I am still waiting for someone to tell me which questions were unfair, and which questioners were “unfairly” plucked from the “fringe” to make the Republicans look bad. Here again is my challenge:
So they think the questions unfairly represented the current GOP? Fine. Which questions? Which questions were plucked from the fringe?
I am betting that I can find someone in the top 500 of the TTLB blogroll who identifies as a Republican who has asked/stated/argued EVERY question asked last night, whether it be Mars exploration (I think the hardest one to link to the GOP) to the Confederate Flag to gun rights to the immigration stances to the biblical literalism portrayed last night.
James Joyner at Outside the Beltway gets it mostly right when he notes that “who these people are doesn’t invalidate their questions,” but then goes on to state:
If one didn’t know better, one might suspect that CNN intentionally assembled a bunch of yahoos in the crowd to represent the Republican base and then fed the candidates gotcha questions from Democrats in order to make them look bad. That would be entertaining, I suppose, but horridly bad journalism. It’s perhaps more hopeful to think that they simply didn’t bother to vet the questioners. Of course, that’s not exactly good journalism, either.
What were the “gotcha” questions? Who were the yahoos? How do they differ from the stated positions of bloggers WELL within the mainstream of the Republican party? It wasn’t the biblical literalism question, because here is Red State:
Oh, and mock me if you will, but I do not question the account of Jonah and the Whale. You know, Mayor, Faith ain’t just a woman’s name.
The right-wing Bush fluffer-sphere is up in arms because the country got a good look at who the GOP really is last night. And when you look at what the GOP really is, and what they really believe in and what they really stand for, well, that just ain’t good for the Republicans.
*** Update ***
Good for Captain Ed:
Abject incompetence, yes. If these bloggers could discover this information — mostly from their YouTube profiles, not exactly heavy lifting — then CNN should have vetted the questioners better. With the possible exception of General Kerr, it doesn’t appear that the questioners made any attempt to hide their affiliation; they simply posted their questions, and CNN blithely selected them at face value.
Bad journalistic practices? Definitely yes. But does that negate the questions themselves? I don’t think so. The CNN/YouTube format closely parallels that of the traditional town-hall forum. For the most part, attendees do not get vetted at these events either, nor should they. After all, while a primary usually involves voters of one party, the entire nation has a stake in the selection of the nominees. If Hillary Clinton held a town hall in my community, I should have an opportunity to question her about her positions on issues without pledging a loyalty oath to do so.***
CNN deserves the brickbats it will receive for its atrocious research skills. However, Republicans should be prepared to answer the questions the candidates received in this debate. At some point, this will cease being an intramural fight and we will have to convince all of America to vote for our nominee. That won’t happen if we can’t handle fastballs, with a couple of curveballs in the mix.
Other than the gratuitous CNN bashing, Ed is on to something. Although I am not sure why he thinks the questioners need to be vetted in the first place.