Rushed again.

Rush, we have to stop meeting like this. I’m quoted on Limbaugh’s show again in the discussion over the YouTube CNN debate and various Republicans’ attempts to weasel out of it — and Rush’s attempt to find excuses for them. In full:

RUSH: The controversy here over the Republicans not participating in the upcoming YouTube CNN debate has led to lots of discussion, as some people think the Republicans are going to have this backfire on them because you gotta go out there and you gotta face the people. If you’re afraid to face the people, meaning the average Americans who upload their questions via video on YouTube, then you’re acting cowardly and so forth. Note the Democrats, to this day are scared to death to go on Fox, you got Barack Obama and Hillary in a meaningless argument over which thug around the world they will talk to when, the fact is, neither of them has the guts to go on Fox News for a debate. But you don’t hear that portrayed in the Drive-By Media. Now the Republicans say, “You know what, the office of the presidency is a little bit higher, has a little bit more prejudice than subjecting ourselves to questions from idiots dressed up as snowmen and so forth.” Now they’re saying it’s going to backfire on them, and this was a discussion on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday with Howard Kurtz. He’s talking with Jeff Jarvis, media critic. Kurtz says, “They were supposed to, or at least was tentatively scheduled, a Republican presidential debate with CNN YouTube format for September. Now a lot of the Republicans are expressing reservations, have scheduling problems. Do you think the Republicans are being aware of being questioned by people who submit their queries through YouTube?”

JARVIS: I think they’re revealing themselves to be a bunch of fraidy cats. The Republicans for some reason have not done as much on the interpret and YouTube as the Democrats have, though in Europe it’s conservatives who are ahead on YouTube, so it’s not a bias thing as Rush Limbaugh tried to insist this week. I think the Republicans were trying to find some way to weasel out of this, and they used scheduling excuses, bias excuses, dignity excuses, but I think it’s going to come around. I’m going to bet it’s going to happen, and because they can’t avoid talking to us.

RUSH: They are not trying to avoid talking to you. By the way, they’re going to try to reschedule this thing for December, is what I’m hearing. I never said the Republicans shouldn’t do it because of bias. We all know there’s bias in the Drive-By Media. We all know that CNN’s going to choose questions based on their agenda, based on what they get submitted to them. We know there’s going to be bias. I suggested that it would be a rotten thing to do because it’s demeaning to the office. It lowers the office to the level of the lowest common denominator of pop culture. This is being presented as some revolutionary new thing, and it’s not. It’s no different than having an audience in there that you stand around, you run around with a microphone, let ’em ask questions and so forth, and you know how well that goes, and you know that they have never turned over, CNN nor any network has never turned over totally a debate to people in the audience. They occasionally go to people in the audience, like the ponytailed guy in Richmond, Virginia, back in 1992 who wanted all those candidates to explain to him how they were going to treat us like their children and so forth, it was gag me with a spoon time on that. If I were these professional journalists, I’d be a little upset that I’m being aced out of this. The Drive-By Media is in enough trouble as it is without their prestige being put on the line here by claiming that the debate will be better with these yahoos sitting out there with these cameras submitting their stuff via upload to YouTube.

So it is demeaning to the office to talk with the voters. Those good people on the last debate were “the lowest common denominator of pop culture.” Some man and party of the people that is.

  • There’s a difference between being questioned openly by arbitrary people and having a third party sift questions for possible “gotcha” moments. What Rush is saying (badly) is that CNN will cherry pick questions. You want an honest YouTube debate session? Have the submissions randomly selected. I doubt you would see as much ducking from that.

  • chico haas

    In all of this, I’ve never heard it suggested that those with the technological wherewithall to shoot and post a question on YT, go out into the community and find those average Americans who aren’t as tech savvy and submit their questions. The policeman, the homeless person, the fruit picker, the dockworker, the soldier, the cabbie, the minister, the two-job parents, the pregnant teen, etc.

    This is not to say that YTers don’t count or don’t have legitimate questions or aren’t “average Americans.” But it would project a more populist feel that makes it nearly unassailable by either party.

  • You know what I’D like to see? I’d like to see RUSH LIMBAUGH go live on YouTube for a question and answer session. Let’s see how long HE takes to actually do it…

  • It is demeaning for politicians to appear on TV to be questioned by someone dressed as a snowman.

    Your characterization of Limbaugh’s position is dishonest but fair – he is continually ridiculing people for positions they don’t hold – why shouldn’t he receive some of the same?

  • Trogdor

    I just have one simple question, for Republicans (and any other political creatures out there):

    Why is it I have to take my shoes off before I get on an airplane, while simultaneously the US-Mexico border is wide-open, and has been for many years?

    There’s something *really* screwy there.

  • Eric Gauvin

    This is sounding a lot like that other famous debate about a debate:

    I guess people have their reasons to decide who, when, where, how they debate.

    American citizens don’t have a track record of being too smart about or involved in politics and current events, so why should owning a video camera and a computer change things all of a sudden? Jeff, you’re making it sound like these little videos are going to give America some kind of profound and much needed “wake up call.”

  • Interesting that Rush goes all the way back to a 1992 debate for an example as to why this would be a bad idea.

    Oh wait… 1992 was the last time this hypocritical, mis-informed hilbilly heroin addict was really relevant, wasn’t it?

  • Rob

    I think the problem here is that CNN screwed up the Democrat run at YouTube by picking goofy questions.

    It’s a good idea to vet the questions, but I think the vetting should be done by someone with no dog in the hunt. Pick some bipartisan committee to vet the questions or a bipartisan think tank or some such.

    CNN is always going to go for “wow” factor and questions that support the current narrative on various issues. On health care, to pick an example, they’re always going to pick questions about insurance and access, because those go to the current narrative of the stories they’re running.

    I’d say put the videos up to a vote, but you know how that goes on the internet. Out of pure snark people would vote for the most outlandish videos, pop up some popcorn and relish the spectacle.

    The real problem here is that both parties are so disgusting these days that no one takes politics or elections seriously. When your choice is between two sets of dishonest, self-aggrandizing, corrupt politicians who will say or do just about anything to get elected, it’s just hard to care too deeply or take it very seriously.

    I’d love to see a national “throw the bums out” movement. I think we’d be better off with a complete set of newbies than the bunch we’ve got. Hell, I think you could almost pick Americans at random and do better than we’ve got.

  • Rush isn’t claiming that talking to the American People is demeaning. Talking to people in the manner of a You-Tube “debate” is.

  • Rush Limbaugh is a cheerleader and an apologist for the Republican Party and attempting to involve him—or any of his counterparts on the opposite side of the political spectrum— in any kind of intellectual debate on the issues of this country is going to be a waste of time.

    If I know what someone’s answer is going to be before he or she gives it, then why engage them at all?

    Our two-party system has de-evolved into a standing game of Monday Night Football, in which the goal is for one team or the other to win and keep winning, the needs of the country be damned, and even more importantly, for the players—and their corporate owners— to reap as many rewards as possible.

    What we need isn’t a YouTube/CNN debate involving presidential candidates, it’s a national conversation amongst ourselves about making this country everything that it can and should be—leaving the politicians to play their silly games alone…until they notice the stands are empty.

  • R Rainey

    Whoever said talking to the “American People” in whatever manner they choose is required? Where has it ever been done before? Frankly, there is a long history of Presidential candidates NEVER talking directly with the people. The Dem YT debate did not change that, and we are kidding ourselves to pretend it did.

  • If the Republicans don’t want to answer questions from snowmen, then why don’t they just institute a rule of decorum for all submitted questions? Just because YouTube will take anything with a framerate doesn’t mean it has to be aired on a candidates’ forum in the name of coolness or whatever. On the other hand, the D’s and R’s need to get out of their partisan amen corners and realize many of us in American have had it with extreme conservatism/extreme liberalism.