They are an even bigger snooze when they are three-way affairs, held on the radio at 8 a.m. And let's throw in the fact the moderator is not a journalist, but a former house speaker, turned convicted felon turned talk show host.
So there's very little to pick through from Tom Finneran's time with Deval Patrick, Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill. Mimicking the current campaign dynamic, it sounded as if everyone dumped on Charlie.
In fact, there's only exchange that leaves me looking for an answer: where did Finneran have his own hip replaced? The Herald's Jessica Heslam makes note of an exchange, without offering the answer:
We know Mistah Speakah had similar work done and that he is a resident of Mattapan, also close to Milton and Carney hospitals. But as the moderator, he felt he was under no obligation to disclose that fact or where his own surgery was performed. He didn't even have to tell whether either of those institutions even perform joint replacements.
Finneran walked away with one of the better soundsbites (sic) when he brought up the governor’s recent hip replacement surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital while pressing him on health care.
Finneran pointed out that Milton Hospital and Carney Hospital are close to the governor’s Milton home and offer orthopedic surgery at “considerable less price.”
“And you chose the Cadillac of Cadillacs,” Finneran said. “Is it one rule for you and a different rule for all the rest of us?”
Finneran’s Cadillac comment invoked Patrick’s rough start in the Corner Office and his ill-advised decision to cruise around in a pricey Cadillac.
Major league cheap shot in my book -- something debate moderators are not supposed to engage in.
It would seem a golden rule going forward would be that debate hosts hold the candidates -- and themselves -- to high standards. The public does have a right to know the biases at work.