Tuesday, July 24, 2007

the Youtube debate

Check it out here. I don't normally recommend debates-- frankly, they're never anything other than exercises in faking spontaneous wisdom-- but this one was quite good. There was, I thought, a little less ducking of the questions than usual, and there were some interesting questions asked that never get asked in other contexts. There were also some great meta-questions, that is questions that move the conversations to the next level or that don't deal with a specific issue but are still important to people. Hence Clinton got asked whether it makes sense to elect yet another Clinton after 28 years of Bushes and Clintons on the ticket. The candidates got asked whether they self-identify as "liberal" and they think the term means. They got asked whether they would include nuclear power in their solution to the environmental crisis, and whether and in what way they would attack energy consumption as opposed to production.

All in all, this debate was music to my populist ears, as the people asked far better questions, and got better answers, than any pundit or reporter-run debate I've seen. Anderson Cooper, incidentally, also happens to be well-suited to this format: he's quick on his feet and very good at focusing questions. He typically did so with a quick statistic or quote from a candidate that redirected people effectively.

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