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Yet More Presidential Debatezzzz


Whereas the Democratic Presidential Candidates refused to debate each other on the “conservative” Fox News Channel, this week the Republicans took part in a debate hosted by the “liberal” CNN. And, having watched the back-and-no-so-forth I wonder if it wasn’t the Democrats who made the right choice.

The content and questions asked by host Wolf Blitzer and the other panelists revealed more about what CNN’s end of the media spectrum feels Republicans should believe than anything about the candidates. The official questioners in Tuesday’s Republican debate reflect a liberal notion of what Republicans are, ranging from God to guns.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, for example, was asked whether he really believed that God created the heavens and earth. Huckabee acknowledged the question – and his beliefs – before starting to say that he, as President, had no intention of re-writing the eighth grade curriculum – but was cut off and told that was not the question. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was hit with a question about abortion, specifically his reaction to a Catholic priest’s quote comparing his position on abortion to Pontius Pilate being against the crucifixion of Jesus but allowing it to happen. Giuliani’s answer about how, in a pluralistic society, one man’s god cannot set the policy for another was interrupted by an act of God as lightening interfered with the sound system at the New Hampshire venue.

The scripted part of the debate included questions about illegal Immigration, “Moral Values,” The GOP and Big Oil, Gays in the Military, Making English Our Official Language and what to do with George Bush once he is a former President. The questions asked seemed designed to either to drive a wedge between the Republican candidates and President Bush – the official story line filed by CNN – or between the GOP candidates and America at large.

It would seem that the best way to distinguish the candidates from each other would be to not question their credentials on issues at the core of the party platform, but to challenge them to address issues which would require bipartisan consensus: How would they make healthcare affordable to the consumer yet remain the best in the world? Or what plans they have to address the entitlement morass threatening to bankrupt the country? But Republicans get Republican questions and, when it’s their turn, Democrats get Democratic questions. So the candidates battle it out trying to slice and dice the fringes of the American populace.

Luckily, the CNN debate included questions from the audience which brought out some of the more thoughtful lines of discussion. One questioner did ask the candidates about Healthcare which is typically a Democratic issue. Logically, the question went to Governor Tommy Thompson, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services and to Mitt Romney, who created a kind of universal health care in Massachusetts.

At this pace, the general public will be sick and tired of hearing from candidates of either side, especially if the questioners keep re-hashing the same issues of abortion, immigration and Iraq for Republicans and education, healthcare and Iraq for the Democrats. Let’s get out of these boxes and ask the candidates to start running for President not just Party Leader.

Editor’s Note: Spot-on’s Mike Spinney attended the Republican debate in Manchester Tuesday. Here’s his post on the evening’s events.

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 2:46 PM | Permalink

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