To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

YouTube Debates

I'm looking forward to the CNN/YouTube debate on Monday. I like the idea of having the general public submit questions for the candidates rather than the same old politically correct questions that seem to come from reporters and moderators. It has potential to be a great step forward for presidential debates.

However, I say "has potential" because it also has potential to be pretty disappointing. The questions will be screened by a CNN VP and Political Director.

So the big question is: How much different will the selected questions turn out to be? Of course, many will consist of the same topics found in any of the debates: health care, immigration, abortion, the war, and so on. But I'm sure YouTubers are also submitting questions on the drug war, decentralization of education, and separation of church and state. I especially hope for more meaningful environmental questions (e.g. "How will your plan for cutting carbon emissions affect the economy, and do you think the benefits outweigh the costs?")... the kinds of questions that demand a stronger response than the usual sugar-coated but content-free responses to environmental concerns.

There is no doubt in my mind that the general public will think of better questions than those who have moderated debates in the past. The success of the CNN/YouTube debates will depend on whether the selected questions are clever and new, or whether they are the same old questions asked by different people.

I'll be at work during the live debates, but I plan to watch the entire thing on rerun. Whether the format of the debate is revolutionary or just a gimmick will determine the anger level of my Tuesday post. See you there.

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