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Editorial: Sympathy for Tague's Pauses

Written By Editor on 3/30/18 | 3/30/18


Sympathy for Tague's Pauses

Well, you've probably heard it by now. One assembly candidate excels at publicity well above the other two. Both Aidan O'Connor and Wes Laraway's more conventional campaigns have reached thousands across the district.

Chris Tague has reached over a million across the country.

Our paper uploaded parts of interviews from all three candidates with Don Mathisen at WIOX Roxbury public radio on our YouTube channel. This one about candidate Tague's budget reform ideas (https://youtu.be/eaQD2A7NzTs) made it all the way to top and became viral.

Mr. Tague's replies are not the most polished to say the least. His breathy pauses and sighing for recollection sound like a nightmare. The one where you enter into class in your underwear or forget that there is an important test coming up. Mr. Tague's struggles to talk about the basic parts of New York State budget became a punchline rather than a proper debate.

Copies of the video made it to a prominent YouTube channel, then Howard Stern this week, then a variety of Twitter accounts, including an Assemblyman from Manhattan, Politico writers (twice), a sports site, a Times Union writer, and others. All in all, the collective videos and articles totaled over a million views and quite a few comments. It must be painful for Mr. Tague to have to hear it on repeat.

But perhaps we shouldn't judge Mr. Tague too harshly.

Sometimes public speaking isn't always easy. Knowing that there are a hundred people in front of you or thousands of people listening on the airwaves can cause someone to freeze up. It's not surprising that someone fresh into political office like Mr. Tague would be at a loss of words-- by naming himself the nominee, he never had to go through a stringent primary process and the practice it brings.

In addition, we see a bit of a disconnect in how we view our candidates. From listening to the interviews and watching the campaigns of all three candidates there is a war for the soundbite. Both Wes Laraway and Aidan O'Connor seem more prepared, able to fit a one-liner in with a proposed policy solution. Chris Tague's campaign pitch seems to show someone thinking on the fly and later doing research and practicing. It's happened to all of us, although never on such a large stage. Readers need to consider the priority that any candidate places on policy ideas and speaking prep. Just because Mr. Tague did not do so two months into his campaign is only one part of a much broader story.

We can't blame Mr. Tague for freezing up. Inexperience often does that. We're still looking for how he will be able to express himself in the Assembly if voters give him the chance.


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