The Corner

Some Pre-Debate Notes

Tonight there’s a CNN-Tea Party debate. I have some humble requests:

1. Could you limit the number of times you ask Ron Paul if he actually believes what he believes? Every debate so far has wasted a lot of time asking Ron Paul if he is really serious that he thinks the federal government is bad at what it does. It usually goes something like this: FEMA helps people in disasters. Are you really opposed to helping people? Paul then must unravel the question, saying he’s not opposed to helping people but that the federal government is bad at it. But if we’re willing to bring our military home, he’d waste some of those savings on the very same federal programs.  We get it. He doesn’t like foreign interventions and thinks the federal government is bad at what it does.

I don’t mind the question per se. But it’s been asked and answered a lot already. Also, the questioners incomprehension that a libertarian would say libertarian things doesn’t make the question “tough.”

2. Stop asking the other candidates what they think of Ron Paul’s answers.

3. No “this or that” questions. They were amusing at first, sort of,  but the cuteness has worn off.

4. Please don’t assume that you know more about their religious faith than the people on the stage. For instance, yes the Catholic Church says you should help poor people and it says that gay marriage is wrong. But it doesn’t say you must support ineffective government programs, even if you think otherwise or ask the question as if you’re an expert.

5. When candidates are having a substantive argument, shut up and don’t worry about the buzzer. It’s supposed to be a debate, not a series of prepared answers to platitudinous questions.

6. Ask some questions about President Obama, even if it sets up the candidate to say something bad about President Obama. It’s not your job to protect the Democrat in the White House. You certainly had no problem asking about President Bush in ways unhelpful to him.

7. Go over your list of “gotchya” questions and cut it by 50 percent. Trust me.

8. Similarly, questions designed to make Republicans qua Republicans look bad are not what you’re there to ask. If you’ve got tough questions for specific candidates that’s fine and fair. But just because you don’t like the Republican Party, doesn’t mean it’s your job to damage the brand. That’s what you’re regular news coverage is for. These debates are for the Republican Party to decide who their nominee should be. Putting a stink on their party may be fun for you, but it’s a waste of time for everyone else.

I’m sure commenters will have other constructive suggestions.


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