Thursday, November 5, 2015

Republican Debate Demands

It is surreal that the Republican party, the political party that likes to posit itself as the implacable foe of political correctness and trigger warnings, the party that likes to claim the mantle of tell it like it is muscular masculinity and heterosexual he-man heroics, is wilting like the proverbial pansy in the face of a few tough or mildly irreverent questions from some debate moderators. The same people who were seemingly on the verge of physical release before grilling Hilary Clinton about Benghazi, her email server and anything else for eleven hours can't handle two plus hours of debate questions. They feel that the questions are biased or unfair. They want greater control over the questions, the tone, the time, the format, and oh yes, the thermostat. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Someone asked me tough questions! Mommy make them stop!! Make them stop! It hurts so bad!! It's not fair!
Watching this is like watching Tombstone and instead of seeing Kurt Russell's Sheriff Wyatt Earp tell his enemies that he's coming and hell's coming with him, we see Sheriff Earp curl up in a fetal position with some soy latte and mumble that he's written a very curt letter to the proper authorities about all the mean things those bad men did.They'll be sorry. Pajama Boy Earp complained about them. This is just pathetic. I thought the Republicans were supposed to be the tough guys? They were supposed to be the ones who stood up and showed the rest of us how to live up to the American ideal of heroic individualism. I know that Trump doesn't like to spend a lot of time doing anything where he's not the center of attention. Bush is desperate to have any positive coverage. Carson probably would rather be sleeping than at a debate. But that doesn't mean that they or other candidates should be telling the media how to do its job by sending out the list of below demands and requirements.
  • Will there be questions from the audience or social media? How many? How will they be presented to the candidates? Will you acknowledge that you, as the sponsor, take responsibilities for all questions asked, even if not asked  by your personnel?
  • Will there be a gong/buzzer/bell when time is up? How will the moderator enforce the time limits?
  • Will you commit that you will not:
    • Ask the candidate to raise their hands to answer a question
    • Ask yes/no questions without time to provide a substantive answer
    • Allow candidate-to-candidate questioning
    • Allow props or pledges by the candidates
    • Have reaction shots of members of the audience or moderators during debates
    • Show an empty podium after a break (describe how far away the bathrooms are)
    • Use behind shots of the candidates showing their notes
    • Leave microphones on during the breaks
    • Allow members of the audience to wear political messages (shirts, buttons, signs, etc.). Who enforces?
  • What instructions will you provide the audience about cheering during the debate?
  • What are your plans for the lead-in to the debate (Pre-shot video? Announcer to moderator? Director to Moderator?) and how long is it?
  • Can you pledge that the temperature in the hall be kept below 67 degrees?

Not only does this show that the Republicans who are supporting this silliness are not really ready for prime time it also shows the weakness of many of the Republican policy proposals. If I'm running for President and have what I consider to be good ideas I should be happy to engage skeptics and show them where they're wrong. If on the other hand I have no answer to as to why my tax proposal won't increase the deficit or how I will bully a sovereign nation into paying for another country's border security other than to pout and cry foul then that should tell likely voters about the seriousness of my ideas. The deeper problem (and to be fair it's not solely a Republican one) is that when you spend too much time only listening and talking to people who agree with you on every little thing, you lose the ability to understand that there are people out there who see things differently. Your assumptions and even delusions become your reality because everyone you talk to shares the same worldview. I will write something else on this later I think because it's worth much deeper discussion. I think the Republican frustration over the debates also stems from the fact that there are so many candidates running that even with the field slightly trimmed there's little room to get a word in edgewise. But that has nothing to do with the media. The more candidates there are the less time any one of them has to get media attention. These are debates, not press conferences. For people who are already media-savvy or have methods beyond debate performance to get noticed this may not be an issue. But for some other candidates, it's a big problem. But in any event, crying like a baby who just dropped a mess in his pants is not going to be a winning formula to retake the White House. I'm no Obama legionary but it's incredible that even today there are racists who insult him and his family, wish for his death and believe he's not American. But if the President should even mention any of that, he's the one being divisive. And here we have Republicans who have not gone thru any of that or in some cases were the ones stirring up racist resentment of the President whining and complaining about questions. 

Maybe in my next management meeting when a supervisor asks about project status I should pull out my inner Republican and start whining about mean questions. Wow. Just wow. Man up.
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