Tuesday, November 20, 2012

First Debate: Trent Wotherspoon

Standard Disclaimer: Also, I'm worried some of this might sounder harsher than I mean it to. I want to assure you all that I am by no means belittling or attacking any of the candidates; rather, I'm offering my perceived take and ways to address what I see as problems from the first debate. If I offend anyone, I offer my apologies ahead of time, and assure you that my intention was not to offend; I suppose it is hard to discuss legitimate criticism, but I feel that we need to in order to really get the best out of our candidates.

Positives

1.) One thing Trent has been very good at is achieving that "everyman" feel when he speaks; he's quick to mention communities across Saskatchewan, and really gets the point across that he's well-traveled and well informed of both rural and urban issues.

2.) Like Ryan, Trent is also pretty good at speaking in a rather hopeful way. To a degree, however, his statements tend to have a stronger sense of realism and less (for want of a better word) naivety about them. You get the sense that he is passionate about these issues, and that he has a realistic approach to dealing with them.

3.) Trent is also one of the candidates who frequently mentions other candidates and some of the policies they've brought forward; at the very least, it shows that doesn't feel threatened to give credit where it is due and is willing to listen to the good ideas and thoughts that are generated through the leadership race.

Negatives

1.) Trent has a bit of a tendency to wander off topic, at least he did in this first debate. He has created good policies regarding education and addressing poverty, but he seemed to always bring questions (regardless of relevance) back to these two topics. And while there is a case to be made for those two issues having an impact on numerous other issues, there was one moment in the debate where he wandered onto these issues from a question that was completely unrelated. (After solid hours of blogging, my mind is drawing a blank of the specific question, but I think it was in regard to the women in politics question.)

And while those are two great planks that he has put forward, I'd worry that an over-reliance to mention them for every question might present the perception that other policy areas aren't as fully fleshed out or prepared; regardless of whether or not they are.

2.) Like Cam, Trent didn't seem to be completely personable during this debate. While he does project a good 'everyman' image, I don't think he managed to completely step outside of his comfort zone during the debate (though I hear he corrected this during the SYND Party after the debate). Considering what I've heard from that, I think Trent would benefit a little from bringing that side of his personality out a little more during the next debate.

Areas for Growth

As mentioned, Trent has put out some very good policy planks and I think he would be well served in mentioning them more often. It's a shame that during his closing statements he didn't really mention too his policies towards reviving democracy or the party, but instead stuck to generalities. I think if he can work in references to his full policy spectrum, as opposed to sticking primarily to education and poverty reduction, he can express full comfort in discussing all the issues that will come up during the debates.

Final Thoughts

Trent is doing well in the public perception part of the race, and I think that it will continue to serve him well outside of the debates as he meets one-on-one with people. At the same time, I do think he didn't come across as personable as he could during this debate, and would benefit from loosening up a bit more during the next debate; effectively, he needs to get non-debate Trent, or at least a part of him, into the debate.

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