Facing the embarrassing debacle of a sophomoric debated hosted by the Clinton News Network and various cartoon characters from YouTube, only two GOP candidates, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, have had the courage to decline the invitation, and even they claim scheduling conflict (even though Romney has been quoted as saying, "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman").
What’s with the rest?
Do they have no dignity, no courage, no sense of propriety?
It was bad enough when Bill Clinton dignified a question about what kind of underwear he wore (we never expected much dignity from him anyway), but the YouTube questioners are goof-offs and morons asking idiotic and I suspect, sometimes planted questions. The Democrats’ response was to simply ignore the questions and talk about something else. That kind of mindless politicking may go over with Dems, but Republicans are more savvy, and won’t like candidates ignoring questions regardless how silly they are. ("That’s hardly an appropriate question, don’t you think." is what most Republicans would have expected from a qualified candidate asked about his underwear choice, not a launch into some other, completely unrelated subject.)
Of course there’s still time for other candidates to discover "scheduling conflicts" nevertheless, I keep expecting at least one of them to laugh and ask where the adults will be debating.
YouTube is interesting if you want to watch people goofing off, amateur musicians searching for an audience, some older Craig Ferguson monologues or a studied analysis of the varieties of flatulence, but it’s hardly a source for the kind of dignified, well-thought, political questions that belong on a debate. Really, there’s only so many ways you can ask, "What kind of bread and circuses are you going to promise me if I vote for you?!?"
Besides, I think in the long run it’s not the questions or the answers that win a debate. Personally I think GWB cinched it against Al Gore when Al, trying to be more "Alpha Male", lurched up from his chair while GWB was answering a question. Bush, turned in alarm, with body language loudly saying he was ready to knock Al into yesterday. It may have been subtle and unspoken, but a lot of Americans at that moment recognized in GWB someone who rose to a challenge rather than trying to figure out an angle.
Using YouTube because it somehow allows "ordinary" Americans to ask questions, is nonsense. People on YouTube aren’t ordinary. Go watch some of those videos. Most of them are losers with way, way too much time on their hand. They don’t represent the "main stream" or the "common man" any more than Ringling Brothers circus does. What they do represent is a way for Liberals to pretend to be concerned by the "average guy" while making laws that make life harder for them. Video slumming.
I will be sorely disappointed in any GOP candidate that lowers himself to participate in that debate.
Danny Carlton blogs at JackLewis.net.