prepared to provide crucial foreign policy advice to whomever the president is, come January?”

Ms. Crystal: “I understand that many are fearful that I can’t be vice president simply because I’m a measly district representative. I understand, it’s a daunting idea when the last four have previously been three cabinet secretaries and a governor. However, no one is truly prepared for the office that they are running for. It’s impossible. That’s why we have training for jobs in general- you get in there, you learn what to do, and you do what you need to do. Hell, President Everdeen was a citizen before she became president and didn’t hold public office before that. I think that I will be fine, and I think I’ll provide what advice a President Steinbeck needs.”


Question: “Governor Tarson, many have noted how you lack the foreign policy credentials that your Liberty Party opponents had, such as Secretary Jonathan Madison. Do you think that you would provide capable advice to a president?”

Governor Tarson: “Just because I’m a governor does not mean that I do not have foreign policy experience. I’m a world traveler. I know the world like the back of my hand. I’ve met more world leaders than anyone else on this stage. Of course I can offer advisement on this. If needed, I will do what I have to to provide competent advice. If we really want to discuss someone who can’t provide competent advice, let’s talk to Mr. Canth over there. He’s complicit in his brother’s failed policies.”

Representative Canth’s rebuttal: “I sat on the committees on Homeland Security and on Foreign Affairs. Just because you are a world traveler, Governor Tarson, and by the way, I am a representative, not a mister, just because you are a world traveler does not mean you know foreign policy.”


Question: “Secretary Germaine, your position as Secretary of Intelligence easily qualifies you as the most foreign-policy savvy candidate on the stage tonight. Do you break with the Canth administration and other Conservative Party members and call for further action in Oceania?”

Secretary Germaine: “First off, as of yesterday, I have rescinded my Conservative Party membership. I can no longer stay in a party that does not represent my views or interests. Second, I do break with the administration. I think it’s ludicrous that we continue to take hit after hit after hit with no retaliation but simple drone strikes here and there just to appease the voters back at home. To those listening tonight: Mr. Maxwell and I get it. You are pissed off. So are we. That’s why we won’t stand for it any longer. We are going to take the fight to them, and they won’t stand a chance against the most powerful military in the world.”


Question: “Secretary Trenton, whenever you served as Speaker of the Panem House of Representatives, you stated that you were in favor of increased military force, including troops on the ground, in the face of attacks on Panem soil. Considering the attacks in District 4 and other attacks by OE, do you still stand by your previous position?”

Secretary Trenton: “When I said that, we were facing the threat of the International Anti-Nuclear Organization, or IANO. That threat had borders. That threat had true leadership. Oceanian Empire, on the other hand, does not. It has a leader, true, but it does not have true structure. It does not have borders. It is like a hydra- you cut one head off, two more grow back in its place. If we were in the middle of the Fourth World War again, I’d stick by my statement because we would be fighting a true nation. Instead, we are discussing terrorism, which is not traditional war.”


ON DOMESTIC POLICY:


Question: “Governor Tarson, you have run a campaign based on your record as governor, particularly that of District 12’s high rate of growth and large business environment. However, you rarely note the other side, where your district has low graduation rates in addition to low funding for education in general. With the standard for education rising in Panem, how do you plan to lead the Senate in championing education policy considering your past record as governor?”

Governor Tarson: “Well, let me put it this way: I have been pressing for higher education funding for years in District 12, only to have it cut out of the budget every time. I value the education of our children, as they are the future of our nation. To insinuate that I do not value that is heinous and disgusting. As vice president (and therefore, president of the Senate), I would obviously champion this as a key policy under our administration. I have no doubt that any president, no matter the party, would champion this. I would propose a cap on the cost of tuition at universities in Panem as the debt that students incur over their years in college inhibit their success later in life. I would also leave primary and secondary education to the districts to attend to, but at the same time, standards must be set in order to keep this in check.”


Question: “Secretary Trenton, you have campaigned on the promise that you would ensure the conservation of wildlife and the environment through a set of ‘green’ policies. Others have criticized you for this, stating that this would inhibit business and cause a worse recession. What is your response?”

Secretary Trenton: “The conservation of our natural resources is a basic idea that should be universal, but it’s not. And while we’re discussing this, let’s examine who on this stage is decrying this idea. Governor Tarson said it would be ‘disastrous’ to do this because it might hurt Big Business. Secretary Germaine echoed the same thing, saying that it would, and I quote, ‘hurl us into a worse recession than what we are in.’ Representative Canth said that ‘we’ve done enough on this front and that anything further at this time would be detrimental.’ To all three of you: shame on you. Shame that you care not for our future. Shame that you care not for our environment. And shame that you put your donor base at the forefront instead of the good of your nation and the people you may serve.”

Governor Tarson’s rebuttal: “Shame on you, Secretary. You know as well as anyone else on this stage that Panem’s citizens are hurting at home due to the recession that the President has caused. You are too concerned over how to regulate, regulate, and regulate to actually observe reality. Wake up.”

Secretary Germaine’s rebuttal: “You’re right, Mr. Secretary, I do echo Governor Tarson’s remarks. Shame on you. You are one of the reasons that Panem is distrustful of their government.”

Representative Canth’s rebuttal: “First, it would be detrimental. You are talking about regulating businesses to the point where it would no longer be viable to remain open. You need to understand something:  a decent portion of Panem’s citizens own small businesses. You are suggesting massive overreaching regulations that would further put Panem’s citizens out of work. So, yes. It’s detrimental, Mr. Secretary. It’s foolish, and it’s wrong. Shame. On. You. And since I still have time, Governor Tarson, if you would look up from your notes long enough to actually debate, you would find that my brother inherited this recession from the wars that your party started.”


Question: “Secretary Germaine, you have stated throughout the campaign that the ability to carry a gun, as long as the type is permitted under the laws of Panem, is a basic right that should be inserted into our constitution. However, many disagree, stating that inserting that is not necessary and amendments to the constitution should be reserved for serious issues. What is your response?”

Secretary Germaine: “Well, first off, this issue is serious. Second, are we so far removed from the tyranny of Coriolanus Snow that we do not remember what happens when someone moves to remove our ability to carry guns? In that case, let me refresh you. Under Snow, he allowed our use of guns. Then, since there was no constitutional block to assure that he could not do so, he wrote an executive order that banned private ownership of guns. Then he moved to raid homes for them. At the end of the day, that left us with little ability to rise against him, and for about the next century, we lived under his family’s tyranny. That’s what happens without any sort of constitution protection, and that’s why we need it now.”


Question: “Representative Canth, there has been tension between the districts and the federal government over key issues that the districts say they wish to be left to them and them alone, particularly that of policing and transportation. In a second term of a Canth administration, would the voters be assured that these issues will be left to the districts, or will the federal government continue to be involved?”

Representative Canth: “On the issue of policing, we have only authorized federal policing in areas that have either requested it or have sufficient need for it. I understand that Secretary Germaine and Governor Tarson would love to say that we’re creating a police state, but that is simply not the case. On the issue of transportation, the federal government is always going to be somewhat involved. We are the ones that provide funding for our roads and bridges. We provide the regulations to ensure that we are safe on the roads and rails. If we weren’t involved, there wouldn’t be a steady base for our districts to build on.”

Secretary Germaine’s rebuttal: “Representative, I simply don’t understand why you said that. I’ve never accused you of creating a police state. I accused your brother of creating one. Furthermore, it’s a proven fact that the Canth administration is keeping our federal investigative forces in the districts longer than expected with little to no results. It’s pointless and overreaching.”

Governor Tarson’s rebuttal: “Like Secretary Germaine said, I never accused you, Mr. Canth, of creating a police state. However, today, I’ll accuse you of propagating one. I haven’t heard such defense of federal overreach since at least Cecelia Paylor was in office, if not Coriolanus Snow.”


Question: “Ms. Crystal, you have said that the federal government massively overreaches with their regulations. Would you like to elaborate?”

Ms. Crystal: “We have fifteen wonderful districts in Panem as of this very moment. Each of them creates their own laws. Yes, some of them clash from time to time, but it gets settled one way or another. However, it’s overreach when our federal government takes away a district’s ability to self-govern. It’s not our government’s business to interfere with education, or with transportation at a district level. It’s not the government’s business to govern every aspect of the lives of our citizens. That’s what I meant by that comment.”


Question: “Secretary Kindred, you have stated that you are in favor of the creation of a formal Department of Education in order to provide federal structure to the education system of Panem. Critics have said that this is a district issue, while you stated that this isn’t solely left to the districts. Explain why you think so.”

Secretary Kindred: “Education standards throughout the nation are currently set at different levels due to the prevailing idea of district rights, where education is supposed to be solely left to the districts. However, this causes issues in districts that choose not to fund education as well as other districts, like District 8 for example, choose to fund education very well. That shouldn’t be the case. Every child has the right to a good education, and that is why I am a proponent of a Department of Education. I’m not suggesting that the government take over completely, but rather set base requirements for our districts.”


ON THE RECESSION:


Question: “Representative Canth, let’s start with you. Throughout the campaign, you and the President have repeatedly stated that economically Panem’s citizens are doing better than the rest of the world. However, with the recession coming to Panem, this is clearly not the case. Do you think that the Conservative Party should be held responsible for the economic decline in Panem?”

Representative Canth: “Absolutely not. The Liberty Party, led by the Vice President and his friends, have attempted to obstruct my brother and I at every turn. The same goes for the Civic and Labor Parties; they too have prevented sound economic policy from being implemented, though their intentions were different than that of Liberty’s. To say that the Conservative Party is responsible would be ludicrous.”

The other candidates were then asked down the line to answer if they believed the Conservatives were responsible. Every candidate simply answered “Yes.”


Question: “Governor Tarson, Secretary Kindred, Secretary Trenton, Representative Canth just said that your parties are more responsible for the economic decline than his party is. Do you believe that to be true?”

Governor Tarson: “Liberty representatives voted against this bill on the grounds that it would have been detrimental to our economy, putting it in a further state of decline. Even if we had voted for it, it was unlikely to pass anyway. If Mr. Canth could recall correctly, a substantial minority of his members voted in opposition to this bill that he is referencing. The bill was bad, not those who voted against it.”

Secretary Kindred: “If you believe that voting for a bill that doesn’t fix the issue at hand is something that is triggering of an economic decline, I’d advise you to go seek a medical examination.”

Secretary Trenton: “Mr. Canth, I’m inclined to agree with my two rivals here, something I’m not typically prone to doing. Clearly to you, five equals zero, which just happens to make the case that Civic, Labor, and Liberty bad, Conservatives good. You frankly need more than a medical examination. You need to be removed from office and institutionalized.”

Representative Canth’s rebuttal: “If you mean the five members that voted against, sure, a minority voted against. You fail to mention that three Liberty members voted out of line on that bill as well, along with one Labor member. And as for Secretaries Kindred and Trenton’s comments, both of you are reprehensible and low. There’s no need for any sort of disparagement from you.”

Secretary Trenton’s response: “Sure, if you weren’t a blindly devoted traitor.”

The moderator then reprimanded Secretary Trenton for his remarks, but the damage was done.


ON CANDIDATE’S RECORDS:


Question: “Secretary Trenton, your time at the helm of the House is something you put front and center in your campaign. Do you believe that your time as Speaker prepares you to be at the helm of the Senate?”

Secretary Trenton: “Of course. Each is a legislative body, and while the rules aren’t perfectly in alignment, I’m sure I can catch up.”


Question: “Ms. Crystal, as a district representative, you were no stranger to strange statements. You once asked on television if the island of Fenwick in District 4 would tip over due to the amount of military personnel being stationed at the island. As such, many have stated that you aren’t ready for primetime or the vice presidency in general. What do you have to state in response?”

Ms. Crystal: “That statement was simply a joke gone wrong and then taken out of context by the media. I am perfectly ready for this position regardless of what the media thinks.”


Question: “Secretary Germaine, prior to your time as Secretary of Intelligence, you served as mayor of the capital of District 4. During this time, you signed off on a tax hike for the capital, leading to unpopularity. Yet, you campaign on tax reductions now, stating that there is no greater example of fiscal responsibility in the nation. What is your response?”

Secretary Germaine: “My increase in taxes was a proposal given to me by city council that I agreed to put forward as a city proposition. I personally did not support this proposition and campaigned against it. The vote on it was contentious, but the hike ended up winning against my wishes; however, that’s democracy. Though I disagree with this mentality that it’s my fault, I can’t stop that. The truth, however, is that I still stand for fiscal responsibility, even when it’s portrayed that I don’t.”


Question: “Governor Tarson, your opponents have attacked you recently for stating that you are the candidate of the people when your personal wealth is much higher than the average citizen. What is your response?”

Governor Tarson: “Let me just put it this way: I’m not in government for the money. I’ve already pledged to take a single dollar in salary each year. I’m not in government for money, or power, or fame. I’m here to serve. I may have been a successful business owner, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t know what it means to be middle class. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care. It just means that I have the ability to represent them.”


Question: “Representative Canth, you are a firm supporter of free trade. However, when a new free trade deal was proposed with Spain, you voted against it in the House and urged the Conservatives to vote against it as well. What was your reasoning behind this contradiction to your past statement?”

Representative Canth: “Well, it was a bad deal. It shorted Panem and helped Spain much more. Why anyone supported it is an enigma to me. While my commitment to free trade is strong, I believe that Panem should come first in all circumstances.”


Question: “Secretary Kindred, you previously served as a representative in the Panem House of Representatives. In there, you co-sponsored a omnibus spending bill that would have supported subsidies for large corporations that complied with federal regulations on pollution. However, today you state that the current regulations, which are even more strenuous than those in place while you were serving in the House, are not enough. Why did you support giving subsidies to corporations, which, according to your current opinion, are not doing enough to prevent pollution?”

Secretary Kindred: “That bill clearly stated that in order to keep your subsidy, you would have to continue to comply with federal standards. As such, it left the door open to higher federal regulations should those be applied. I have no issue with providing those subsidies. However, I do believe our standards should be much higher so that those corporations should be forced to comply.”


CLOSING STATEMENTS: 


Ms. Crystal: “If you want to return to greatness, vote for me and Governor Steinbeck. If you want to continue our slide into destruction, vote for any other candidate on stage. Thank you.”

Secretary Kindred: “Let me be clear: the Panem we live in is not what we aspire to be as a country. We believe in a Panem that truly runs for the people. If we, as a country, support the corporatism that is supported at the moment by the Conservatives and the Liberty Party, then we fail to truly vote for the best interests of the people of Panem.”

Secretary Trenton: “Secretary Kindred is right, we aren’t living up to our potential. That’s why it’s crucial we elect candidates this November that are supportive of the Panem we wish to be. Don’t vote for the past, vote for the future. Vote Paylor/Trenton and for your local Civic candidates.”

Representative Canth: “Four years ago, my brother promised a more united Panem. He has delivered on that vision. While the obstructive tactics of my opponents’ parties has led to darker times in Panem, I promise to you that with the Conservatives at the helm with a majority in our Congress, we will experience a true revival in this country.”

Secretary Germaine: “It’s high time that we decide whether we want the status quo in this nation or if we want true change. That change comes from the Maxwell/Germaine ticket. It’s time to make Panem great again.”

Governor Tarson: “Four years ago, bribed representatives elected a candidate who has done more damage to our nation than any other president in recent history. As voters, it is up to you to decide if you want to continue down this terrible, destructive path, or if you want to return to the times of President Everdeen, where we were the most successful country on Earth. That’s the difference between my ticket and my opponents, and that’s why it’s imperative to vote for me, Senator Mellark, and the Liberty candidates at home this November. Thank you.”


ANALYSIS: Focus groups were convened following the conclusion of the debate and concluded the following:

Winner(s) of the debate: Governor Rebecca Tarson (Liberty-D12)
Loser(s) of the debate: Representative Jackson Canth (Conservative-D2)
Breakout candidate(s): Secretary Samuel Trenton (Civic-Capitol/D15), Secretary Lynn Germaine (Independent-D4)
Stagnant candidate(s): Secretary Joan Kindred (Labor-D5)

A general vote of who won the debate was taken.

Governor Rebecca Tarson – 51 percent
Secretary Lynn Germaine – 17 percent
Secretary Samuel Trenton – 15 percent
Secretary Joan Kindred – 9 percent
Ms. Pauline Crystal – 7 percent
Representative Jackson Canth – 1 percent

This analysis shows that a clear tiered divide has emerged. In the first tier alone lies Governor Rebecca Tarson, who is all but certain to run away with a win in November. She is immensely popular, and her debate performance was stellar in comparison to the other candidates. In the second tier lie Secretaries Trenton and Germaine who are statistically tied; they deliver solid debate performances but are viewed as tied with the current administration. In the third tier lie Secretary Kindred and Ms. Crystal. Secretary Kindred is viewed as a member of the administration rather than in opposition, and Ms. Crystal is simply in this tier due to her relative anonymity. However, while Kindred is stagnant, Crystal is rising rapidly in comparison. And of course, last and certainly least, Representative Canth alone makes up the fourth tier. He lacks a case for his candidacy following the beginning of the recession and lacks solid debate skills. He’s not popular, nor do the citizens trust the Canths anymore.

A flash poll following the debate was taken of the vice presidential general election.

Governor Rebecca Tarson – 46 percent

Secretary Samuel Trenton – 13 percent

Secretary Lynn Germaine – 12 percent

District Representative Pauline Crystal – 10 percent

Secretary Joan Kindred – 9 percent

Representative Jackson Canth – 2 percent

Undecided – 10 percent

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