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« Quotation marks | Main | Name this conference »

Nov 29, 2007


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Fred Gregory

Yeah, giving Gen. Kerr the mic and time to filibuster his question isn't bias, huh ?

Dave Dobson

So, I've read a couple conservative blogs complaining about this issue, and I guess I understand being a little perturbed at this. But when I think about it harder, I wonder why it matters who asks the questions. Even if the questions are tough, and point out contentious issues for the party, I think seeing how the candidates answer them would be useful to anybody participating in the primary. After all, in the general election, these folks are going to have to sell themselves to the whole nation.

I'm trying to think of what it would be like if the tables were turned, and if I'd be unhappy. Maybe Wayne LaPierre asking the Dems what they'd do if somebody invaded their homes and attacked their families? Or Falwell showing a video of the snowflake babies and asking why the candidates don't care about the rights of embryos? I think it would be useful and interesting to see how they'd respond to these challenges, and it would be a hell of a lot better than a night full of softball questions.

I think this might be one disservice (among many) that Bush has done for the Republicans - his invite-only, loyalty-oath, easy-question political events might have sold well on TV, and maybe even helped get him elected, but they've produced a leader and an administration that's been unable and unwilling to work with anybody on the other side and which places party before the country.

The result is, they're going to go down as one of the worst administrations in history, and they've put the party as a whole into a hard place. It might be better for parties (not necessarily for individual candidates) to have somebody who can actually address the other side effectively. I think Huckabee's success recently may be in part because of that. I disagree with most of what he's for, but he seems intelligent and thoughtful, and he handles difficult questions pretty well.

So, I think I'd like to see somebody who can answer (not pander to) tough questions from the other side, and I wouldn't mind those questions being asked in a debate, even if the questioners were Republicans.


I think the issue is that you (that's the editorial "you") believe this is a debate. It's not a debate. It's a guided/controlled Q&A designed to get candidates arguing so there can be YouTube moments. I'm not suggesting classic debate rules; however, the TVization of political discussion is entertainment and 24-news-cycle fodder and nothing more. Stop trying to vision it in terms of fairness.

And as for Ed's "unprofessional" comment, IMO this is all about online news creating their new professional rules. If they'd just stop trying to declare themselves "journalists" and stop trying to apply those rules to this medium, it'd be all nice and kosher.

Ed Cone

Sue, the comment about professionalism was from Instapundit, speaking about the professional journalists at CNN.

DD, I agree that tough questions from all points on the compass are good. The problem arises when people are not properly vetted or identified.

Your LaPierre question reminds of the famous undoing of Dukakis, who nerded his way through a response to a question about his reaction to a hypothetical attack on his wife. I always thought he should have said "I would want to take vengeance on the son of a bitch with my own hands, but fortunately we have a justice system."


Here is the problem with the "tough questions from all points"... It not the Dems turn at the Reps possible nominees. That comes later in the process. This was a gathering of Rep and the questions should have been from probable Rep primary voters. I kinda thought that was the idea.

Out of 5000 this is the best they could do? Bull. Stupid and unprofessional. CNN blew it. The silence on this board supports that. Had Fox stumbled in a similar fashion this thread would be 30+ hits with the usual links to videos, parodies, etc.

True or not I dont know but I heard today that the General has actually been a guest on CNN before.

Just plain stoopit! ANd no I dont think it was a vast left wing conspiracy. But I do wholeheartedly believe the videos were selected by a room full of left leaning hacks.

Dave Dobson

Ed -

I guess my point is, what does it matter if the people are vetted and identified, if the question is interesting? In many cases, the questions from Republicans didn't seem that relevant or challenging.

With Dukakis (actually a really decent guy, I talked to him for a few minutes at a wedding once), wouldn't it have been more useful for Democrats to see that he had no good (or at least, no glib) answer to that question before he was the nominee?


It matters if that is not the way it was supposed to be or the way it was represented to the candidates and/or viewers. And it matters if that is not the way the Dems were handled. Even CNN edited out the General in later reruns so they apparently felt at least he was inappropriate.

The silence is deafening. Admit it and move on.

David Wharton

DD -- it matters more for CNN's reputation than for the debate itself. CNN sold the debate (I think) as driven by questions from "ordinary people" but aired a bunch of questions from Democratic political activists.

It gives people reason to believe that CNN really is the "Clinton News Network," and it makes them look stupid for not being able to do a few minutes of Googling to find out who the questioners were.


Good grief! The questions weren't gotchas; who cares who asked them? Well, obviously somebody, but what would y'all be moaning about if the same damn questions had been asked by actual vetted Republican undecided voters? At least you didn't have Wolf Blitzer asking Yes-or-no questions.

Fred Gregory

They didn't use my question. Well, actually I didn't submit one. But if I had it would along these lines : "Were people like military expert John Murtha wrong when they said the surge wouldn't work ". Don't recall a single question on this subject. Surely there must have been one on that issue out of the thousands , as Mick sez, reviewed by the left wing hacks.

Dave Dobson

DW - if CNN had indicated the questions were from Democrats, would it have made it OK? Or would you still have a problem with it? I can't think of a serious issues-oriented question I'd not want asked to the Democrats, and I don't think I'd care much if it were a Republican operative (even a stealth operative) who asked the question. Particularly if it cuts at something that's a potential problem in the general election (e.g. Hillary's initial support for the war, accusations of socialized medicine, gun control, abortion, etc.). In fact, I'd think Republicans might actually be more likely to ask interesting questions than Democrats, and I consider most Republicans to be "ordinary people" too.

Fred, the question you write there is exactly the kind of question that doesn't distinguish between the candidates at all, or challenge them in any way. Everybody except maybe Ron Paul would have produced varying versions of "Yes it's working! Silly Defeatocrats!" without having to define what "working" is or whether it's sustainable. It would be like asking the Democrats "How bad is the Bush administration?" Boring and useless.

Hey, somebody agrees with me. But she's a liberal too, so maybe we're both missing something.

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