Disaster: GOP may bail on September CNN YouTube debate; Update: Ruffini responds to Hewitt

posted at 7:49 pm on July 26, 2007 by Allahpundit

It’s not certain yet but Rudy’s “unlikely to attend” and Mitt won’t commit. Ruffini puts it succinctly:

This is a big mistake. The Democrats are afraid to answer questions from Big Bad Fox News Anchors, and the Republicans are afraid to answer questions from regular people. Which is worse?…

Yes, some of the questions on Monday were trivial. Yes, they were partisan. (I expect many of the 9/17 questioners to be partisan Republicans.) Yes, they were messy. But so is democracy. And the fact that some place so much faith in the broken mainstream media over a benign format like this one says a lot about the difficult straits the Republicans are in right now.

The debate Monday night was no worse than the three previous ones and even if it hadn’t been, having to endure two hours of talking snowmen is worth it given the endless mileage the Democrats would get from them skipping out. “The GOP can’t face the people, the GOP can’t handle unorthodox questions, the GOP has no sense no fun” — it’s a PR disaster in the making. Although I’m not surprised it’s Rudy who’s leading the way. Formats that don’t lend themselves to pat answers aren’t his strong suit.

But why should the rest of the field follow his lead? In the case of the Fox debate, they all had to get out after Edwards got out lest they be seen as embracing Fox News and end up ceding to him the progressive high ground. In this case, if the frontrunner walks, the rest have every incentive to attend and then bludgeon Rudy with the same no-guts-no-fun talking points the Democrats have on ice. Fred in particular would want to be there as it’s set for three weeks after he’s supposed to declare and he needs all the free exposure he can get. His persona would work well in that forum too. McCain will be there, I assure you. In fact, having the rest of the field walk away would be his dream come true, as it would give him a stage to himself to do his maverick shtick and resuscitate his candidacy. Given all the obvious advantages to the others, Rudy will be there too. He’ll have no choice.

Then again, what does it matter?

Update: Another good one from Ruffini although he makes too much of the Rathergate analogy. No one except a few handfuls of bloggers and media wonks will care if the GOP comes off as pro-big media; everyone will care if they come off looking cowardly in the face of unscripted questions. He’s got Hewitt dead to rights on this point, though:

While I can certainly appreciate the desire to avoid “set up” questions, it is intellectually dishonest to simultaneously attack the Democrats for running from Fox News while raising the red flag at agenda journalism in the form of CNN/YouTube. I couldn’t agree more with what one of the Republican candidates said about this:

“Why is it that the Democrats wouldn’t even go on Fox, but we Republicans are happy to sit there and have Chris Matthews of the Carter administration, former chief of staff to (ex-House speaker) Tip O’Neill? We’re happy to sit there and have him dish questions to us, but they won’t even go on Fox.”

That candidate? Mitt Romney.

You can’t go crying about the Democrats ducking Fox and then pat Rudy Giuliani on the back for having the savvy to avoid a “set up,” boys. That dog won’t eat the dog food, as Fred’s latest cornpone koan (sort of) goes. Ruffini’s right too about the criticism that the YT debate is “unpresidential.” Revisit this video comparison Media Blog put together last month and remind yourself what a crack job the big media types at MSNBC did. I assure you, nothing will be asked by any YouTube user that’s half as moronic or undignified as “What do you dislike most about America?”


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Battling a sense of inevitability (61% I believe) about Hillary being next President. Sorry for confusion.

Spirit of 1776 on July 26, 2007 at 10:16 PM

Ouch! Now you’re quoting Limbaugh!

OK, I’ll take everything back and agree. Let’s do a uTube debate for all the good it’ll do. The pack is way too crowded on both isles anyway, and it’s way too early in the game.

Time to thin the herd.

Kini on July 26, 2007 at 10:22 PM

From the “what does it matter” link:

Nine months after Republicans were routed in the midterm elections, campaign observers, K Street lobbyists and political experts say there is little evidence the party can rebound in 2008.

Let’s see, three recent news items about supposed GOP messiah, Fred Thompson:

1. He just named open-borders sellout Spencer Abraham to his campaign team.
2. He employs Mary Matalin, arguably the losingest campaign strategist on the planet, perhaps rivaled only by Bob Shrum.
3. Oh, yes, his wife is making all the key policy decision for the campaign.

Summary? We’re screwed.

Suggested GOP ’08 slogans:
Keep hopelessness alive!
or
And you thought the Dole ’96 campaign sucked …

Ali-Bubba on July 26, 2007 at 10:22 PM

Maybe they should just show up to the debate in zany costumes.

Blacklake on July 26, 2007 at 10:30 PM

So I guess now, all of a sudden, the YouTube “community” is the voice of the average Joe in America? You have got to be kidding. The CNN/SpewTube debate was pure marketing and pandering to mindless screwballs and that is democrat territory.
The GOP can attend this debate but if I don’t see a lot of heads slowly shaking in disgust or a hell of a lot of quizzical looks (preferably with one raised eyebrow) at the ridiculous questions that will be asked, I am going to the hills of New Hampshire and do my best Jeremiah Johnson impersonation.
Hey- Here is a fun game I play: Go to youtube and pick a video-any video and see how many posts you have to read before you find one without glaring grammatical errors.

Sorry T.S., but this is how the world ends…

mojowire on July 26, 2007 at 10:30 PM

Ouch! Now you’re quoting Limbaugh!

Well if he said that, I agree. : )

Spirit of 1776 on July 26, 2007 at 10:32 PM

Fine. You’re all right.

Republicans should ignore all debates that smack of liberals, or icky marketing.

That whole ‘connecting with the people thing?’

Totally overrated.

Slublog on July 26, 2007 at 8:20 PM

Please remember that this is a Primary debate.

Big S on July 26, 2007 at 10:42 PM

La lune ne tourne pas autour de la terre ! Idiots américains

Egfrow on July 26, 2007 at 10:43 PM

Three steps back for the party typically seen as a bunch of elitist tight asses. I hope they don’t pull out, because I want to ask them a question. I’m not sure what it is yet, but I want that chance.

mram on July 26, 2007 at 10:47 PM

Three steps back for the party typically seen as a bunch of elitist tight asses. I hope they don’t pull out, because I want to ask them a question. I’m not sure what it is yet, but I want that chance.

mram on July 26, 2007 at 10:47 PM

Oh crap, sorry about that

mram on July 26, 2007 at 10:47 PM

Sigh

Dash on July 26, 2007 at 10:55 PM

Please remember that this is a Primary debate.

Big S on July 26, 2007 at 10:42 PM

True, but its also fodder for the general election, which is why I think the Republicans should hold an alternate, FOX NEWS/IFILM debate. It can be sold as a push in business for IFILM, the less looney version of YouTube, on a Network that people actually watch.

The Far-Leftists then drone on about evil “Faux News,” and all we have to do is throw out that CNN is one of those “9-1 Networks” as far as journalists contributing to Democrats over Republicans.

BKennedy on July 26, 2007 at 11:01 PM

Disaster? You mean like the disaster suffered by the Dems for boycotting Fox? What? Oh, never mind.

Regular folks could care less. They don’t even know what YouTube is. And when the MSM kicks up it’s heels, it’s an opening for bringing up the Fox boycott. Besides, most people will agree with skipping a stupid YouTube/CNN dumb debate. Heck I wouldn’t even waste my time watching it.

TheBigOldDog on July 26, 2007 at 11:05 PM

Im still waiting for the Michelle Malkin hosted debate with moderaters Laura Ingrahm and other right & beautiful women.

William Amos on July 26, 2007 at 11:06 PM

I agree with the “arguing with idiots only make you look like a idiot” idea, and I fully believe a JihadTube I mean YouTube debate will be filled with idiot LLL’s questions. HOWEVER I think it should be absolutely imperative for US to not pick another leader that cannot speak and take head on his enemies. Bush has the right ideas and will (does somehow get what needs to be done done from the back rooms) but he cannot speak/debate even his weakest enemies of the Left.

I will look forward to this debate because to me I want a pit bull that will literally rip and tear, and of course has the primary goal to win this GWOT. So far the only two that even register is Rudy and Fred (my optimum would be Newt but I don’t know if he is going to run short a Rove type position). Fred’s take down of Moore got my attention and Rudy’s eating of Paul likewise but a direct pit fight against some LLL idiocy being called and shamed as just that IDIOCY on national TV during a debate would be sweeter than sweet.

The president during a time of war should be rallying the gen pop and if the Dums want to play against a active US war effort then they should suffer the attacks. We should be questioning their patriotism we should be calling them anti-american and threating them with Espionage Act. Murtha’s “killed them in cold blood wolf” should be a regular club at every presidential PRIME TIME speech as proof ofg Democrat anti-military anti-america attitude. Let em prove otherwise force them to the defensive position were such idiocy should be. Durbin’s “Pol Pot, Stalin, Gulags” should be the same. Even Clintons “plan for withdraw military request” that is right now Aljizz front page kid you not should be broken over their f*ckin head.

C-Low on July 26, 2007 at 11:06 PM

What a mistake. In politics perception is everything. If Republicans refuse to do the CNN YouTube debate, the MSM will have a field day. Yes, it’s unfair, yes, it’s unbelievable that the MSM won’t say a freaking word about dem’s not doing Fox, but that’s the way this works. Anyone who doesn’t do it shows lack of judgment.

Remember, HA readers are the kinds of voters who pay attention. We are in the minority!! Most voters are so busy working and taking care of their families they don’t have time to pay attention, so they believe the lies in the MSM…how else could so many dem’s have won in 06?

Arghhhhhhhh

JustTruth101 on July 26, 2007 at 11:09 PM

I guess we could go to youtube ourselves and offer intelligent questions.

I think I could make a good vid. If we dont surrender the floor to the nutroots we should fight them at their own game.

William Amos on July 26, 2007 at 11:12 PM

The whole idea that CNN choosing nutroot video questions for the republican candidates to answer was going to be a good thing was always insane. As much as a good idea as having that low life Chris Matthews run a republican debate. Just proof that the republicans are unwilling and unable to stand up to the leftists. We can have an adult, sane, legal election process and the republican candidate may have a chance or we can let the leftists and their propaganda wing the msm run it and we can expect democrat presidents for a very long time.

My bet is that we are about to see a very long string of leftists in the White House.

peacenprosperity on July 26, 2007 at 11:13 PM

What a mistake. In politics perception is everything. If Republicans refuse to do the CNN YouTube debate, the MSM will have a field day. Yes, it’s unfair, yes, it’s unbelievable that the MSM won’t say a freaking word about dem’s not doing Fox, but that’s the way this works. Anyone who doesn’t do it shows lack of judgment.

So might as well lie back and enjoy it, huh?

peacenprosperity on July 26, 2007 at 11:15 PM

After I have endorsed the Republicans going to this debate, let me just backtrack a teeny, weeny bit -

If any Republican wants out of the debate, then he should do it properly; find some objectionable videos on YouTube and say that he will not participate with any company associated with such filth. I think everyone would accept that. There are tons of jihadi videos to pick from, or some other nasty video on YouTube, and I think that all would accept this and admire it.

progressoverpeace on July 26, 2007 at 11:16 PM

If any Republican wants out of the debate, then he should do it properly; find some objectionable videos on YouTube and say that he will not participate with any company associated with such filth. I think everyone would accept that. There are tons of jihadi videos to pick from, or some other nasty video on YouTube, and I think that all would accept this and admire it.

That’s great, a true way to win, Be disingenuous and dishonest. Great strategy. How about the truth, it’s a stupid idea and we don’t trust CNN not to ambush everyone of the republican candidates. The whole country thinks the you tube thing was ans is stupid and the weigh to get out of it is to feign outrage at some other video..

We are going to get destroyed in 2008.

peacenprosperity on July 26, 2007 at 11:20 PM

That’s great, a true way to win, Be disingenuous and dishonest. Great strategy.

It’s not disingenuous. It’s political strategizing, sure, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing in a political campaign.

How about the truth, it’s a stupid idea and we don’t trust CNN not to ambush everyone of the republican candidates.

Because they’ve already done a CNN debate! The CNN part cannot be the objectionable part.

The whole country thinks the you tube thing was ans is stupid and the weigh to get out of it is to feign outrage at some other video..

Who needs to feign? I’m sure there are more than enough videos there that people will truly find objectionable. Do you object to someone looking for them?

We are going to get destroyed in 2008.

peacenprosperity on July 26, 2007 at 11:20 PM

It’s possible, though I don’t think so. It’s still a long way off. Much will happen in between.

progressoverpeace on July 26, 2007 at 11:28 PM

We are going to get destroyed in 2008.

peacenprosperity on July 26, 2007 at 11:20 PM

To quote a great strategist, “WAS IT OVER WHEN THE GERMANS BOMBED PEARL HARBOR? HELL NO!”

TheEJS on July 26, 2007 at 11:33 PM

I don’t want a leader that cannot slam some half wits from YouTube. I again repeat the US cannot afford again to have a leader that cannot take on his enemies head on and shame crush them.

We got Murtha “they killed them in cold blood wolf” Murtha, Durbin “like Pol Pot, Stalin, Gulags” Durbin, “we lost” before it even gets started Reid, “minute men” Moore, ect……..and a president that cannot/willnot use these easy clubs to beat the Dums. Question their patriotism, question their natural hatred of the military or mythical “military industrial complex”, freekin call them out force them to defend and prove otherwise. Talk about how many time scratch that bring up EVERY TIME the X dum makes front page Aljizz as proof we are losing. Just sitting back taking idiotic Nazi innuendo’s, doom, failure, give up, idiocy and never fighting back is retarted and a losing strategy.

We need a Pitbull not another Curr dog.

C-Low on July 26, 2007 at 11:34 PM

The questions that were asked by the “people” on CNN/Youtube, were in fact chosen by CNN, NOT the “people”. Over 3000 were submitted and only about 25 were hand selected by the liberal hacks at CNN. We all know damned well all the tough questions exposing their hypocrisy on the issues were eliminated by CNN. You can bet your ass, this will not happen with the GOP questions.

roninacreage on July 26, 2007 at 11:37 PM

progressoverpeace on July 26, 2007 at 11:28 PM

How about, this may be a novel and crazy idea, conservatives act like conservatives and have a grown up rational campaign no matter what the looney left wants to do.
They have to go on CNN because they went on before. That’s deep thought.
CNN, MSNBC, the league of women voters. See any patterns here?

peacenprosperity on July 26, 2007 at 11:37 PM

Then again, what does it matter?

and

We are going to get destroyed in 2008.

The K Streeters — and apparently others — need to learn and internalize something about political polling. Generic questions are entertaining, but often useless.

If you look at the head-to-head polling of actual candidates (and even maybe someday candidates), most of the likely matchups are close to margin of error. So with all the GOP baggage, deserved and undeserved, the GOP race is competitive at the top, and that’s before people are paying any attention.

The most likely Dem nominee, HRC almost always has unfavorables in the forties. Giuliani’s unfavorables are in the twenties or low thirties. Fred! has unfavorables in the teens, and most people haven’t heard of him — as opposed to HRC who has near-universal recognition.

And the race for POTUS will drive turnout in races down the ticket.

As I noted the other day, the dog days of summer seem to drive a certain type of craziness.

Karl on July 26, 2007 at 11:37 PM

I don’t want a leader that cannot slam some half wits from YouTube. I again repeat the US cannot afford again to have a leader that cannot take on his enemies head on and shame crush them.

An evening of republican candidates answering “Do you still beat your wife” questions moderated by a snearing liberal.

I stand corrected, they will all come of looking presidential.

peacenprosperity on July 26, 2007 at 11:39 PM

peacenprosperity Debate skills should be a primary for a politician.

“Do you still beat your wife” Or such idiocy

turn to CNN moderator “Is this really what CNN calls filtered, the best CNN could do with 3k YouTube submissions? This is a joke, Yes of course and I kill baby ducks and eat babies on the weekend sure yeah ha hahah next question”

C-Low on July 26, 2007 at 11:55 PM

Why are these Q&As called debates? The questions and time limits are an affront to American voters. The Miss America pageant is more informative for crissake. Each candidate should be given a set amount of time to highlight what he thinks his past accomplishments are and his qualifications to be President. This is a big country, although a candidates local constituency may know him the rest of us only get a short answer on isolated questions. This freakin Improv comedy shop format is bogus, and forget CNN/Youtube. So the CNN crew gets to pick the youtube clips?! Come on! Don’t you think CNN will put our candidates in a bad light like they did the people in the clips they picked for the Dems. Inference and connotation go a long way in the minds of people. It works well for the Dems who govern with social programs, but for the Rebubs who actually have solutions and proven track records its not working.

sonnyspats1 on July 26, 2007 at 11:56 PM

I almost commented earlier, that i thought they should skip it. But i wanted to think about it. I’m glad I did. Go for it. How much worse could it be than MSNBC?
I’ve been saying all along CNN is gonna stack the deck. So what, you come out looking good. Nobody’s going to watch anyway, except maybe us, or people like us. Any Dims that watch won’t be voting in the primaty anyway.
Think if that question about the “baby” came up for Hunter. His answer “Hell no, I won’t take it away. Got one at home just like it.”
Treat it for what it is. But say we’re not like the Dims who are afraid of FNC. And say it at speeches so it gets picked up by the media. Take a shot.

PowWow on July 27, 2007 at 12:07 AM

Blacklake on July 26, 2007 at 10:30 PM

Yeah, clown suits.

csdeven on July 27, 2007 at 12:17 AM

We are literally in a WAR OF SURVIVAL against Radical Jihadist that we did all we could to ignore for 8+yrs 93′ WT, Kohbar towers, Nairobi, Kenya, Millennium attempt, Philippine airline attempt, Coe, then finally the temporary wakening 9-11′s 3,000 dead civilians blood bought. The fact we are polling south of 50% in this GWOT is not sick it is downright discouraging to the point one must ask WTF this GWOT is nothing compared to historical wars like WW2 or even WW1 those sacrifices are not even considerable.

If Bush even had moderate abilities to take on his enemies head on we would still be polling well north of 60%. “Don’t question their patriotism” while one side is slandering our men in uniform and making front page Aljizz as proof positive of the Jihadi victory is the problem that we cannot repeat.

C-Low on July 27, 2007 at 12:24 AM

Dumb move by the Republicans. In the General election you can expect to see at least one ad showing the R nominee saying something about being strong on defense, followed by a quote that they won’t go to you tube, then summed up with a picture of the snowman in the background — scared of youtube but strong on defense?

Call it unfair but there it is.

Bradky on July 27, 2007 at 12:35 AM

Do the debate. Or are you scared of 2 hours of stupid questions? Live with it. I am becoming so tired of pols…

xplodeit on July 27, 2007 at 12:45 AM

How much worse could it be than MSNBC?

PowWow on July 27, 2007 at 12:07 AM

A lot. Apparently, some of the campaigns think that the potential risk is far greater than the potential reward in perticipating in the YouTube “debate”, and have considered skipping it. Think about the Dem YT/CNN debate, and the quality of the questions. “Are you black enough?” “When will African Americans get reparations for slavery?” “Who was your favorite teacher?” It was 50% lunacy and 50% “Boxers or briefs?” Now think about the first Republican debate (no peeking). What were the best and worst questions asked there? I can’t remember, and I bet you can’t either, but I guarantee they were more substantive than anything in the YT/CNN debate. Nobody remembers the decent questions. or answers. Only great ones or terrible ones. The likely concentration of terrible or “gotcha” questions is too high here.

Big S on July 27, 2007 at 12:49 AM

What were the best and worst questions asked there? I can’t remember, and I bet you can’t either, but I guarantee they were more substantive than anything in the YT/CNN debate. Nobody remembers the decent questions. or answers. Only great ones or terrible ones. The likely concentration of terrible or “gotcha” questions is too high here.

Big S on July 27, 2007 at 12:49 AM

The best questions were the ones that didn’t even get asked to the Democrats. Eg. What will you do about illegal immigration, how will you deal with the health care crisis, etc.

I think the worst question was the one with Chris Matthews where he asked about a Clinton Presidency.

Basically speaking, if you want questions of substance, go to FOX. If you want 2 hours of “Bush stole the election! Bush hates black people! America is racist!” Go to CNN YouTube.

Blitzer did a better job than this YouTube crank.

BKennedy on July 27, 2007 at 12:53 AM

Maybe Fred?! can use this as his chance to make a memorable announcement that he is running. The emcee cues up one youtube video to with seven empty podiums in front of the monitor and you hear “a wise ol lawyer once told me you should keep em guessing and make sure that your truck is older than your wife. I’m in folks”

Bradky on July 27, 2007 at 12:54 AM

Maybe Fred?! can use this as his chance to make a memorable announcement that he is running. The emcee cues up one youtube video to with seven empty podiums in front of the monitor and you hear “a wise ol lawyer once told me you should keep em guessing and make sure that your truck is older than your wife. I’m in folks”

Bradky on July 27, 2007 at 12:54 AM

I repeat my previous assertion: Fred will announce when the last primary debates are over, then ride in on his L&A fame, calling it a “bold strategy” that is “above dog-and-pony shows and politics.”

Cowardice Thompson: Weak Knees for a Weak Non-Candidacy.

BKennedy on July 27, 2007 at 12:55 AM

This is a big mistake. The Democrats are afraid to answer questions from Big Bad Fox News Anchors media professionals, and the Republicans are afraid to answer questions from regular people snowmen, redneck impersonators, masked wrestler wanna-bes, etc. Which is worse?…

The you-tube experiment managed to turn a Presidential debate into something resembling American Idol, Saturday Night Live and The View all rolled up into one. I sincerely hope responsible voters are going to realize that the You-tube debate is just a new form of Reality TV show. I know I do. Presidential debates are supposed to be, well, Presidential. In my opinion the dems didn’t seem to suffer from skipping the Fox news debates. I don’t think many people will blame the repubs from not participating in further demeaning our Presidential election process.

Guardian on July 27, 2007 at 1:05 AM

BKennedy

That is a pretty weak attempt.

C-Low on July 27, 2007 at 1:07 AM

Big S on July 27, 2007 at 12:49 AM

Which debate was the evolution question?

Which had the question (not exact wording) worst thing or 1 thing you hate about America?

PowWow on July 27, 2007 at 1:12 AM

As I said treat it for what it is. And someone else said. I can’t find the comment to quote “show up in clown suits.”

PowWow on July 27, 2007 at 1:14 AM

BKennedy on July 27, 2007 at 12:55 AM

Actually, I think Thompson is pretty smart to hold off just because of stuff like this. Would YOU like to be stuck between being held in contempt for not playing along with the nutty debates and having to participate in the you-tube game show?

Guardian on July 27, 2007 at 1:19 AM

Good to see the Republican candidates doing their best to preserve the GOP’s reputation as the stupid party.

Slublog on July 26, 2007 at 7:53 PM

Yep. They’re morons, except for DeMint and Sessions. They’re geniuses.

PRCalDude on July 27, 2007 at 1:21 AM

Guardian on July 27, 2007 at 1:19 AM

I think it less about Thompson being smart than being scared out of his gourd about debating McCain or Guiliani.

Bradky on July 27, 2007 at 1:21 AM

Bradky on July 27, 2007 at 1:21 AM

If he was scared of just debating McCain or Guiliani then why even pretend he is going to run? Debating them in some fashion is inevitable. However, from the hokey debate point of view, everybody will look so stupid after a while (more so than they do already) that when Thompson steps in, he’ll be untarnished by all the spectacle. I’m not even a big Thompson fan (yet?) but the candidates seem to be getting lamer by the hour…

Guardian on July 27, 2007 at 1:31 AM

Guardian on July 27, 2007 at 1:31 AM

In order to win the Republicans need to pull some moderate democrats and the much maligned “RINOs”. A strategy of dodging the debates with flimsy excuses is not going to help Fred.

Bradky on July 27, 2007 at 1:34 AM

Bradky on July 27, 2007 at 1:34 AM

I’m not saying it will help him to skip them. I just don’t think it will hurt Thompson in the long run to skip them. Guiliani said he was going to skip them because of scheduling conflicts. Yeah right. At least Mitt was honest. Snowmen indeed.

Guardian on July 27, 2007 at 1:41 AM

Our guys have almost two whole months until the YouTube debate…

Of course CNN will stack the deck against us.
Of course the videos will be moronic.
Of course the questions will all come from lefty America-haters or wacko 9/11 Goofy Troofers.

But realistically if we can’t figure out how to spin this thing to our advantage with a huge 2 month lead time, then 2008 really will be a disaster.

Republicans need to shake the rep of being the monolitic party of Carbon-dated white men with sticks up the collective ass by being early adopters of technological innovations for a change. Republicans should tell CNN/Google to stuff it and propose a much more impressive live interactive debate using MySpace, C-SPAN, and XM Radio.

ScottMcC on July 27, 2007 at 1:41 AM

They should ALL go ahead and do it; I thought, as silly as it was, the YouTube debate was somewhat better done, (with a few darn good questions) than were the previous ‘debates’ with no serious questions and a completely sycophantic moderator and audience.

One thing I would do differently though: Michelle gets to select the questions that will be asked.

LegendHasIt on July 27, 2007 at 2:45 AM

I say forget the gimmicks and hold a tough debate with real questions about the future of the country. I’d love to see the major Republican candidates agree to sponsor a debate among themselves (Rudy, Fred, Mitt and McCain), and stream the whole thing online, perhaps through their own websites (and then archive it on Youtube or the like.) Technically, this could be done for a reasonable cost. I’m not sure if it’s legal under current campaign rules, but it should be.

Big S on July 27, 2007 at 2:52 AM

The general election is not for another 15 months, skipping a debate will have little impact because the MSM will have moved on to some other angle of attack for the GOP nominee. In the end, the only votes that will be affected by the candidates’ decisions whether or not to attend the debate will be GOP primary voters and voters from states with open primaries.

Letting MM or Laura Ingram select the questions is probably the last thing that any of the campaigns want. To do so would be to guarantee that every question asked of a candidate would be on a subject that resonated with voters in the GOP primary. Every question would be high risk.

The more moderate that a candidate is will increase the likelihood that the candidate will skip the debate. Rudy is a first tier candidate with some conservative credibility issues. If a left leaning network were looking to sabotage the GOP nominating process, then they would use questions from conservatives to damage candidates that would have traction with independents in the general election. Any candidate that cannot respond to leftist questions shouldn’t be on the stage in the first place.

rw on July 27, 2007 at 4:13 AM

Letting MM or Laura Ingram select the questions is probably the last thing that any of the campaigns want. To do so would be to guarantee that every question asked of a candidate would be on a subject that resonated with voters in the GOP primary. Every question would be high risk.

That’s half of my whole point. Either one of them (Michelle or Laura) would eliminate the stupid stuff. And if a GOP candidate can’t give an honest answer to an important question they darn sure don’t deserve to be elected President.

I (think I)understand ‘where you are coming from’….. But if a Presidential candidate can’t answer an honest question posed by a citizen and filtered through someone smart and tough like Michelle, we don’t need him (or her) trying to run this country when people who want to literally want to destroy us are seeking the means to do so. If they are scared of regular patriotic citizens and Michelle, how can they fight ‘islamofascism’, the Reid-Pelosi nutroots faction? … much less a militant Russia, China and North Korea that will likely be renewing the ‘Cold War’, if not a ‘hot war’ before 2012.

LegendHasIt on July 27, 2007 at 5:38 AM

This shows the lack of backbone exhibited by the beloved “Rudy and Mitt”.

I would think this would be a great chance to directly assault the nutroots and quell their message.

Hells Bells! I could knock those arguments out of the park, and would relish the chance to do so.

Are our “anointed ones” afraid to confront these douchebags? Says a lot about the “front runners”

conservnut on July 27, 2007 at 7:44 AM

It is little early for the Republicans to be in dispair over the 2008 elections. Things change quickly. The insanity of the Democratic positions relative to defending our country against Islamic terrorism may come back to haunt them. & I’m not saying we have to wish for terrorist attack. The flying Imans case plus some other future unknown minor things could be enough for the Dems to blow this next election.

& don’t forget about the illegal immigration issue.

I do think that the Republican presidental nominee should make a point of running against Bush.

thuja on July 27, 2007 at 7:47 AM

You know, the strategy of “not lowering ones self to argue with these idiots” has been one of the Bush doctrines for the last six years. It has not worked out that well. Their arguments just grow louder and gain more acceptance in the MSM. Regan would hit them, and hard and shut them down. I just feel that Damn Yankee # 1 and Damn Yankee #2 will just be versions of Bush Light and feel that they are above the argument.

conservnut on July 27, 2007 at 7:59 AM

conservnut on July 27, 2007 at 7:59 AM
You know, the strategy of “not lowering ones self to argue with these idiots” has been one of the Bush doctrines for the last six years. It has not worked out that well. Their arguments just grow louder and gain more acceptance in the MSM. Regan would hit them, and hard and shut them down.

Reagan had the verbal skills to make a good argument, but Bush doesn’t. Bush would just end up looking stupid.

At least, all the current Republican front runners are fluent in English.

thuja on July 27, 2007 at 8:07 AM

Ten candidates. One house. No contact with the outside world for one month….

Dork B. on July 27, 2007 at 8:27 AM

Letting MM or Laura Ingram select the questions is probably the last thing that any of the campaigns want. To do so would be to guarantee that every question asked of a candidate would be on a subject that resonated with voters in the GOP primary. Every question would be high risk.

In essence, they do that every time they do an interview.

Spirit of 1776 on July 27, 2007 at 9:04 AM

I like Rudy, but think his baggage is going to make him unelectable.

Unless he shows up for the YouTube debate in drag, thereby recreating his SNL Victor/Victoria appearance and making the debate about the candidates again, and not the “edginess” of the YouTubers.

Yeah, he’ll still lose the election, but imagining him out-hawking McCain on Iraq while dressed in a Tutu, makes me smile just thinking about it. Not to mention what the middle east reaction might be.

Keith_Z on July 27, 2007 at 9:47 AM

Considering CNN allows what questions to get through, a full GOP boycott of it might not be such a bad idea. If CNN was able to remove any questions on terror in the Dem debate, they can also hand pick which ones they allow in the GOP debate, while absolving themselves of responsibility, stating that it was questions from the people. Hogwash. We all know which way CNN tilts. It might turn out worse than the debacle with Chris Matthews, whose tone suggested that the GOP candidates are just fulfilling the American voting procedure, sacrificial lambs offered up with no chance of victory against the democratic candidate.

awake on July 27, 2007 at 9:55 AM

The CNN-YouTube debate is handpicked ignorance that is pre-conceived bias for or towards the party present. When the founder of CNN (Turner) cannot decide whose side he is on in the Iraq war, he immediately acknowledges a strong bias for the DemonicRATS and against the GOP. The debate will definitely be set up to embarrass the Republican candidates. If anyone thinks CNN will be be fair must not be awake.

volsense on July 27, 2007 at 10:49 AM

If it’s CNN then it’s a setup for the Republicans. Not showing up may be a good call.

rplat on July 27, 2007 at 10:58 AM

I actually think this YouTube format helps Republicans. The Dem candidates pandered to these far left idiot questioners (meeting with dictators, free healthcare for “undocumented workers”), in a way that alienates middle America, while the Republicans can shoot these kinds of questions down and show that they have some common sense.

Dudley Smith on July 27, 2007 at 11:40 AM

Perhaps they should have the RNC help select the questions and that would certainly be less partisan. I agree that it is not a smart move any more than the Dems being stupid enough not to go to the Fox News Debate. Good heavens, go on and face the ignorant questions of the ignorant masses who are not informed about anything more than their own pocketbook issues. But to wimp out completely I think is a another reason for the Dems to show us up. Of course, Hillary Clinton who couldn’t and won’t answer a question that hasn’t been screened (all the questions were on YouTube before the debate) or planted has no room to talk.

doncow on July 27, 2007 at 12:01 PM

Whiners, Flat Earthers and White Flag Bearers:

Republicans have the image problem. Democrats have the values and policy problems.

All of this complaining about a liberal media bias and CNN filtering questions is BS. Youtube is an interactive medium. The content is user driven. If you don’t want a bunch of thoughtless drivel, don’t settle for it. We can control our presence and therefore our platform’s relevance.

Make your own video. Upload it. Send out the link(s). Be heard. Maybe you’ll get posted on HotAir. Maybe you’ll live blog the debates and start your own conservative 2.0 movement. Do something. Anything, except this spineless bellyaching.

This attitude of sitting back and complaining as the world changes makes us sound like an old folks home. Why not flood youtube with our own videos? Are you too lazy? Are you afraid it won’t get viewed? I don’t think so.

Many of the commenters on this site and others appear thoughtful, articulate and well-versed in the issues of the day. Please help me to understand what the reticence is about exposing the real Republican party.

Talk radio is a very influential medium. It went a long way in shaping my current perspective. But talk radio is perceived to be right wing. I started listening because I wanted to hear what was going on behind enemy lines. The I got hooked. Many people will tell you the same story.

Youtube has the same potential. It’s not only about that one debate. It’s about exposing people to the other side. Apparently many people do not use youtube that much. What about saved videos? New conservative directors and groups? What about comments and internal messaging?

It’s a bigger deal than we seem to think. And we run the risk of looking like a flat Earth society if we ignore it. Doing so will be perceived as fearful, elitist, and/or last century.

Maybe that works for you country clubbers. But the party I’m interested in is made up of thinkers willing to roll up their sleeves and meet people on their level.

I hear a lot of talk about living in a post 9/11 world. Well, that concept applies in many ways. Don’t sail over the edge.

Longtime Listener on July 27, 2007 at 12:31 PM

It’s good to see that so called conservatives are finally standing up to the leftists and demanding they share something. Unfortunately what they are sharing is moral relativism. How can anyone compare a debate on Fox moderated by Britt Hume with a CNN show where they hand pick nutroot video questions off the internet? If anyone thinks the republicans questions will be mostly silly and fluff like the democrats, you are deluding yourselves. The republicans are setting themselves up for a bloodbath having to answer Move-On.org produced questions.
Why isn’t Townhall or Real Politics or any conservative group sponsoring a debate? Where is the Hot Air debate? The whole election process is controlled by leftists and what we need is a leader who will stand up against it. One whiff of a candidate rebelling against the status quo and our own base slaps them down.

peacenprosperity on July 27, 2007 at 1:01 PM

People forget that elections are themselves beauty pagents. We dont elect the best person for the job we have one of two choices.

Soo it becomes a comparison race. We take the two candidates and deceide which is the better one of the two.

The republican candidate doesnt have to be better than every single democrat in the county. They only have to be better than the democratic candidate they are facing in the general election.

What do the dems offer us this time as compititon ? Hillary ? Obama ? John Edwards ? Is the US really ready to make one of those 3 president ?

I think after a long hard close look the answer is no. Hillary is too disliked, Obama is too much of an unknown and edwards is going to be too easy to tear apart for his radical veiws in the democratic Primaries.

While we all have our favorite republicans we would like to see win the nomination I think it safe to say that ANY republican candidate we pik will fair well against what the dems has offered

William Amos on July 27, 2007 at 1:17 PM

Make your own video. Upload it. Send out the link(s). Be heard. Maybe you’ll get posted on HotAir. Maybe you’ll live blog the debates and start your own conservative 2.0 movement. Do something. Anything, except this spineless bellyaching.

Longtime Listener on July 27, 2007 at 12:31 PM

The quote most deserving of the FINALLY tag among this thread’s many comments. Great job!

ScottMcC on July 27, 2007 at 1:17 PM

Allah’s equating of Fox with CNN is laughable, as is his conclusion that Dems boycotting Fox is the same as Reps snubbing CNN.

Republican candidates are right to snub CNN’S proposed youtube debate.

The candidates would snub a proposed debate at an insane asylum as well, and a debate moderated by inmates at an insane asylum would be only slightly more inane than a Republican debate moderated by CNN.

As Ed Morrisey ably argued over at his CQ site, the CNN youtube format only cheapens the debate, and far better opportunities and venues will present themselves in profusion between now and the Convention.

clark smith on July 27, 2007 at 1:37 PM

The content is user driven.
Longtime Listener on July 27, 2007 at 12:31 PM

That may be but the users don’t pick the questions. CNN will only pick the most loaded and biased questions without regard to meaningful discussion and as someone pointed out, they will hide behind the “The People Have Asked” excuse.

If you don’t want a bunch of thoughtless drivel, don’t settle for it. We can control our presence and therefore our platform’s relevance.

We won’t control anything. CNN will.

Guardian on July 27, 2007 at 5:14 PM

All Republicans should go on all debates.

If the question is stupid all they have to do is be ready to roll their eyes and give a patronizing look to the turkey that asked the stupid question.

If need be they can practice before in front of a mirror.

MB4 on July 27, 2007 at 8:16 PM

I’m beyond appalled over the arguments here; at Hugh’s site; and other places about this YouTube debate. I hear/read many right leaning politicos crying “chicken” at those who would suggest that these candidates duck out of a debate. I’m afraid we’ve been sucked into the vacuum of liberal logic like the lefties wanted us to do. You want entertainment, go entertain yourselves. That’s all this is, some fonder for your blogs. Something to banter about and make fun of with all your cut and paste videos. But this has nothing to do with substance or purpose.

(sarc/): I like the woman who asked if the candidates would be willing to work for minimum wage. What were the Dems answers? Couldn’t wait to fall all over themselves to tell how truly poor they really are deep down. How would it be with the GOP? Pander to people you think are so stupid they can’t understand the basic functioning of the workforce. Have they ever worked a day in their lives? Any employee ~ I MEAN ANY EMPLOYEE ~ does understand the basic fundamentals of minimum wage: hourly vs. salary Yea… I’m the President and I’ll work for minimum wage… and since I work 24/7 I want time and a half… and yea, I want sick and vacation pay… does Hillary get FMLA time? (sarc off/) I mean seriously? How does that help you better decide who you’ll vote for in 2008? And if you don’t understand that, no debate is gonna do anything to make you vote one way or another.

And as for the MSM, either way they slam the GOP. Always in a lose, lose situation. Better if you lose, you do it with dignity than in disgrace and shame with video feeds to hold it out for posterity and your grandkids to laugh at.

I look at it this way: Would Ronald Reagan have EVER done one of these debates?

SOUTHERN MAN: With his new novel, “A Man in Full,” Tom Wolfe skewers America in the ’90s, from coast to coast by WILLIAM CASH Sunday, November 29, 1998

In this article, (*read 1998*), I think Tom Wolfe states eloquently why we have ultimately come to this:

“What’s so interesting about the whole Clinton business is that it is no longer acceptable intellectually to say that the issue is sexual behavior,” he says. “It has to be, “Did he perjure himself’ and all these ridiculous things. And in fact, the issue really is sexual morality. The issue here is, is it permissible or is it not permissible to engage in this vertical affair – a horizontal affair, coincidentally, is much more acceptable than a vertical affair! – in the Oval Office? But it is not smart, it is not a chic thought to say that that is the issue. I always say to people, “Now, let’s suppose that a President is having the affair with a ewe – e-w-e – which he keeps in the Oval Office…”

I remind Wolfe that English aristocrats and, indeed royalty, have been known to have such thoughts.

“Now, would that make any difference?” Wolfe continues. “It would be still intellectually gauche to say that makes any difference. You know, what’s a little bestiality; it’s a private matter. That is the huge change in this country. That affair in the Oval Office, in the suite of rooms, is so removed from the attitude of Ronald Reagan, who would not take his jacket off in the Oval Office out of respect.

and then there’s this from Hullabaloo:

Friday, December 08, 2006
Secretaries of Deference
by digby

When Bush got all snippy with Jim Webb, George Will distorted the quote precisely to highlight Webb’s supposed lack of deference.

All the Beltway 500 code words ”Civil, Dignified, Ungracious” for trashing Democrats and preventing them from saying what needs to be said have to do with Republicans reinforcing this fundamental aristocratic value of deference.

It’s the same deal with Civil, Moderate, and Bipartisan are also code words for reinforcing deference.

That’s why it’s important to mock, belittle, insult, degrade and make Republicans laughable at all times and in all conditions. These are all tools for eliminating deference from our political discourse.

Naturally, when we do this, the Beltway 500 clutches its pearls and calls us Shrill or Rude. That’s a good sign: It means we’re displaying the lack of deference appropriate a Democracy.

Thank you… we have lost ALL RESPECT for the office of the Presidency. Good night, lights out…

Sultry Beauty on July 28, 2007 at 1:11 AM

Just an idea. Why not have “Hot Air” and Michelle and friends handle the debates. Bring back the ladies of the real “View” and them have at the candidates. At least we will know it will be “fair & balanced?”

Wuptdo on July 28, 2007 at 12:56 PM

None of this, YouTube or not, has anything to do with actual debates. These “debates” – on both sides, Dem and GOP – are all shallow spectacles and not debates at all, and I think everyone knows it. Why can’t the GOP stage actual debates? Is the public really that stupid that it can’t handle candidates debating real issues (such as Megan Fox) in a real debate format?

Halley on July 28, 2007 at 3:12 PM

The CNN/Democrat/Youtube debate was such a huge success…. /sarcasm off

We can just hope we get more questions like this ……

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh7-vCR-DYA

John Dardene is the son of Republican Louisiana Secretary of State. I’m sure he’s proud.

roux on July 28, 2007 at 4:36 PM

Disaster? Are you kidding me?

GooTube is irrelevent. They are our friends who refuse to allow Michelle’s awesome vid to be seen on their site, remember? And why would anyone want to pander to the 3rd rate(?) CNN? I would be surprised if even 20% of America knew what Gootube was.

Let’s compromise. The Democrats can do the Republican GooTube appearance and the Republicans will take the Fox News debate.

DannoJyd on July 29, 2007 at 10:43 PM

Here’s how we have parity and not parody:
One big debate, all Dem and Repub candidates present. Put it on all networks at the same time.
Dems answer questions from Dems, Republicans from Repubs; if a candidate isn’t satisfied with the answer an opponent gives, they are allowed a rebuttal. For example, if Obama answers a softball question, Romney can rebut and give his answer.
Or HClinton can rebut Guliani if she doesn’t like his answer to a question.
This would be a free for all, but it would be cool.

Doug on July 30, 2007 at 11:29 AM

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