Bill Steigerwald Bill Steigerwald, 12/1/2007 [Archive]

We Need More Agendas Amateurs and Plants at the Debates -- Opinion



Hollywood "eco-crusader" Laurie David is out of her gourd when it comes to global warming.

But she was barking up the right tree when she used her Huffington Post blog recently to rip Tim Russert for never once uttering the words 'global warming' while moderating two presidential debates for NBC and asking nearly 300 questions to 2008 presidential wannabes on 16 'Meet the Press' programs.

Of course, David doesn't want Russert to merely utter the 'GW' words.

She wants him to jump on her biodiesel bandwagon and start grilling Rs and Ds alike with questions like this one, which is but a slight parody of lauriedavid.com's urgent tone:

"Given that anthropogenic global warming threatens the existence of life on Earth, and given that the evil United States, with only 4 percent of the world's population, is responsible for 22 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, what would you do as president to facilitate the rapid transition to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources that we desperately need to combat global warming, ensure a secure, affordable energy future and help filthy-rich Hollywood liberals like Laurie David and Sheryl Crow deal with their guilt?'

David is an eco-nut with an agenda. But she's on to something.

Lots of worthy bipartisan questions with obvious agendas have not been asked by Russert, Anderson Cooper, et al., which is one reason the 52 presidential debates so far have been so dull/forgettable.

Take the war on drugs:

'Mayor Giuliani, given that nearly a million Americans are in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, and given that many countries in Western Europe have decriminalized or legalized drugs like marijuana, and given that we're supposed to be free people, what would you do as president to change this country's Taliban-like drug policy?'

Or our socialist education policy:

'Sen. Obama, given that our 19th-century factory model of schooling has been failing our inner-city children for decades, and given that a majority of black parents say they support school voucher plans, what would you do as president to bring genuine school choice to -- '

Or the Israelis and the Palestinians:

"Israel has violated international law for decades with settlements and illegal roads. When you are president, what are you going to do to solve this issue?"

That perfectly good, provocative and heavily loaded question from citizen Michael Lorenz of Queens, N.Y., was one of nearly 5,000 YouTube questions submitted for the GOP debate on CNN Wednesday night.

It was passed over by CNN's inept, biased producers, obviously, or Rush Limbaugh would still be talking about it.

But it was better than most of the inane and/or Democrat-planted debate questions CNN did use Wednesday -- or ones that have been asked by the professional newsmen and pundits who've been trashing CNN for using YouTube submissions from cartoon characters and commoners like Lorenz.

Anything is better than re-asking every Republican candidate for the tenth time where he really, really stands on gay marriage or abortion, or re-asking a Democrat over and over for his or her position on states issuing driver's licenses for illegals.

By now we can lip-synch every candidate's canned answer to these and other batting-practice questions.

And if pros like Russert can't or won't throw a major league curveball at Rudy or Hillary, or zing a high, tight spitter at Obama's ear or Mitt's perfect chin, let's start using more trouble-making amateurs -- or even more plants like Hillary's YouTubing retired gay general.

Bill Steigerwald is a columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. E-mail Bill at steigerwald@caglecartoons.com.© Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, All Rights Reserved.

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