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Pregame Thought

If, as the CW has it, tonight's debate will be very important (and I don't have any counterargument) then it's worth reflecting on how much power has been arbitrarily concentrated in the hands of a single moderator. "Domestic police" is such a vague and flabby topic that, unlike foreign policy, lacks some obvious focus du jour. And as readers will doubtless appreciate certain topics tend to favor Kerry and others favor Bush. Question wording also matters. You could bring up abortion by asking Kerry about how he can be a pro-choice Catholic, or you can bring it up by asking George W. Bush why he favors a grossly unpopular constitutional amendment to ban abortions under virtually all circumstances. You can ask some one vague question about Medicare, or you can decide that it's such an important issue that it deserves several questions on specific sub-topics. At any rate, you get the idea. The point is that if you were sitting in the moderators chair and decided you wanted to throw the debate to your favored candidate, you could do so very easily just by thinking about which questions to ask and how to phrase them.

October 13, 2004 | Permalink

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» Too much power from Bulldog Blue
It bothers me that a few journalists, who generally seem to be of the less competent variety, decide on the questions for a majority of the presidential debates. I look to these guys for a lot of my news, and... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 16, 2004 12:21:43 AM

Comments

You know who would be a good moderator?

A business partner of John Kerry's brother.

(Heck, does Kerry even have a brother?)

Posted by: Grumpy | Oct 13, 2004 1:55:59 PM

Er, Kerry doesn't need a brother. I should've said, "The brother of Kerry's business partner."

Posted by: Grumpy | Oct 13, 2004 1:56:53 PM

Don't worry Matthew... the moderator is from CBS NEWS! Consider it a layup for Kerry.

My pregame thought: Yankees are likely to STILL be Pedro's daddy.

Posted by: Al | Oct 13, 2004 1:57:18 PM

(Heck, does Kerry even have a brother?)


Yes. Kerry's brother, Cameron, was caught breaking in to Kerry's opponent's campaign office during Kerry's first run for office.

Posted by: Al | Oct 13, 2004 1:58:46 PM

I predict, that somehow, matters will lead to the removal of Bush's shirt to resolve the "back bulge" issue. I further predict that what will be founds is... not a radio transmitter, but a wind-up key.

Posted by: G. Svenson | Oct 13, 2004 2:06:40 PM

Al, i'd like to know the backstory on your claim about Cameron, but surely you haven't failed to note that the actual moderator is the brother of a bush business partner? (we'll ignore your typically silly assumption that CBS favors Democrats or Kerry or anything along those lines as too banal and ridiculous to even discuss.)

Posted by: howard | Oct 13, 2004 2:08:00 PM

well it's a good thing we've got bush's golfing buddy covering tonight's debate!

'The worst of the bunch might be Bob Schieffer, who will moderate the third debate on domestic policy. Schieffer, it should be noted, struck up a golfing friendship with George W. Bush during the 1990s. Last year, the "Face the Nation" host told Howard Kurtz, "It's always difficult to cover someone you know personally." Indeed, it must be. This is the same Bob Schieffer who believed that the media had asked "tough questions" during the run-up to the Iraq war. The same Bob Schieffer who, after the 2000 debates, opined, "Clearly tonight, if anyone gained from this debate it was George Bush—he seemed to have as much of a grasp of the issues [as Gore]." The same Bob Schieffer who couldn't for the life of him figure out why Bush would visit the infamously racist Bob Jones University during the 2000 campaign, saying: "The notion that Bush is a Bible-thumping conservative Republican of that ilk is something that's sort of hard to believe." This is not to call Schieffer a partisan hack; just don't expect him to bring a critical persona to the debates."

http://www.motherjones.com/news/update/2004/08/08_403.html

Posted by: florentino ariza | Oct 13, 2004 2:11:24 PM

What's with hating on Bob Schieffer? Dude's been a Washington journalist for like 100 years, he's no debate-rigging partisan hack.

Cameron Kerry is a convert to Judaism and is leading the Kerry campaign's outreach to Jewish voters this year.

Posted by: handle | Oct 13, 2004 2:17:27 PM

I further predict that what will be founds is... not a radio transmitter, but a wind-up key.


You mean a spine. I understand why you are not familiar with it, though, given your choice of candidates.

Posted by: Al | Oct 13, 2004 2:17:47 PM

Howard:

"Sunday, April 4, 2004
Kerry Familiar
By Dan Tuohy
Staff writer

To those who can remember John F. Kerry's first run for public office 32 years ago, his presidential campaign will sound familiar.

The theme then and now: He fought in Vietnam for his country, he had the courage to oppose the war and a Republican White House, and he can be counted on to make a difference for the common folk despite his blue-blood background.

But there was another, seldom-mentioned element of his 1972 run for 5th District congressman: the wild and wooly nature of the primary election that featured a Watergate-type break-in involving Kerry's campaign staff.

Kerry won the Democratic nomination for the Merrimack Valley congressional seat, then lost the general election to Republican Paul Cronin, a former state legislator from Andover.

It was Kerry's only election defeat, and also the only time a hint of misconduct tainted a Kerry campaign.

Anthony "Tony" DiFruscia, one of 10 Democratic candidates who sought the 5th District nomination, was a central player in the scandal that became known as the "Lowell incident." He can recall the long-ago details as if they happened yesterday, and still resents Kerry's reaction to what happened.

DiFruscia was a state legislator from Lawrence at the time. Kerry's younger brother, Cameron, and his campaign field director, Thomas Vallely, were arrested one day before the primary for breaking into a Lowell basement where telephone lines were kept for both the Kerry and DiFruscia campaigns. Their offices were on the same block."

The rest of the story is at: http://www.eagletribune.com/news/stories/20040404/LN_002.htm

Posted by: Al | Oct 13, 2004 2:24:10 PM

Damn, Al is fucking DOMINATING this thread.

Posted by: praktike | Oct 13, 2004 2:28:08 PM

"Domestic police"?

Posted by: Brian C.B. | Oct 13, 2004 2:30:33 PM

Imagine that! Al is being his sliming self! He fails to note that no charges were filed. But hey, he is a good Bush soldier and so must lie and mislead in order to have any point.

Posted by: Rob | Oct 13, 2004 2:31:43 PM

Thank you for the link Al, which not only, as Rob notes, reports that no charges were filed, but which also doesn't support your contention that Cameron broke into the opponent's office. The actual words are:

"Kerry's younger brother, Cameron, and his campaign field director, Thomas Vallely, were arrested one day before the primary for breaking into a Lowell basement where telephone lines were kept for both the Kerry and DiFruscia campaigns. Their offices were on the same block.

Cameron Kerry and Vallely said at the time they were simply responding to a tip that candidate Kerry's phone lines would be cut or vandalized to undermine his get-out-the-vote effort.

Whatever the reason, Lowell police were quick to the scene.

John Kerry accused DiFruscia of orchestrating the arrest."

Typical Al accuracy (but bonus credit to Al for making it easy to debunk him).

Now, care to comment, Al, since Praktile has credited you with DOMINATING this thread, on the suitability of Schiefer, Bush golf buddy and brother of a Bush business partner?

Posted by: howard | Oct 13, 2004 2:35:52 PM

I predict, that somehow, matters will lead to the removal of Bush's shirt to resolve the "back bulge" issue. I further predict that what will be founds is... not a radio transmitter, but a wind-up key.

If Bush's shirt comes off, I hope Kerry rubs his manly pecs. Yowza!

Posted by: wonketta | Oct 13, 2004 2:35:53 PM

Is it possible that Cameron Kerry didn't have to convert to Judaism? I believe that Kerry's fraternal grandfather (who's name I seem to recall was Cohen) was Jewish.

Posted by: GAB | Oct 13, 2004 2:39:56 PM

The extreme impartiality of CBS aside, who mediates really isn't all that important to me. Kerry has proven that, although, he is very smooth, he has no real position. He has spent the last year making a position out of not having a position. He followed Dean, and overtook him on his issues, now he is saying that the president is wrong, but he will fix it all with some mysterious “PLAN” he has. He will win in Iraq?? But I thought it was un-winnable. He will grant us world peace, how? Well he and Edwards have a plan. If Christopher Reeves could have held on for another year-Kerry Edwards would have had him walking. It’s all in the plan!

Posted by: Kevin | Oct 13, 2004 2:59:24 PM

You mean a spine.

None would be happier than I to discover that somebody had finally donated Bush a spine. Especially if it came attached with a central nervous system...

Posted by: G. Svenson | Oct 13, 2004 3:00:30 PM

Is it possible that Cameron Kerry didn't have to convert to Judaism? I believe that Kerry's fraternal grandfather (who's name I seem to recall was Cohen) was Jewish.

NOPE. Judaism can only be inherited from the maternal line. Otherwise, you must convert.

Posted by: flip | Oct 13, 2004 3:07:57 PM

But but but ... Was it not Schieffer who said: "But where I am kind of prejudiced is I always pull for people, in a funny kind of way, from my part of the country. I am not one of those who believes that every bit of wisdom somehow originates in the northeastern part of the United States. So when somebody comes out of the South, I'm always kind of secretly pulling for them. I want to see them show up those guys who went to all of those fancy schools in the north ..."

Posted by: philboid studge | Oct 13, 2004 3:28:25 PM

Well, I can't wait to read how Kerry was able to defeat both Bush and his ringer mediator. He is a great debater, but it is easy to debate when you haven't got a real position to defend, other than whatever your opponent has to say is automatically wrong. It's even easier to debate when you have some "Plan" just waiting to be turned loose that will fix everything. When all else fails, simply say, "Mr. President you are wrong, but Sen. Edwards and I have plan to put it right." When there is no substance to the plan, you can't be beat on it. Hell, no mediator can knock you off balance with such a broad stance.

Posted by: Kevin | Oct 13, 2004 3:44:02 PM

Schieffer is the worthless fuckwad who slimed Wesley Clark during the primary campaign. In fact, if you go back and look at the transcripts, you might notice that Brokaw, Russert, and Shieffer coordinated their attacks on Clark. When Brokaw received the highest award from the National Press Club in '03, four of his closest friends spoke at the presentation, including Russert and Schieffer. Man did they gush ... a true mutual admiration society.

Ironic, isn't it, that these pieces of shit can win journalism awards, and are given a hand in a presidential debate.

Posted by: poputonian | Oct 13, 2004 3:49:32 PM

poputonian,

Clark was the only man in the democratic primaries that I had any real respect for. But, after seeing his performance there, I became convinced that he had no business out front in politics. He is the one man there I had seen take a stand, and knew where he stood and was able to respect. But after he got into the election process, I didn't even recognize him. He didn't need to be slimed, he shot himself in the foot. I prefer to think of him as the tough to please, very determined General who commanded EUCOM, not the guy who showed up at those primary debates.

Posted by: Kevin | Oct 13, 2004 3:58:23 PM

Clark wasn't prepared to have the mainstream media attacking him like they did. In that sense, you are right that he was puzzled at how to deal with it, and how to speak like a politician. But the larger point I was making, is that pumpkin head, speech impediment, and old senile have an alarming span of influence that covers two of three networks, plus cable. The three are practically best friends and they fire personal opinions against someone without regard to journalistic integrity. I think Brokaw called Clark crazy. It's wrong.

Setting that aside, I'm not too worried about tonight's questions, because no matter what they are, I think Kerry will get his important points out. Who knows what we'll get with dumbya. I suspect Karen's given given him a frontal lobotomy and he'll be so calm and reserved he'll seem catatonic compared to last Friday.

Posted by: poputonian | Oct 13, 2004 4:16:49 PM

Kevin, i'm curious - do you bother to inform yourself about anything before posting? or do you just like to vent incohate resentment? it's hard to tell, since the actual substance of your remarks about kerry is unrelated to actual reality (i.e., Kerry has a clear plan for iraq, he didn't call iraq unwinnable, while george bush has no plans about anything and has screwed up everything he's touched, thereby violating the hippocratic oath and making his removal alone an improvement, just like kerry says).

Posted by: howard | Oct 13, 2004 5:34:23 PM

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