Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Unfortunately, the journalists’ open letter to ABC although well-intended is completely off the target. No one has to react to obvious stupidity. The obvious stupidity is self-destructive. Far worse is a gray-area stupidity that keeps the nation on the wrong course for decades but no media outlet, no journalist and no professional organization steps up to correct it.

The most urgent duty of the American journalists is to investigate why the two best-qualified candidates, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, couldn’t get more than a few percent of the primary votes.

Without leaders capable of solving the problems it is impossible to solve them. Let me remind you that all of them--Obama, Clinton and McCain--failed to be efficient uniters or dealmakers capable of accomplishing anything worthy while serving in the US Senate. Those candidates have always been at or very close to the steering wheel of their respective parties.

Contrary to them, both Kucinich and Paul were on the right side of history but always pushed far away from the executive party positions. It means that either of them would be able to accomplish something if given executive or legislative power.

Smart or stupid questions by ABC moderators cannot provide the candidates with the depth, strength, intelligence or integrity they lack. All three of the frontrunners have already exposed the fatal flaws that would prevent them breaking loose from the centripetal force that pulls us down to the bottom of a whirlpool. The problem is that our journalists have failed to recognize those deficiencies and present them clearly to the American public.

Kenan Porobic

Charlotte, NC

Apr 18 2008 - 1:56pm

Web Letter

A debate worthy of my attention would be one that distinguishes candidates based on policies they would put on place once in office. These policies would cover issues like the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, our crumbling economy, health care, poverty and the environment.

I think including who their cabinet might be composed of (maybe not people's names but the kinds of people they are thinking of), their thoughts on filing the Supreme Court when the next two judges leave and their views of foreign powers (especially China) would be insightful. Even where they see the US fitting in a growing world that is leaving us behind would be helpful.

Any questions that shed light on the kind of administration the candidates would create (both in context and content) would make for an excellent debate.

Answering questions about the past (twenty years or five minutes) will not provide a look at our country's future under their guidance.

Thanks for asking!

Linda Magid

Plano, TX

Apr 18 2008 - 1:23pm

Web Letter

Dabate tactics? Surely you jest. These are not debates. Media journalists' self-interest is palpable and harmful to the candidates and the voters.

Sarah D. Pusey

Calistoga, CA

Apr 18 2008 - 1:06pm

Web Letter

The abomination that ABC passed off as a debate hopefully will be the beginning of the end of this type of "gotcha" politics that have dominated the US political scene for the past decade. As a start we should stop glorifying the multitude of politcal consultants and spokespersons like Rove, Carville, Matalin, FOX news etc. who see the world through one point of view and the media as their personal playground to advance whomever they have signed on to shill for.

Is it possible with all that is happening in the world that TV journalists can't think of an original question that might illuminate the differences between the candidates and actually require that they think on their feet. That can't happen when every question comes from last week's blogosphere.

Why weren't questions like the following asked?

1. How do you see our economic relationship with China and India changing over the next few years?

2. Isn't the country better off today following the years of civil rights actions and do you think conservatives or liberals played a more useful role in getting where we are today?

3. We have seen clips of Rev. Wright saying "Goddamn America." Can you tell me what he was talking about when he said this? Do you know of any events over our nation's history where such a remark might occur to you, although you might use less incendiary language?

4. Many Americans do not have an American flag flying at their homes nor do they wear flag pins on a daily basis. What do you think this tells us about their patriotism?

5. In the event of International tensions such as Darfur, WMD, North Korea, do you have a preference for working through the UN or NATO or via bilateral or multilateral initiatives? Explain which crises lend themselves best to which approach.

6. The Vietnam war ended years ago and we now have peaceful relations with that country. If that was a defeat, as some say, would you accept a similar end to the conflict in Iraq if you knew the outcome would be similar?

7. What do you think Jesus would say about the religious right in America?

8. If you learned that a terrorist act had just occurred in America would you continue to read a book to children?

9. How much do you think the US should spend on the Iraq embassy compound and how much would you spend on improving schools in the inner cities?

10. Are US soldiers in Iraq primarily involved in fighting a war against terrorism, mediating an internal ethnic conflict, or trying to justify a huge mistake made by Bush?

11. If we held a referendum in Iraq on how and when the US should leave, would you abide by that decision?

Dennis Stynes

Thornhill, Ontario, Canada

Apr 18 2008 - 1:05pm

Web Letter

First and foremost, a "real" debate should not look quite so much like the Jerry Springer show, where the moderator eggs on the candidates to get into a fight. It should also deal with substantive issues that affect the American people, not on which candidate chooses to wear a flag pin or what.

There is nothing wrong about quizzing candidates about their associations, but only insofar as there is some plausible link to why or how this will affect policy.

And as to questions that rehash controversies that have been addressed over and over again (e.g., snipergate and bittergate), this is not news.

The real "elitists" who are condenscending to the American public are not Clinton, Obama, or even McCain--they are Gibson, Stephanapolous and ABC news.

The American people are not dumb, they are perfectly capable of going beyond soundbites, and they know which issues are contrived and which are real.

Ana Mari Cauce

Seattle, WA

Apr 18 2008 - 12:50pm

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.