Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and her Republican challenger Wendy Long had their one-and-only Senatorial debate last night. And thanks to the moderators, it was an intellectual battle for the ages, with discussions about the state’s lagging economy, the Vito Lopez scandal, birth control issues, and...50 Shades of Grey. Because of course female candidates should be asked whether they read mommy porn during a serious political discussion—this is just like that time Jim Lehrer asked President Obama about his favorite Harry Potter book. Watch a clip of the debate below.
In all fairness, most of the debate truly was worthwhile: the two candidates are far, far apart from each other on almost every issue, with Long particularly conservative in her views and particularly harsh on Obama. But then came the very silly “lightning round,” during which moderators Liz Benjamin and Errol Louis asked a series of yes and no questions. Most of those questions were fine, if smushed together, but bringing up 50 Shades was completely unnecessary, and somewhat demeaning—it's a topic you can be assured no man will ever be asked during a political forum.
Just take a step back and think about this: there are UNITED STATES SENATE candidates, not sultry supermodels. So if you're going to open this door, why not really dive into the dirt then: Where do the candidates stand on fetish slave baby products? Have they ever taken a 50 Shades-related sexcation? Have they ever shared a "deliciously used" copy of the book with their girlfriends? Is Mila Kunis the wrong person to play Anastasia, and why?
According to Quinnipiac, Gillibrand has something like a 40 point lead in recent polls—nevertheless, she was still able to take the event and her opponent seriously. It's just too bad that what was otherwise a pretty good debate was marred by a topic that would be more appropriate during a speed date at an S&M club.