Elephants on My YouTube

Getting ready to watch the Republican YouTube debate on CNN. I missed the Democratic version a few weeks ago and had to watch it in chunk online, so I’ll be interested to see how this debate plays live. One of the interesting questions that has come up this time around is that the YouTube format may not be as timely as other formats. For example, the questions were posted several days before today’s Politico report claiming that Rudy Giuliani billed NYC agencies for personal travel, making it more difficult for that issue to be introduced during the debate. That being said, it’s also worth asking whether individual debates should be tethered so heavily to the latest news cycle. I’m still ambivalent about the YouTube format and certainly aware of its limitations in fostering genuine political participation, but I’ll be interested to see how this debate plays out.

I may do some half-hearted liveblogging over the course of the debate if the mood strikes.

Update: Kevin Drum links to some of the post-debate reactions, including a National Review observer who argued that CNN intentionally chose questions from YouTubers that would reinforce negative stereotypes of Republicans as “confederate-flag-waving, gun-toting, bible-brandishing conspiracy theorists.”  I’m inclined to agree with Kevin that these guys (and they were guys for the most part) fit comfortably within the party of Tancredo, Huckabee, and Paul.  Certainly CNN chose questions that would play well on TV, but the views many of them were espousing were consistent with things said during the campaigns.

While I’m updating, I wish I’d noticed that the CNN debate page had (briefly) linked to my blog (which led to a somewhat significant, though, temporary, increase in traffic around here).  I would have made more than a half-hearted attempt to liveblog during the debate.


  1. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

    The opening montage of “questions we’re not going to ask” is a little lame. Just because people are using animated snowmen doesn’t mean they aren’t asking serious questions.

  2. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

    First question is about illegal immigration. It’s Lou Dobbs’ country. We just live here.

  3. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 8:24 pm

    Second question is also about illegal immigration. This is getting old very fast. Thompson’s delivery in the debates is really weak. He seems to be struggling to get his thoughts together.

    McCain’s response to the “border enforcement” issue seems a little more humane than the others.

    Scary observation: Tancredo observes that all of the other Republicans are “trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo.”

  4. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 8:27 pm

    Good God. The first FOUR questions are about illegal immigration. There ARE people who live IN the US already, you know.

  5. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

    And the first question to Paul was also about “national sovereignty,” which is not separate from illegal immigration.

    McCain campaigning against SCHIP doesn’t seem like a very good idea, at least for the national campaign.

  6. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 8:37 pm

    OK, now we’re in the “let’s cite Reagan” round. Both McCain and Giuliani cite Reagan as an example of cutting spending.

  7. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 8:41 pm

    Paul joins the Reagan parade. Huckabee gets the biggest applause of the night by promising to get rid of the IRS and imposing the “Fair” Tax.

  8. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

    McCain gets booed for calling Paul an isolationist.

    Then he gets cheered for saying that the troops want to win the war.

    This audience is completely incoherent.

  9. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 8:46 pm

    Now Duncan Hunter is citing Reagan.

    All of them are saying that they’ve been cutting taxes longer than the next guy. Better jump in my time machine so I can go back in time and lower taxes before Hunter and Romney did.

  10. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 8:58 pm

    This particular debate seems remarkably banal to me. I’m not sure whether the questions are simply unmemorable or whether the format has been streamlined to make the debate–at least as it is appearing on TV–far less participatory than the Dem debate.

  11. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

    The first gun control question was sort of funny. Scary as hell, but funny.

  12. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

    Giuliani is walking on thin ice in talking about reducing black-on-black crime through strong policing.

  13. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 9:20 pm

    Huckabee and Hunter cop out on the death penalty question. The kid asked “The death penalty: What would Jesus do?” Not “do you pray before you sign off on someone’s execution?”

    Romney wavered a bit on the “Word of God” question. Seemed like he wanted to say something about Mormonism but didn’t know how to address it.

  14. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 9:25 pm

    To Giuliani: what would you do to REPAIR our relationship with Muslims?

    Answer: Kill more of them.

  15. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 9:28 pm

    McCain’s second mention of his visit to the troops over Thanksgiving.

  16. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

    Yawn. I know that I’m not the most receptive audience, but none of the candidates seem even remotely engaging. Interesting that both candidates who were asked referred to their hypothetical VP as a “he.”

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