Time's Klein Asks Wrong Question About YouTube Debate

Over at Time's "Swampland" blog yesterday, journalist Joe Klein all but suggested the GOP candidates might be hoping to chicken out of the upcoming YouTube debate on September 17, given the leftward slant of the YouTube questions.

Given the generally irreverent and, well, liberal tone of the questions last night--and the general skew of the YouTube audience leeward, do you think it's possible that some of the Republican candidates are having second thoughts about participating in their version of the CNN/YouTube debate on September 17?

And might there be an Ailes gremlin whispering to the candidates: The Dems stiffed us at Fox. You can stiff CNN.

I'm glad Klein agrees with us that the agenda of questions on Monday skewed heavily left-of-center, but where he's off-base is suggesting that Republicans should also be pushed from the left in the debate format.

These debates, after all, are geared towards having Democratic and Republican candidates appealing for votes from their liberal and conservative bases respectively. Critics might say that the debates are an opportunity for the candidates to toss out "red meat" to loyal partisan audiences or (heavens no) pander to the ideological prejudices thereof, but the fact of the matter is Democratic primary voters by and large are liberal and want to push the Democratic field to the left on Iraq, the war on terrorism, taxes, business regulation, and social issues.

Likewise conservatives want Republican candidates for 2008 to be talking about border enforcement, enforcing immigration laws, extending and protecting the Bush tax cuts, winning the war in Iraq, and maintaining a strong global war on terror.

Given that there were conservative questions (on taxes and guns) in the Democratic debate, it's wholly legitimate to toss in some liberal ones in the Republican one.

But given the heavy skew to the left in deference to the liberal Democratic audience watching at home, if there's any skew to the GOP debate on September 17, it should appeal to the concerns right-leaning GOP primary voters.

We at NewsBusters will be watching and we'll compare the agenda of questions after the Republican debate airs in September.


Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.