Today's champions of the Truth live in the blogosphere. Not everything one finds out here is true, of course, but it's no coincidence that when real news breaks it often does so here first. Snipergate, for example, exists because of the relentless work of bloggers who dug through videos to find the real story of the then-First Lady's Bosnia landing and thereby debunk the exaggerations and outright lies she was telling on the campaign trail. No national news anchor or pundit, network or cable, would have done that. None of them would ever have risked their precious access to the politicians involved. There is simply too much quid pro quo in today's journalistic world.
So why, then, are the moderators of the many, many debates we watch with these candidates always members of the Corporate Press? Why don't we see a Blogosphere Debate? Why don't we get a chance to see what reporters who, lacking the fear to ask real questions, might deem reasonable to pose to the candidates? Instead, we get this:
I'd love to see some respected bloggers ask Obama, Clinton and McCain some of the questions that no one ever bothers to ask. If I were moderating the debate, here are some of the things I'd want to know:
- Senator Clinton, you state almost every day that you do not want to "disenfranchise" the voters of Michigan and Florida, yet you completely supported the DNC's decision until you fell behind in delegates. How do you justify this inconsistency other than pure political pragmatism or extreme chutzpah?
- Senator McCain, you have spent a great deal of the last several years pandering to almost every subset of the right wing of the Republican Party, even seeking out the endorsement of the extremist Reverend Hagee, even pandering to the same Reverend Falwell you once denounced. You were against the Iraq war, but now you favor maintaining a presence there for a hundred years if needed. Have you in fact sold your soul to obtain this nomination?
- Senator Obama, your campaign is supposed to be the New Politics, the politics that rises above the ugliness of the past, yet your operatives have shown themselves completely adept at fighting dirty in the past two months, even at times initiating the negativity, as in Ohio's direct mailings. How do you reconcile this?
- Senator Clinton, you say that you will be the CEO President, yet you have run a campaign that many are calling one of the worst in history. You took what was a giant lead and a war chest that was basically unparalleled in primary campaign history and, on the assumption that you'd merely have to show your face around the country to achieve the nomination, spent both the lead and the money by Super Tuesday. Since then, your campaign has been largely in debt, even (it has been reported) failing to make payments on bills and employees' health care coverage. Will your 3AM call, as one current web parody has it, be from a debt collector?
- Senator McCain, we know that you never said you'd want to fight for another hundred years in Iraq. But you have advocated leaving an American troop presence there for a hundred years, equating such a move to our presence in Japan. But you are not a stupid man, Sir. You know that there is a huge difference between leaving Americans in a peaceful country that is our ally and in one that detests us and is torn apart daily by suicide bombers and infighting among several major factions. Americans are not being killed in Japan. Are you truly telling the American people that this will be the case in Iraq as well? Or are you being disingenuous? And while we're on Iraq: how can you honestly argue that the surge is working when all it has accomplished is bring the state of hostility back to the level it had been a year before it began? Oh, yes, and of course make the American military presence indispensable in maintaining that slightly lower level of mayhem.
- Senator Obama, your relationship with the GLBT community is not as strong as that of Senator Clinton. Though both of you are on record as favoring gay rights, neither of you has a record of having the best relationship with that community; however, at least she is generally viewed as reaching out to them. To date, you have only given a full interview to one gay media outlet. You have allowed an outspoken "ex-gay" pastor to speak at your rally in South Carolina. You have not made a single speech addressing GLBT issues, though you have often made a point of including the community in your blanket calls for equality. Still, you steadfastly refuse to see the basic equality in civil marriage as a civil right. Senator, are GLBT people less equal than other minorities?
- Senator Clinton, you are not a stupid person. You know that either you or Senator Obama is very likely to win in New York and California and other reliably Democratic states. You know that primary victories do not translate into electoral votes. You know that it is impossible to make an accurate count of popular vote in the campaign due to both the caucuses and the fact that there were so many other candidates at the start. You know you cannot mathematically finish ahead of Senator Obama in any category after all of the primaries have been completed. You know that, should the convention award you the nomination in those circumstances, it is very likely to drive a stake into the hearts of the most consistent Democratic constituency in history as well as the millions of young voters who have signed up this year and would quickly learn that the system favors those who are connected. How can you, knowing all of this, continue your incessant attacks on Senator Obama?
- Senator McCain, how can you align yourself with any of the policies of the worst administration in the history of this country, an administration that you yourself have been outspoken about on many occasions?
- Senator Obama, what in the world possessed you to pick up a bowling ball with cameras rolling? What does that tell us about your judgment?