GOP Has Seen the Future, And It Is 'Inappropriate'

Remember the CNN/YouTube debate? It was only a week ago, but now that it has so vastly changed the nature of presidential debates — so much so, in fact, that we can hardly remember the older, stodgier variety — it should be noted that the Republicans have seen the future and said, "No thanks."

The GOP faces the 'Tube on Sept. 17; invitations went out last week, and so far it looks as if "scheduling conflicts" may keep Rudy Giuliani from getting there, as much as he would love to. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) watched the Democrats squirming before a gay couple asking about marriage, a snowman and a grown man cradling a gun the size of a Labrador retriever and calling it his "baby." McCain, who fought off torturers in a prison cell for nearly six years during the Vietnam War, said taking questions from a snowman is "frankly inappropriate." Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said "the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman." 

They are all correct, but if they want to win a general election they should probably keep it to themselves. Exactly what job are they trying out for — queen of England or president of the United States in the last millennium? Sure, it's demeaning and embarrassing and more. I think I would rather swallow gasoline than go through it, but then again I would rather swallow gasoline than run for president. The questions are coming from the very Americans these men hope to lead, and they live in the country the United States has become — technologically advanced, overloaded on information and addicted to consuming it, a nation filled with people who would rather watch videos on the Internet than read.

Ironically, the biggest news from the YouTube debate had nothing to do with Internet video. It was the fight sparked between Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) over engaging the enemy, and it could have been asked by Walter Cronkite many moons ago. There is another fundraising deadline two weeks after the Republican YouTube debate, and it complicates the schedule, as ALL debates ALWAYS do. But the Republicans hoping to stop the Democrats from taking the White House back in 2008 should swallow their fear and face down those video screens.


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