July 23, 2007
YouTube Debate

CNN will be airing its much vaunted YouTube Democratic Presidential Debate tonight at 4 p.m. (PST). Supposedly the big draw is the fact that average Americans get to submit questions to the potential leader of the free world while sitting behind their computers at home.

It will be curious to see how debate moderator Anderson Cooper - and platoons of faceless producers - choose the questions and what tone they'll take. "Sen. Clinton, why do you love America so much?" Or will the queries actually have substance and put the candidates on the spot? If so, Barack Obama may have to stray from his lets-all-focus-on-issues-that-every-American-agrees-with strategy.

The whole affair sounds as gimmicky as a Cal Worthington commercial. To be honest, if ratings were the main goal, strapping the Democratic candidates onto the wings of a biplane or holding the debate alongside bears and tigers in a car-lot full of Yugos might be a better use of airtime.

YouTube has many good usages. There's bitchin Quiet Riot music videos, funny parodies of the Transformers SOS Dinobots and rednecks blowing up washing machines with sparkler bombs. For political geeks you can even watch old Al Gore speeches where the former VP bashes the Bush administration for not invading Iraq and allowing Saddam Hussein to continue his pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction while murdering hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens.

More importantly, the site allows a writer to make obscure American pop culture references and then link to the video he was referring thus allowing the readers to know what the hell he's blathering about.

However I don't really have high hope that this will be some watershed moment in representative democracy. This isn't because of the new format. Who knows, it might grow on people. It just would have been nice if CNN could have held the YouTube debate's debut at a later date during the actual primaries when things matter.

Barring any technical difficulties, I intend to live-blog the debate so hopefully I'll be able to make it through the entirety. There are no guarantees since the Mariners game is on tonight and Horacio Ramirez takes the mound against the Rangers with his 13.21 ERA on the road. The wolfhounds need brushing too...

With luck, the assonantal Eric Earling will craft a response as well.

Posted by DonWard at July 23, 2007 08:24 AM | Email This
1. I'm hoping someone will ask Hillary to compare-and-contrast Scooter Libby's commutation with Mark Rich's pardon.

Posted by: Rey Smith on July 23, 2007 09:27 AM
2. I hope your not expecting any questions harder then 'Boxer or Briefs?'.....

Posted by: CrazyFool in Lynnwood on July 23, 2007 09:32 AM
3. I think it was Bryan or Allah on hotair.com that said that this is a gimmick. While obstensibly it's a chance for the little people to ask a question, in reality the producers and moderator will choose questions that they would have asked anyway. I'm guessing we'll see questions like, "why are you so wonderful," and "why do you love America so much," and "when elected will you raise the dead, or be content with merely curing the ill?"

Posted by: Obi-Wan on July 23, 2007 09:41 AM
4. I just hope they have some more of those great "show of hands" questions like they did before.... Remember the "raise your hand if you believe in evolution" (or something like that) question? Ohhh... that was a great one.

Posted by: Capt. Sarcastic on July 23, 2007 10:01 AM
5. The dem debates have been a farce thus far. The other clowns are jockeying for a shot to be Hillary's! second banana; they're not running for themselves.

That said, look for more questions like "Why do President Bush and the Republicans hate America so much?" and the like.

Posted by: Steve in Queen Anne on July 23, 2007 10:02 AM
6. "Senator Obama, do you consider Islamic terrorists or Republicans a greater threat to Western society?"

Posted by: Frank Black on July 23, 2007 10:44 AM
7. Expectations that this will be an honest debate with real questions are so low that we will be nothing if not pleasantly surprised.

Maybe the CCCP-o-crats will ask the candidates whether they believe intelligent design or evolution should be taught in 8th grade science classes.

Posted by: Andy on July 23, 2007 10:45 AM
8. I read an article that said one of the submissions was someone standing outside a payday loan place asking "what are you going to do about predatory lenders?"

How about taking away the gun that is at your head that is forcing you to use them?

Same goes for the "sub-prime" lending. Not. One. Dime.

Posted by: Palouse on July 23, 2007 10:53 AM
9. How about by taking away our medical choice with
Socialized medicine , do you all still believe in Affirmitive Action ?

Posted by: Mick Sheldon on July 23, 2007 03:04 PM
10. I heard one of the questions... ( I want government health care.............. But I want it done cheap)

I had to go buy a beer right after that question..lol

Posted by: Army Medic/Vet on July 23, 2007 03:40 PM
11. I'm waiting for the Home Shopping Network Democrat Debate. You know, as in "Mrs. Clinton those cultured pearls that you're wearing...did you just say 'Oh, heckfire, why wait until Christmas? I deserve 'em and I'm gonna go ahead and get em'? -- I just say this 'cause they look absolutely marvy on you."

Posted by: Rey Smith on July 23, 2007 05:32 PM
12. Ramiez is living down to his 13.21 era tonight, but not so much that I could stomach an evening with Osama Obama and Hitlery. But then again, Hitlery could probably out pitch the guy the M's traded prime-time reliever Raphael Soriano for.

Posted by: Saltherring on July 23, 2007 07:42 PM
13. One thing Hillary said is that liberals prefer being called "Progressives", Did you know that the early Nazi Party in the 1930's in Germany also preferred being referred to as Progres-sives ? Perhaps a window into the future...if we are so deranged to elect her.

No candidate except for Biden proposed a viable solution to Iraq. Everyone was adept at dancing around this issue. His solution to divide in the regions isn't bad, but probably very difficult to implement at this time. This debate is a mixed bag - some of the questions are out of the box and others are stupid. Seems like the more we hear them debate - the less that people will like them.

Posted by: KS on July 23, 2007 07:48 PM
14. KS, but in the early 1900s, Taft and Wilson were "progressives."

More recently, though, former U.S. Vice President ran for President on the Progressive ticket ... and almost everyone else high up in his party was, literally, a communist: soviet sympathizers, and likely, spies. It's the big reason why the "progressive" label fell out of fashion for a few decades.

Posted by: pudge on July 23, 2007 10:53 PM
15. KS, but in the early 1900s, Taft and Wilson were "progressives."

More recently, though, former U.S. Vice President ran for President on the Progressive ticket ... and almost everyone else high up in his party was, literally, a communist: soviet sympathizers, and likely, spies. It's the big reason why the "progressive" label fell out of fashion for a few decades.

Posted by: pudge on July 23, 2007 10:55 PM
16. The Mainstream Media is so lame, that it has to "frame" the Internet Political story in something this stupid. This is so far from reality, it's amusing.

Posted by: Jeff B. on July 23, 2007 11:12 PM
17. I thought it was funny that Biden's "Then what?" question he tried to have stuffed into the video questions by having large groups of people read the same question saying "They can not ignore the question if we submit a whole bunch of these". I guess Joe is going back to his early roots of plagerism, he is obviously copying ACORN's ballot stuffing model.

Posted by: Smokie on July 24, 2007 06:49 AM
Ok fuddy-duddies...I have to say at least it's a first step.

I'm still amazed at the number of things that are not available on the internet -- especially streaming video.

I mean, where was the first few debates? Why weren't they freely broadcast live on the Internet (if they were, I couldn't find them)?

Cable has to go. The world is point to point, not top down, pipe to home.

BTW -- I switched to Clearwire here in Kent, WA and am getting fantastic speeds!

Posted by: John Bailo on July 24, 2007 08:22 AM
19. I watched a little of the debate and found it mostly gimmicky. Not to be outdone, I heard the R's are doing one too. Goodie.

Ramiez is living down to his 13.21 era tonight

He's definitely someone who likes pitching at Safeco rather than on the road. He's 5-0 with a 2.27 ERA at home. He had a really nice game against Baltimore at home a couple of weeks ago. I wouldn't call this trade a total bust yet. Soriano has given up 6 runs in his last 4 innings and blown two saves in the process. And it's not like the M's bullpen is hurting - they are in the top 5 in the league for bullpen ERA.

Posted by: Palouse on July 24, 2007 09:16 AM
20. pudge- I refer you to the following quote found on

"At the root of all this is the almost total domination of the Democrat party by self-proclaimed "progressives" a code word for socialists once used by the members of Moscow's subservient American communist party to identify each other.

No matter how you describe it, Socialism is a coercive ideology that cannot survive without ultimately resorting to force to enforce its totalitarian doctrines. Violence is socialism's ultimate weapon. In its name, hundreds of millions of people were murdered by such socialist regimes as the Soviet Union, the Chinese communist government, Castro's Cuba and Hitler's National Socialist (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei - NAZI) party among others."

Wilson and Taft called themselves Progressives, but that was before the days of the Nazi party and the heyday of the Soviet Union. That use of progressive has supplanted out the former use of progressive by the former Presidents in the early 1900's.

Posted by: KS on July 24, 2007 08:21 PM
21. KS: I don't disagree with anything you said (indeed, I referenced Henry Wallace), but I do disagree with your implication that a meaning prevalent in the 1950s is necessarily holding today.

Meanings change. Names do not mean today what they did before. "Socialist" in America today has a very different meaning than it does in Eastern Europe. Granted, it is in large part a matter of degree, but so too was Teddy Roosevelt's progressiveness merely a matter of degree from FDR's, and Clinton's, and Kucinich's, and communists'.

Posted by: pudge on July 30, 2007 05:05 PM
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