Free to Be YouTube and Me

Lest anyone doubt that the Republican presidential field is a confederacy of ninnies:

Plans for a CNN/YouTube debate for the GOP seemed to be falling apart Thursday after front-runner Rudy Giuliani said scheduling conflicts would keep him away from the planned Sept. 17 face-off, although an aide said discussions were continuing about a possible alternate date. Formal invitations went out Thursday.

Another top Republican, Mitt Romney, has been cool to the forum's format. "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman," Romney told the Manchester Union Leader in New Hampshire.

Fair enough: Romney might just be worried about the damage that dripping, melting snow could wreak on his circuitry.

Seriously, though, Republicans would be foolish to wave off their own YouTube debate. I was a skeptic of the format, too, but it turned out to be a fecund source of out-of-the-box questions. The snowman was silly, but was it really a bigger waste of time than Chris Matthews asking the Republican candidates if they wanted Bill Clinton back in the White House? And the questions weren't, as Hugh Hewitt bellows, "overwhelmingly left-biased." Questions about reparations, foreign dictators, Iraq after a U.S. exit and whether the U.S. should be run by two political families were cringe-inducing for the Democrats. If the candidates are pouring sweat, the format's working.

It might be nice for CNN to tweak its format and do less screening of the questions. Make the top-rated or top-viewed questions the ones that Anderson Cooper has to introduce. If it turns out that they're all questions about 9/11 Truth or Bohemian Grove, create some kind of filter: The top-rated video for a series of topics, with no repeats.

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  • D. Greene||

    I suggested on another website that the questions they ask should be based on popularity, but that would be too chaotic for CNN's tastes, methinks.

    It would be a PR blunder for the Republicans to ignore this debate.

  • ||

    The only solution is a Ron Paul-only Youtube debate on CNN. 2 hours of questions for Ron Paul. Ron Paul!

  • ||

    Why don't they just cancel the entire silly exercise? The debate formats have become so stilted and protective of the candidates that they really don't accomplish much. The ones that allow questioning from the audience are even worse. "I am a poor handicaped, gay, native American, gun owning, pro choice union worker who shops at Wall-Mart, what are you going to do for my future?" are about typical of the questions. Weigal is right that the snowman is no worse than Chris Mathews, which pretty much sums up the usefulness of debates such as they are.

  • ||

    Man, they better not blow this off. I'm going to film my question this weekend.

    And I'll be wearing a Reason t-shirt. Look for me!

  • ||

    but it turned out to be a fecund source of out-of-the-box questions

    You think those questions were out of the box?! I agree with one or two, maybe, but for the most part they were CNN questions posed by people in video format. It may have humanized the questions more, but they still weren't forced to actually answer the question.

    I'd like to see a format where the person who poses the question gets to do a follow-up, where the audience gets to call "bull-shit" if nobody satisfactorily answers the questions instead of simply "debating" each other.

  • x,y||

    Better yet, let someone (who, I'm not sure, and maybe even a panel of three) pull the mic from these guys if they don't answer the question.

  • ||

    The only solution is a Ron Paul-only Youtube debate on CNN. 2 hours of questions for Ron Paul. Ron Paul!

    Come on - Ron Paul does not need to answer questions. Simply allowing him to speak for two hours about his sophisticated yet common-sense political philosophy will turn this nation around.

  • ||

    Better yet, let someone (who, I'm not sure, and maybe even a panel of three) pull the mic from these guys if they don't answer the question.

    A bucket of slime above each candidate's head work work for me.

    Or a trapdoor in the floor.

    Electric shocks (progressively stronger, like in the Bond flick Never Say Never Again).

    Send the Sandman out with a giant hook.

  • ||

    I think we need to remember that one reason the Republicans are not going to be too fond of a YouTube debate is that 90% of their constituents are not technically saavy enough to turn on a computer, much less record and upload a video question.

  • ||

    It's those 'out of the box' questions that scare the hell out of the GOP frontrunners. Their status as frontrunners is much more precarious than the Hillary-Obama show.

  • ||

    Aaaaaaaand I think Lamar nailed it.

  • Russ 2000||

    Make the top-rated or top-viewed questions the ones that Anderson Cooper has to introduce.

    Since when does the popular vote count for anything?

  • ||

    I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman," Romney told the Manchester Union Leader in New Hampshire.

    Racist.

  • ed||

    While we're at it, let's hold a "debate" in a mental institution. Or a kindergarten class. Questions can't get much more "out-of-the-box" than that. And all the "debaters" should appear in boxer shorts and black knee-socks. With garters.

  • ||

    How about Ouija board questions?

  • ||

    Rudy Giuliani said scheduling conflicts would keep him away from the planned Sept. 17 face-off...

    That has to be the biggest load of bullshit I've ever read.

    All of the sudden, a "front runner" has scheduling conflicts with a Presidential Debate?

    You know what? Good. I hope they hold it anyway and show how Giuliani doesn't have time during his busy campaign schedule to, you know, talk to the people who may vote for him!

    Giuliani Administration= Dubya II

  • ||

    How about Ouija board questions?

    The devil's tool!? Mike Huckabee would probably try to perform an exorcism on the people operating it.

  • Eric Dondero||

    What's more amazing, is the complete lack of libertarian input on this election cycle.

    Where are the libertarian media types on these panels asking questions of the candidates?

    Why doesn't Reason have someone to peg down these Presidential candidates? Where's Cato?

    I dare say, we libertarians are not having any inpact on this election outside of maybe Dennis Miller and Neal Boortz.

  • SIV||

    It would be a PR blunder for the Republicans to ignore this debate.


    Yes... but not as much as the Dems avoiding debating on Fox News.

  • ||

    DOOOOONNNNNDDDEEEERRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOO!

    You forgot, Ron Paul is running. He's more or less a libertarian.

    Booyakasha.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Dennis Miller and Neal Boortz are not libertarians, Eric.

  • SIV||

    Dennis Miller and Neal Boortz are not libertarians, Eric.

    That would be news to them. Do they fail the colloidal siver blue complexion test?

  • ||

    "I dare say, we libertarians are not having any inpact on this election outside of maybe Dennis Miller and Neal Boortz."

    Oh yeah, and that guy, what's his name, the internet guy....Rudy insulted him at the GOP debate; what's that guy's name? I think he's an obstetrician or something? Jeez. What in tarnation is that guy's name?

  • D. Greene||

    The word libertarian has been bastardized almost beyond all meaning to the point where it can join equally meaningless terms like liberal and conservative.

  • ||

    I dare say, we libertarians are not having any inpact on this election outside of maybe Dennis Miller and Neal Boortz.

    But Eric! What about Rudy Giuliani? Isn't HE a libertarian too?

  • Mike Laursen||

    If they simply copy the Democrats' YouTube debate idea, wouldn't it be perceived as their not being able to come up with good ideas on their own? After all, isn't the Republicans' greatest strength their ability to come up with brilliant, maverick ideas?

  • ||

    The word libertarian has been bastardized almost beyond all meaning to the point where it can join equally meaningless terms like liberal and conservative.

    Agreed. I've noted that most posters here are not so much in favor of liberty, but against government. A true libertarian would recognize when government helps promote liberty.

  • ||

    libertarians...Dennis Miller...Neal Boortz.

    Stop. Just stop.

  • SIV||

    Oh you must mean they are not REALlibertarians like Terry Michael and Bill Maher.

  • Lava||

    Neal Boortz, Dennis Miller are libertarians .. Not sure anybody gives ratings to libertarians like they do for conservatives.. i would imagine these guys would score as much as Bush or Clinton on that scale

  • Dave W.||

    If it turns out that they're all questions about 9/11 Truth. . . .

    Like that time Guiliani's press secretary got the "Truther" kicked out of the press reception area by Guiliani's press secretary for asking about Guiliani's statement* about what he did the morning of 9/11. Although the question was fair on its own terms, one has to assume that the "Truther" think it was teh joos, I guess, and take appropriate evasive action. Or something. IIRC you were actually there, Weigs. And let me say that I think you would make an excellent press secretary, yer Weigness. Probably even a better press secretary than a journalist. Something to think about anyway.


    FOOTNOTE:

    * Here is the statement that the "Truther" was inquiring about:

    "I--I went down to the scene and we set up headquarters at 75 Barkley Street, which was right there with the police commissioner, the fire commissioner, the head of emergency management, and we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was going to collapse. And it did collapse before we could actually get out of the building, so we were trapped in the building for 10, 15 minutes, and finally found an exit and got out, walked north, and took a lot of people with us."

  • ||

    It's those 'out of the box' questions that scare the hell out of the GOP frontrunners. Their status as frontrunners is much more precarious than the Hillary-Obama show.

    Lamar is absolutely right. The last thing any GOPer wants is an open forum for questions from the base. You think Giuliani or Romney want to answer questions about the Rapture??

    The best thing that could happen to Democrats would be if the GOP participated in a debate that allowed their base to pose questions to their candidates. Why do you think every GOP town hall event is so controlled and scripted and every "question" starts with "you do such a great job" and usually ends with "what can I do to help you and make your life easier"?

  • ||

    I think the debate should consist of a set of hypothetical questions designed to provoke an emotional response. 20, 30 questions. Cross-referenced.

  • ||

    I say we give them a Voight-Kampff test and call it a day.

  • ||

    Oh. de stijl beat me to it.

  • TLB||

    Reinmoose very correctly says: for the most part they were CNN questions posed by people in video format.

    The questions were extraordinarily weak. I submitted a toughee, but they didn't choose it. See what I mean: youtube.com/user/NoMoreBlatherDotCom

    Someone else submitted a few similar questions, which also weren't selected: youtube.com/user/Roger1776

    In the first comment here, I outline the only plan that will work: buzzmachine.com/2007/07/26/thats-the-ticket/

    Hint: it avoids both the crap-with-most-views and CNN-as-filter problems.

    If you'd like to send CNN a message, please view this one second video that just says, "CNN's choice of questions for the debate really sucked".

    Oddly enough, the number of views for that video appears to have stalled out, despite being linked from my site.

  • Scooby||

    LoneWackJob,
    Didn't look at you're youtube stuff, but were you able to do your silly CapitalizationThingee in a video format?

  • ||

    "I dare say, we libertarians are not having any inpact on this election outside of maybe Dennis Miller and Neal Boortz."

    Priceless.

  • ||

    LoneWhacko-

    I wouldn't have allowed your videos on air for the simple reason that they're completely unengaging. Granted, some of the aesthetics of the aired videos weren't great, but at least they had, like, an actual, you know VIDEO component to them, instead of a bunch of canned "fancy" transitions from photograph to shoddy piece of Microsoft Word clipart.

    To sum up:

    YOU FAIL AT VIDEO. F+

  • ||

    Anderson Cooper: You're in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of a sudden you look down...
    Tom Tancredo: What one?
    Cooper: What?
    Tancredo: What desert?
    Cooper: It doesn't make any difference what desert, it's completely hypothetical.
    Tancredo: But, how come I'd be there?
    Cooper: Maybe you're fed up. Maybe you want to be by yourself. Who knows? You look down and see an undocumented immigrant, Tom. It's crawling toward you...
    Tancredo: undocumented immigrant? What's that?
    Cooper: You know what a illigeal alien is?
    Tancredo: Of course!
    Cooper: Same thing.
    Tancredo: I've never seen a illegal alien. (pause) But I understand what you mean.
    Cooper: You reach down and you flip the undocumented immigrant over on its back, Tom.
    Tancredo: Do you make up these questions, Mr. Cooper? Or do they write 'em down for you?
    Cooper: The undocumented immigrant lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping.
    Tancredo: WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I'M NOT HELPING?
    Cooper: I mean you're not helping! Why is that, Tom?
    [Tancredo has become visibly shaken]
    Cooper: They're just questions, Tom. In answer to your query they're written down for me. It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response. (pause) Shall we continue?

  • ||

    The word libertarian has been bastardized almost beyond all meaning to the point where it can join equally meaningless terms like liberal and conservative.



    I've started reading "Radicals for Capitalism", and its' assumed definition for libertarians is so specific, that hardly anyone in the movement could qualify. He keeps talking about the radical fringe as if that all there was.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Having watched the first "historic" CNN/YouTube debate, I can hardly blame the Republicans. The debate was a sham, with CNN's editorial filter resulting in utterly predictable questions, except combined with the occasional sob story or silly gimmick (a little song, a little dance). Mostly, the entire debate was yet another opportunity for the smirking, preening Ken Doll known as Anderson Cooper to indulge in his favorite hobby: making himself look good.

  • ||

    We should give each GOP candidate a chance to YouTube a question for each Democratic candidate and vice versa.

  • TLB||

    mediageek: actually, I get my clipart from this recommended site: wpclipart.com

    We at the complex are on a low budget, so we don't have the fancy editors and other things, but we make up for it by asking real questions. That's why it wasn't allowed, not because of production values.

    I note also that the other person I linked above makes videos in the CNN-friendly style of speaking right into the camera, yet you didn't critique his "style", nor did you offer an explanation why his questions weren't selected.

  • ||

    [Tancredo has become visibly shaken]
    Cooper: They're just questions, Tom. In answer to your query they're written down for me. It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response. (pause) Shall we continue?


    Cooper: Now, Mr Romney, tell me only the good things you remember about your mother.

    Romney: DON'T YOU TALK ABOUT MY MOTHER! (tips over table, throwing it on top of Cooper)

  • ||

    de stijl wins the thread.

  • Sheryl||

    Mitt is right, the presidency should be held to a higher level. The Republicans should only agree to the YouTube/CNN debate if there are serious, thoughtful, smart questions.

    I completely disagree that the snowman is no worse than Chris Mathews as indictment of the usefulness of debates. The snowman and Chris Mathews's silly questions says more about them not debates in general.

    A well produced, intelligent debate is great. It's to the blogshpere/You Tube's and CNN's disgrace that they cheapened this idea.

    They just produced more junk to discard.

  • ||

    What would be really cool is if someone submitted a video where they were waterboarding somebody and asked the candidates if it looked like torture to them.

  • ||

    Go for it crimethink. I'm sure your hero's at the Howard Stern show or the Jackass crew would love your idea, as would most knuckle dragger boys.

  • ||

    This debate is just an electronic town hall debate. They could improve this one by using the idea proposed above (most popular in each category), but they would have to prevent gaming the system, since it's no harder than ballot stuffing an online poll. I think town halls would be vastly improved if the questioners were selected at random and not vetted. Your seat gets picked by the lottery ticket, you get to ask what you want. No matter how crazy.

  • S.A. Miller||

    It would be a PR blunder for the Republicans to ignore this debate.

    Much like it was a PR blunder for the Democrats to ignore the CBC/FNC debate. Oh, wait...

  • Coach||

    For those who are as eager to make the YouTube debate a success, we can not let a major party go without some participation in the YouTube debates on C.N.N. Call or e-mail RRpublicans that you know and like and ert them to fill the spots of these no-show Republican candidates!

  • ||

    Mitt Romney was just on CSPAN and took a YouTube question! Along with a plethora of telephone calls in CSPAN's standard format of Republican, Democrat and Independent lines.

    He also said, due to his schedule, he is not able to make the CNN/YouTube debate.

  • ||

    Sheryl,

    If Mitt and the others have a problem watching what they would condone (waterboarding), then that says a lot about them, don't it?

    You sound like one of the pro-choicers who want to ban the display of aborted fetus pictures in public. See no evil...

  • ||

    Wait -- the debate is on Sept 17?

    I think I know why Rudy can't make it -- he's going to a week-long festival memorial service to celebrate commemorate the anniversary of his campaign slogan our national tragedy.

    They were originally going to have it at the WTC site, but Rudy's people thought he needed some fresh atop-the-rubble pictures, so they're tracking down the location of the WTC rubble in that landfill in Staten Island and holding it there.

  • ||

    "If it turns out that they're all questions about 9/11 Truth or Bohemian Grove, create some kind of filter: The top-rated video for a series of topics, with no repeats."

    That's a great idea. We shall name our filter after you: The Weigel Filter!

  • ||

    It's interesting, reading all the puffery today about how Mitt is some how afraid of YouTube and then I turn on CSPAN and there he is answering a YouTube question...NICE!

    Classic....from a class guy!

  • S.A. Miller||

    Sept 17, is a Monday night... Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles


    Monday Night Football... no one is going to be watching the debate anyways.

  • ||

    Every single thing you need know know about the Republican Party is expressed in the fact that Mitt Romany noticed the snowman but didn't notice the lady with cancer.

    This is a complete disaster for the GOP.

  • Eric Dondero||

    Franklin, you are not a libertarian. You may think you are. But if you are a defacto supporter of Islamo-Fascism (forcing women to wear burqas from head to toe, allowing gays to have their genitals cut off, stoning of prostitutes in town squares, lifetime sentences for marijuana smokers, ect...), you are more in the lines with Authoritarianism, the complete opposite of libertarianism.

    Dennis Miller and Neal Boortz are the ultimate libertarians.

    You Sir, and your buddies Lew Rockwell and Justin Raimondo, are more like the ultimate Authoritarian ass-lickers.

  • ||

    "What would be really cool is if someone submitted a video where they were waterboarding somebody and asked the candidates if it looked like torture to them."

    What would be even cooler is if the candidates themselves were waterboarded during the "debate." Which might enhance the sincerity of their responses.

    I also favor some sort of Coliseum Vote at the conclusion of the event: the "loser(s)" of the debate to be put to death based on a thumbs up/down poll.

  • Eric Dondero||

    D. Greene, I agree entirely. The term "libertarian" has been bastardized beyond recognition.

    When people who like Ron Paul who believe that the massacres in the Cambodian Killing Fields and the over 1 million South Vietnamese who dies following our pull-out of South Asia in 1975/76 was "no big deal" as Ron Paul recently alluded too in an interview, can still be considered to be "libertarian" than we've lost the word.

    And even today, right on this very forum, we have people like Franklin Harris, an apologist for Islamo-Nazis, claiming the word "libertarian."

    But then again, look at today's David Duke website at www.davidduke.com. Right there in big fat bold black, and article by Ron Paul.

    Hey, in some quarters libertarianism has now morphed into Naziism.

  • ||

    "You Sir, and your buddies Lew Rockwell and Justin Raimondo, are more like the ultimate Authoritarian ass-lickers."

    As opposed to people who believe the proper role of our domestic overlords is roaming the earth, slaughtering those who disagree with them.

  • ||

    Jan says:

    "Every single thing you need know know about the Republican Party is expressed in the fact that Mitt Romany noticed the snowman but didn't notice the lady with cancer."

    This is a complete disaster for the GOP."

    Your piety is putrid and shows a complete lack of etiquette. How dare you imply that Republicans don't care about a woman with cancer because they mention the silliness of a snowman.

    You dear lady are what is wrong with political discourse today. Your comment is rude and ugly.

  • Eric Dondero||

    No P. Brooks. Not "slaughtering those who disagree with us," slaughtering those who want to impose their morality and stupid totalitarian economic views on others in retaliation.

    If they keep to themselves slaughter will not exist on any level.

    But the minute they start imposing their silly-ass morality on the United States, or slaughtering innocents by the hundreds of thousands, than we strike.

    It's called "Walk softly but carry a big stick." You might have heard of it?

  • ||

    P Brooks says:

    "As opposed to people who believe the proper role of our domestic overlords is roaming the earth, slaughtering those who disagree with them."

    Yes quite right. It is proper to kill death-loving, women-hating, anti-human, racist, sexist, bigoted, pious, Islamist, Fascist terrorists that are spreading their hate throughout the world.

    It is incompatible to co-exist with them and we should always disagree with their views.

  • Franklin Harris||

    And even today, right on this very forum, we have people like Franklin Harris, an apologist for Islamo-Nazis, claiming the word "libertarian."



    Yes, because that "war on terror" thing has done so well at actually reducing the number of people who don't like us, Eric. Meanwhile, you're an "apologist" for Rudy Giuliani, the great "libertarian" who closed all of the peep shows on 42nd Street. Given that you're own definition of "libertarian" is any conservative who wants to legalize prostitution, how Rudy meets even your minimum standards is a mystery. Unless, of course, this isn't about libertarianism at all, but about killing Arabs.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Dennis Miller and Neal Boortz are the ultimate libertarians.



    Eric, you should really try out your comedy routine in the smaller clubs before taking it to the big leagues.

  • BTS||

    "when government helps promote liberty."

    EXAMPLE, PLZ.

    Seriously, though, what the hell are you smoking?

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