Video: Dalrymple And Taylor Debate
The second debate in the gubernatorial race between Republican Jack Dalrymple and Democrat Ryan Taylor was tonight (video below), and I think this quote from Taylor pretty much sums up the contrast between these two candidates:
“There’s certainly some big numbers,” Taylor said in response to a Dalrymple answer about state spending on infrastructure and other areas in response to the oil boom, “but they’re not big enough.”
This was a debate between candidate I’ll Spend A Lot and candidate I’ll Spend A Lot More. There were no original ideas on display. There wasn’t even really any discernible ideology. Both of these candidates are rank panderers, though Taylor probably has the edge.
The Democrat has made scare-mongering about the oil boom a staple of his campaign (see this ad), and tonight was no different. He talked of rising crime rates (which is actually inaccurate as it seems crime incidents are keeping pace with population if you look at the numbers), and sought to play on the emotions and fears of North Dakotans living in communities that are changing rapidly.
Again, this has been a theme of his campaign, but you have to wonder how much impact it’s having. By a lot of measures, things in the oil patch seem to be settling down. Housing is starting to catch up. Schools aren’t quite seeing the massive influxes of students they were expecting. Some of the most dramatic pronouncements of change in the west are being exposed as hyperbole. Taylor is still looking to press that button, but he’s likely reached a point of diminishing returns.
Taylor, too, pandered on property taxes making it clear that his plan for property tax relief – which most North Dakotans agree is needed – would give relief to renters who don’t actually pay the property tax. Giving tax relief to people who don’t actually pay the tax in question isn’t really tax relief at all. It’s wealth redistribution, though that’s certainly in keeping with Taylor’s reputation.
There really isn’t a lot for conservatives to get excited about in this race. If we elect Dalrymple we’ll get a continuation of the Hoeven approach to governance, which is big budget increases and central economic planning. If we elect Taylor we’ll get that plus a leader who is keen on wealth redistribution and hostile (if subtly) to energy development.