Some GOP candidates are balking at the idea of a CNN/YouTube debate (MORE: WANT TO SAVE THE DEBATE?)

Memeorandum has a link roundup of both news reports and blogger commentary on the possibility of some of the GOP top candidates like Rudy dropping out of the scheduled CNN/YouTube debate that is supposed to take place in September in Florida.

Hugh Hewitt is complaining here that the Democrat CNN/YouTube debate was “silly” and had a clear left-wing bias. Maybe so, but what *I* find silly is the idea that some candidates – and their supporters – are advocating not being a part of the debate.

I’m with Patrick Ruffini on this one:

This is a big mistake. The Democrats are afraid to answer questions from Big Bad Fox News Anchors, and the Republicans are afraid to answer questions from regular people. Which is worse?

It’s stuff like this that will set the GOP back an election cycle or more on the Internet. No matter the snazzy Web features and YouTube videos they may put up, if they’re fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of interacting with real people online, what’s the point?

Having spent the better part of a decade working at the intersection of politics and the Web, I can’t help but feel of a deep, deep sense of dismay that we’re missing something so basic. This is EXACTLY why I am afraid that we will be outraised by $100 million or more in 2008.

Yes, some of the questions on Monday were trivial. Yes, they were partisan. (I expect many of the 9/17 questioners to be partisan Republicans.) Yes, they were messy. But so is democracy. And the fact that some place so much faith in the broken mainstream media over a benign format like this one says a lot about the difficult straits the Republicans are in right now.

Perhaps the rest of the field will prove me wrong.

I’m really disappointed that it looks like Rudy and maybe Romney will be pulling out of this debate. The complaints about it are trivial and, well to use the word again, silly. I’m not saying some of the criticisms of the debate aren’t valid – but there’s really not a network out there outside of Fox that Republicans can debate on and not expect your typical left-leaning questions – whether it be from the ‘official’ question person or the audience, so is the answer to skip out on those debates, too? Please.

I see all the hoopla this morning about the possibility of candidates pulling out of the Sept. 17 debate has some selective-memory liberals like Josh Marshall chuckling:

“Liberal Bias”, whatever else it once was, now appears to be the new Republican code word for any venue or events not controlled by Republican commisars like Hugh Hewitt along the lines of President Bush’s notorious Social Security townhalls in which only certified flunkies who swore to a Bush loyalty oath were let into the room.

As I said here on the night of the debate, the CNN/Youtube debate wasn’t perfect. And there were for my tastes a bit too many questions based on a rather cliched sort of viral video silliness. All told though I found it surprisingly successful in getting fresh questions into the mix and edging at least somewhat more candor out of the candidates than the usual fare.

I’m not sure whether the resistance is rooted is the profound feebleness of the current GOP field or the fact that the current Bush Republican party is so beholden to a worldview based on denial and suppression of evidence that exposure to unpredictable questions presents too great a danger. But if they can’t face Youtube how can they defeat the terrorists?

The Democratic Daily:

What a bunch of wusses!

Bark Bark Woof Woof:

This reluctance to face questions from the people via the tubes tells you something about the Republicans. Whereas the Democrats not only took on the challenge, they seemed to enjoy themselves, even if the audience found that the questions were more pointed than the answers. But I imagine that the GOP candidates are afraid of having to field questions such as the ones the Democrats got about Iraq and gay marriage, and I’m sure there will be at least one questioner who will want to know why anyone should trust the Republicans after eight years of the Bush administration and twelve years of them in charge of Congress. And since the Republicans have a hard time working in an environment that isn’t hermetically sealed with only their worshippers inside the biosphere, they can’t allow themselves to be exposed to the real views of the American electorate.

Um, um … so what does that say about the Democratic party, whose main candidates have pulled out of BOTH debates that Fox News was supposed to cohost, debates in which SCRIPTED questions, which are much easier to prep for, would have been asked? I guess this means that Democrats would rather not have to deal with serious questions and instead take questions from snowmen.

Update: And the beat goes on, via Melissa McEwan, formerly known as one of John Edwards bloggers – you know, John Edwards, the first ‘big’ Democrat to weasel out of the Fox News debates:

I guess we did. I particularly like Romney’s haughty sniff that “the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman,” referring to a questioner during the Dem debate having used a silly animated snowman to ask a serious question about global warming. Quite a spectacular obfuscation when what he’s actually saying is that he simply doesn’t think Important Men like him should have to subject themselves to a rumble with the hoi polloi. And after his last fumbled excursion among the great unwashed, I can understand his hesitation. Answering questions asked by reg’ler folks about what an asshole you are can be uncomfortable, I suppose.

Uh – pot, meet kettle.

BTW, one of her co-bloggers wrote back in March 2007 that it was ‘good news’ that the CBC had decided to back off from wanting Fox to co-host a debate with them, because, “It’s time to stop allowing FOX and their unctuous personalities to frame national debate and news.”

Channeling the Nutroots: WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE!?!?!?!?!!?!??

PM Update: Interested in saving this debate? Here’s how you can help. (h/t: Lorie Byrd)

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