On Wednesday night, CNN hosted a “YouTube” debate for the Republican candidates for President. Questions came to the candidates from “ordinary” citizens who videoed themselves asking questions about the important issues of our time. Anderson Cooper hosted the event for CNN, and it came off without a hitch . . . until the post debate discussion.
During the debate, a retired brigadier general who is also a homosexual asked a pointed question to the candidates about gays in the military. The general was then allowed to grandstand from the audience floor for two minutes (which was met with boos from the audience). After the debate, Anderson Cooper and William Bennett were giving their analysis when William Bennett blew the gaffe. A simple Google search reveals that the questioner has served on a steering committee for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
What’s the significance of all this? Well, I think Peggy Noonan has nailed it in her column today for the Wall Street Journal. It begins with an imaginary scene from a Democrat debate earlier this fall. She writes:
I will never forget that breathtaking moment when, in the CNN/YouTube debate earlier this fall, the woman from Ohio held up a picture and said, “Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr. Edwards, this is a human fetus. Given a few more months, it will be a baby you could hold in your arms. You all say you’re ‘for the children.’ I would ask you to look America in the eye and tell us how you can support laws to end this life. Thank you.”
They were momentarily nonplussed, then awkwardly struggled to answer, to regain lost high ground. One of them, John Edwards I think, finally criticizing the woman for being “manipulative,” using “hot images” and indulging in “the politics of personal destruction.” The woman then stood in the audience for her follow up. “I beg your pardon, but the literal politics of personal destruction–of destroying a person–is what you stand for.”
Oh, I wish I weren’t about to say, “Wait, that didn’t happen.” For of course it did not. Who of our media masters would allow a question so piercing on such a painful and politically incorrect subject?
I thought of this the other night when citizens who turned out to be partisans for Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama and Mr. Edwards asked the Republicans, in debate, would Jesus support the death penalty, do you believe every word of the Bible, and what does the Confederate flag mean to you?
It was a good debate, feisty and revealing. It’s not bad that the questions had a certain spin, and played on stereotypes of the GOP. It’s just bad that it doesn’t quite happen at Democratic debates. Somehow, there, an obscure restraint sets in on the part of news producers. Too bad. Running for most powerful person in the world is, among other things, an act of startling presumption. They all should be grilled, everyone, both sides. Winter voting approaches; may many chestnuts be roasted on an open fire.
I couldn’t agree more. Yet I think it’s really unfortunate that we likely will never see pro-choice candidates “roasted” about their views on the greatest human rights crisis of our time: the legal killing of over 40 million unborn humans since 1973. It’s the greatest human rights crisis of our time, but you wouldn’t know it from the media who preside over the Presidential debates. I think they could do better, but I’m not holding my breath that they will.