Tonight's debate in Albany proved every word of Creative Loafing's description of the two in last week's article where they endorsed Cox for governor.
We still believe that, once the campaign is over and the smoke clears, Cox will be the best person to lead the state of Georgia. She ran the secretary of state's office effectively and efficiently. She has demonstrated a commitment to reforming the state government and pushing for ethics reform. And she has a genuineness that is rare in politics, and that is even more noticeable when she's standing in a room next to the polished and borderline smarmy Taylor.
Being governor is about more than just getting elected. It's about representing the people. And we think Cathy Cox is the best person for the job.
Cox spoke directly to the people on the issues. She delivered crisply, accurately, and from the heart. And when Mark Taylor tried to play "the victim" of a negative campaign that he started, Cathy looked directly at him and responded. Meanwhile, perhaps Taylor hasn't been talking about issues enough during the campaign. Because he needed to read from notecards several times.
Something else that stuck out is that Cathy talked about fresh ideas and approaches to fixing Georgia's problems, particularly in education. This was no surprise to anyone that's heard her speak on the campaign trail or read her plans for numerous areas of Georgia's future on her website. She talked about using proven models and research - a theme that Mark tried to pick up himself tonight. But these are things that Cathy has been suggesting for quite some time now. Unlike Mark's, her education plan has been out for public inspection for several months now. Her education plan is included in her new covenant.
Amazingly, Mark tried to play the victim. Even though he initiated negative attacks against Cathy in December 2004, started his attack ads (most of which called false by 4 different respected journalists) earlier, and ran more of them. It was rather Nellie Olson-ish of him in an attempt to have his cake and eat it too.
And lastly, in the post debate interview with WAGA, Cathy made an exellent point about Mark's inability in the last 10 years to do anything about Georgia's high drop out rate and other education issues. Like Gov. Perdue, Mark has been in a position in the senate to improve Georgia's educational standings. Yet, Georgia remains 49th in most statistical categories. Mark himself talked about his effort to reduce class sizes, but he also had to admit that his efforts had failed.
Meanwhile, Cox has worked in the Secretary of State's office since 1996. She's improved her office, made it much more customer friendly, produced a website that was named the Center for Digital Government's "Best Constitutional Website" of any elected official in the nation in 2003, and was named as one of Governing Magazine's 11 Public Officials of the Year, being the nation's first Secretary of State to be so honored.
Given Cox's high degree of accomplishment, her knowledge and understanding of problems, her creative, common sense solutions, and her proven ability to work in a bipartisan manner, maybe it's time to see what she can do for education in Georgia.
By any standard, tonight would have to be considered a big success for Cathy Cox.