Tonight I met both Bernie Reeves and Bill Randall. They are competing for the seat (NC-13) currently held by Brad Miller.The photos were taken by my son Trey.
Some quick impressions.
Bernie Reeves has both a depth and mastery of the issues that I was previously unaware of. Add to that his smooth delivery and comfort in the public eye while on stage and what we have in Bernie Reeves is the makings of an excellent candidate. In only one instance did Reeves make a misstep outside his normal polish. He allowed a flash of what I, at first, deemed anger, but later feel was frustration, slip past him.
Unfortunately I feel I should speak to that issue. Reeves had a quibble with the time Bill Randall had taken to answer a question and also that Bill Randell had delivered closing statements in addition to his answer to the original question. The moment of frustration revealed itself when a Randall supporter called Reeves a cry baby or something to that effect. The person was across the room from me so the comment was indistinct. Reeves observed aloud that he must be in a room full of Randall supporters. True or not, that was the moment his frustration flared. I heard, at least one case of hushed shock. Unfortunate. It occurred to me that at that moment Reeves may have been considering a possible loss to Randall. Perhaps he simply forgot he was on camera. (Skip to the 2:00 mark through the 4:50mark in the video below.)
Bill Randall was the third person my son and I met at the event. He was greeting people at the door and he even gave my son a fist bump. Cool. My son will remember that. Bill Randall, like Reeves, is an excellent speaker. This is true, though, only when he feels he fully understands the material he is speaking to. There were, unfortunately, many times when Randall was outclassed in comparison to Reeves if one measured the differences between the two solely in terms of depth of knowledge. Randall, though, showed in each answer that he understood the fundamental principles upon which to reach the right conclusion. I saw no apparent missteps by Randall with the exception of some moderate distraction between questions.
In the end the two candidates agreed far more than they disagreed. Not a surprise. And on points scored Reeves came away with a victory.
Reeves is the more polished more establishment candidate with established supporters and is a formidable and impressive debater with knowledge on tap. Unfortunately it is that plethora of knowledge that frightens me with Reeves. He reminds me of long time representatives with a wealth of experience that, invariably, tends to lead those representatives astray. Knowledge and its mastery is not an anchor from which leadership is reliably sourced and those who choose to lead from it get lost in the greys of that knowledge and too often drift from their core beliefs.
This expressed itself in a question on oil drilling and the impact the BP oil spill has on the two candidates position on drilling. Reeves answered that he had changed his opinion and could no longer support drilling. To me he seemed to loose his anchor, and instead gave a politically expedient answer.
By comparison, Randall held strong to his conviction and expressed that we should learn from the accident and avoid repeating it in the future with the understanding that there is currently no future without oil. An answer based on conviction and deft.
In the past I would have supported Reeves without a second thought, but I feel burned by establishment conservatives. Unfortunately Reeves feels very establishment and perhaps too easily set drifting between compelling arguments.
I want conviction, a Plymouth Rock.
News 14 report here.