Brian Williams/Tim Russert/MSNBC puffball Democratic debate (1/15/08 edition)
Yet another Democratic debate was held yesterday on MSNBC, featuring Brian Williams and Tim Russert as moderators (transcript link). It was as ripped-from-the-Soviet-archives as we've come to expect from such debates, only this featured even more questions solely about process and horserace and even fewer about issues. It also featured three extremely lightweight questions about immigration, with the first not being necessary at all. Brian Williams asked:
Senator Edwards, in touching on immigration here, let's go to something that a lot of people have found to be a disconnect between the Democratic Party and majorities of voters in a lot of states. What would be the problem with English as an official language, as a bedrock requirement of citizenship?
There's a huge difference between "an official language" and "the official language", and I suspect that Williams and Edwards know that. And, knowing English is in most cases already a citizenship requirement. And, the major "disconnect" is because all the Democratic candidates support amnesty
Edwards simply responded with his stock speech about "immigration reform"; Williams briefly interrupted him before Edwards continued and made the extremely brave comment that "I think that [learning English] should be a requirement for becoming an American citizen." Such fortitude! Neither moderator pointed out that he'd come out for a policy that, except for certain minor exceptions, is already the law.
Then, Tim Russert tries baiting:
Senator Clinton, one of your pollsters was quoted in The New Yorker magazine as saying this: "The Hispanic voter has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates." Does that represent the view of your campaign?
Parsing her reply is left as an exercise, but it started with "No, he was making a historical statement" and ended with everyone working together towards a progressive future or something.
Then, Barack Obama lends some credibility to the John McCain campaign:
I think that John and myself and Hillary may agree on the broad outlines of where we need to go [i.e., amnesty], but two years ago I stood with Ted Kennedy and John McCain and took on this tough issue, and have consistently been involved in making sure that we've got the kind of comprehensive plan that makes us a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
That's the kind of leadership that I've shown. And when Latino voters read or hear about that leadership, then they know that they're going to have an advocate even if it's politically tough.
Except, he wasn't really advocating for those who were at the time Latino voters; he was advocating for foreign citizens who are here illegally. There are certainly large numbers of mixed-status families containing both voters and illegal aliens, but supporting illegal family reunification isn't good public policy. And, there are other Hispanics who support illegal activity due to racial solidarity, but granting their wishes is not good public policy either.
If Russert and Williams weren't corrupt hacks they would have made those or similar points, and they would have asked better questions to begin with.
Please go to public appearances by the candidates, ask them the questions that MSM hacks won't ask, and then upload the responses.
Links to previous coverage are in the post about the Charlie Gibson/ABC/ WMUR/Facebook/USSR Democratic/Republican debates.