bad questions

Bad questions

One of our goals at this site is to get people to ask politicians smart, tough questions designed to hold those politicians accountable; see the question authority page for the full discussion.

The posts on this page contain examples of dumb or weak questions that politicians were asked, in order to provide examples of what not to do.

Last modified Jan 6, 2010
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

John and Ken, Eric Garcetti harm Los Angeles at KFI mayoral debate - 03/02/17

Earlier today, John and Ken of KFI in Los Angeles held a debate featuring all the candidates for the upcoming mayoral election, except for Eric Garcetti. Garcetti and his handlers are afraid of him being asked tough questions or being made to look foolish.

Dan Merica of CNN is not a journalist - 06/06/16

Dan Merica is a producer for CNN who completely fails at journalism. Real journalists ask the powerful tough questions about their policies; Merica refuses to do that and instead is more a courtier. For instance, here's a question Merica asked Hillary Clinton earlier today:

Tamara Keith of NPR is no journalist - 06/06/16

Tamara Keith is a White House correspondent for NPR but she completely fails at journalism. Real journalists ask the powerful tough questions about their policies; Keith refuses to do that and instead is more a courtier. For instance, here's a question Keith asked Hillary Clinton earlier today:

Student rants at Jeb Bush over Iraq, solves little or nothing (Ivy Ziedrich) - 05/14/15

The video below shows University of Nevada at Reno student Ivy Ziedrich ranting at Jeb Bush over the Iraq war. The confrontation has received notice from the New York Times (nytimes . com/politics/first-draft/2015/05/13/college-student-to-jeb-bush-your-brother-created-isis/), CNN, and others despite (or perhaps because of) it solving little or nothing.

Yet another ranting idiot helps John McCain with a weak townhall question (Arizona, Syria) - 10/23/13

If you just got here from another planet, you might think John McCain is the smartest man in the world. To come to that conclusion, all you'd have to do is watch a handful of McCain's townhall appearances where he always manages to turn the tables on those who confront him with rants or weak questions.

Numbers USA highlights their members getting snowed by politicians, failing to stop amnesty - 09/02/13

Numbers USA and I both want to scuttle comprehensive immigration reform, aka amnesty. Where we disagree is on the best way to do that.

Reddit Ask Me Anything of Obama was OK, if you want to enable the corrupt establishment - 08/30/12

Remember the phrase "Question Authority"? What the site Reddit [1] did yesterday is the opposite of that.

Ted Cruz keeps saying the same things on immigration (attrition, amnesty) - 07/27/12

In Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, an ambassador visited an outpost for a few days, schmoozing with the locals. After he'd left, an official went to the leader of the outpost and said (paraphrasing), "we analyzed the ambassador's remarks, and he said absolutely nothing all the time he was here."

Republican debate January 19, 2012 (South Carolina, CNN, Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Ron Paul) - 01/19/12

Brace yourself for yet one more worthless GOP debate. It starts today, January 19 at 9pm Eastern. NETWORK: CNN MODERATOR: John King. WHERE: South Carolina

Juan Williams' dumb question for Mitt Romney (immigration, Mexico, booing) - 01/17/12

One of Fox News' favorite liberal lightweights, Juan Williams, asked the GOP presidential candidates a series of dumb questions at last night's Republican Party debate. Here's just one of them:

Kelly Evans' weak immigration question for Rick Perry backfires (WSJ) - 01/17/12

Kelly Evans of the Wall Street Journal asked Rick Perry a low-wattage immigration question at last night's GOP debate.

Dick Durbin refuses to answer bad Tea Party question; "reporters" run cover for Durbin - 08/12/11

The video below shows Sen. Dick Durbin refusing to answer a question at one of his press conferences, using the fact that the questioner is just a citizen journalist as the pretext. Meanwhile, the supposed real reporters run cover for Durbin, encouraging the citizen journalist to leave. Durbin asks the non-"real" journalist "would you please leave?", refuses to answer his question, and then is asked a setup question by a "real" reporter which he happily answers.

S.E. Cupp asks GOP candidates weak questions at Twitter "debate" (140Townhall, Rusty Humphries, Tea Party) - 07/20/11

Earlier today, SE Cupp moderated a Twitter-based tea parties "debate" with several GOP candidates for president [1]. She acted the role of the shill, asking them very weak questions and not doing a public service.

Glenn Reynolds, Ace support mindless, authoritarian heckling of Newt Gingrich - 05/17/11

The video below shows Newt Gingrich being confronted by an angry GOP voter in Iowa about Gingrich's recent comments about Paul Ryan. The voter presents no argument against anything Gingrich has ever said or done but instead just tells Gingrich: "You undercut [Ryan].... you're an embarrassment to our party...

Obama gets angry (in ineffective interview featuring weak questions) - 04/19/11

Barack Obama recently spoke with Brad Watson of WFAA in an interview (link, video below) that was sold by Matt Drudge and others as some sort of watershed moment ("FIRST TIME: REPORTER TURNS AGGRESSIVE WITH OBAMA" was his headline). Certainly, almost all reporters have treated Obama extremely reverentially and from that perspective the interview is markedly different. However, the interview was basically worthless: it didn't hold Obama accountable and it didn't force him to answer the tough questions he's needed to be asked for years. I'm not surprised he'd get angry, but a politician getting...

Cecilia Munoz misleads about DREAM Act (White House "Open for Questions") - 11/30/10

The half-hour video below features Cecilia Munoz of the Barack Obama administration promoting the anti-American DREAM Act in an online chat yesterday. Some of the ways she misled viewers are discussed below. Munoz was formerly with the National Council of La Raza and there's more about her at her name's link. Nowadays she's the "Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs" and in the chat she fielded a series of questions from her side and bad questions from those on the other side; all of the latter she was able to deflect with ease. Since the questions were...

Can Meg Whitman answer questions on her own? And, does Chris Christie support open debate? - 09/23/10

The video at (or ) shows New Jersey governor Chris Christie interrupting a heckler at a Meg Whitman event.

Melissa Bean's "thug" vs. teaparty libertarian idiot at public meeting - 08/16/10

Gateway Pundit offers "It Begins… Dem Congresswoman Brings In Street Thug at Town Hall Meeting to Threaten Constituents (Video)" (link).

Is Pete Stark concerned about eVerify keeping illegal aliens from being hired? (Steve Kemp, Golden Gate Minutemen) - 08/03/10

Steve Kemp of the "Golden Gate Minutemen" has been behind two smash Youtube hits featuring Rep. Pete Stark. The videos are at the tea parties level as far as stupidity (very high) and utility (very low) are concerned. They do, however, get Steve Kemp and his group a lot of attention, but then again that isn't going to reduce illegal immigration.

Pete Stark smears Minutemen; inept questioner just takes it, asks weak questions - 06/29/10

The video at shows Rep. Pete Stark (from the East Bay in California) making various outrageous statements when asked by constituents about immigration issues. The initial questioner is from a Minuteman group, and Stark leads off by asking him "Who you gonna kill today?" The questioner then repeats back his question, and stumbles into his prepared, weak questioning.

Joe Biden asked "lower our taxes" at custard shop: why that's ineffective - 06/27/10

Joe Biden recently visited Kopps Custard in Greenfield, Wisconsin and got custard on his face! He asked the manager how much he owed him, and the manager replied "lower our taxes"; see that on the attached video, and note that Biden later called him a "smartass" (link).

Rep. Bob Etheridge grabs arm of College Republican asking dumb question (Breitbart) - 06/14/10

The video at shows a college student - presumably a College Republican - trying to engage Rep. Bob Etheridge (Democrat of North Carolina) in conversation on a Washington DC sidewalk. Rather than pausing to speak to him, Etheridge grabs his arm and then puts him in a horse collar, repeatedly asking, "who are you?" The video is currently linked by Drudge, and Glenn Reynolds [1] and Andrew Breitbart [2] [3] [4] among others are currently promoting it. Whether Breitbart was involved in making the video isn't clear, but it's in the Youtube account belonging to his associate...

Glenn Reynolds promotes ineffective tirades against politicians (borderline harassment; alcohol) - 04/13/10

On Sunday, Barney Frank was flying from L.A. to Boston when two sisters on the flight - apparently ophthalmologists - tried to engage him in debate about Obama healthcare. When he declined, they began shouting at him, and apparently alcohol was involved (link). Per one of the passengers: "The women had been drinking, and they were crying and shouting... They were clearly the antagonizers, and Mr. Frank was kind of minding his own business." So, how does tea parties promoter Glenn Reynolds respond? Does he suggest that drunken, mid-air tirades against politicians aren't effective and just...

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz completely "p0wns" her Tea Party constituents (Obamacare) - 04/06/10

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz held a townhall about Obama healthcare yesterday and - as with all the other townhalls - the results weren't pretty. Instead of taking effective steps to discredit her, those present (at least on the videos below) asked weak questions that she handled with ease.

Jason Mattera smears Alan Grayson with stupid, misleading question (+Glenn Reynolds) - 03/26/10

Glenn Reynolds promotes ( a new video from Jason Mattera in which the latter asks Rep. Alan Grayson about a seemingly shocking provision in the recently passed Obama healthcare bill:

Steve Grove asks Obama weak questions live on Youtube ("Your" Interview with the President) - 02/01/10

Earlier today, Steve Grove - Youtube's director of news and politics programming - interviewed Barack Obama live on Youtube (and on the White House's live feed) and asked him a series of weak questions that he answered with ease. Some or all of the questions he was asked were submitted by Youtube's visitors, very few of whom are familiar with specialized topics and with asking tough questions.

Obama devastates GOP "arguments" live on TV (House Republican retreat) - 01/30/10

Barack Obama appeared at a nationally-televised House Republican retreat in Baltimore yesterday at which several leading Republicans asked him questions which he then handled with ease. He "p0wned" them so badly that Fox News cut away from the coverage twenty minutes before it ended. What the House members asked were weak, open-ended question or simply requests. They weren't adversarial questions designed to reveal flaws in his policies or statements. Because of that, they allowed him to say things like this: And the notion that I would somehow resist doing something that cost half as much...

Regular citizens asking elites tough questions usually fails (HuffPost example) - 01/13/10

Eliot Spitzer has posted some questions for bankers, see that link for the details and the link. And, probably in an attempt at just ginning up page views, the Huffington Post has invited their readers to submit questions.

Feingold constituents falsely think they're holding him accountable, when they're helping him - 01/12/10

The video at (note: loud profanity) is entitled "Feingold Called Out" and features a recent townhall appearance by Sen. Russ Feingold. In fact, it's yet another example of failure by those in the tea parties sphere:

Why didn't Randall Terry "cross-examine" Sen. Casey about abortion? (disrupts event, has little impact instead) - 01/12/10

The video at shows pro-life activists affiliated with Randall Terry disrupting a speech by senator Bob Casey at an event unrelated to abortion issues. They shouted that he's a hypocrite and that he can't be trusted due to him allegedly supporting funding of abortions in other countries. Needless to say, Casey disagrees, trying to interrupt them and say they aren't telling the truth.

Example: how to make a question for a politician better (Obama healthcare) - 12/10/09

The page mentioned in the previous post ( contains this question for Barack Obama: The Administration has repeatedly claimed that its health care reform plan will not cover illegal aliens. The Congressional Research Service recently issued a report contradicting the Administration's position, stating "H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on non-citizens whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently participating in the Exchange." Is the Congressional Research Service in error? If so, where is the error? The...

Tea party "patriots" to storm U.S. Senate, engage in sit-in just like far-left SDS used to do - 12/10/09

From "Tea Party Patriots to Storm Senate Offices" ( It is time, once again, to flex our muscle and exert that influence to hold the line in our fight against the government takeover of healthcare... On Tuesday, December 15 at 8:45 AM thousands of us will meet in Washington, DC at the fountain in Upper Senate Park. From there we will march to the Senate offices, go inside, and demonstrate our opposition to the government takeover of health care. We call this plan "Government Waiting Rooms". The intention is to go inside the...

PJTV clueless about asking tough questions (CEI, Climategate) - 11/30/09

Glenn Reynolds alerts us ( to the Pajamas Media video "Warmists Give Climategate The Cold Shoulder", subtitled "What do Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the

WeAreChange screams at Al Gore, helps him by portraying his opponents as insane - 11/30/09

A group from the Chicago branch of the We Are Change group - part of the "911 Truth movement" - showed up at a recent book signing by Al Gore, asked him weak questions, and then began screaming at him as they were hustled out of the store.

Canadian comedian tries to embarrass Sarah Palin; fails; shows abysmal level of debate in U.S. - 11/27/09

Mediaite offers "Canadian Comedian Fails Miserably In Trying To Embarrass Sarah Palin" (link): During a book signing event in Columbus, Ohio, Canadian Comedian Mary Walsh ambushed (Sarah Palin) with camera crew and microphone to seek her thoughts on the Canadian health care system (and ostensibly embarrass her as well.) While the event security detail prevented a meaningful interview, Palin did provide some basic comments consistent with her conservative position. While many websites are now presenting this video clip as evidence of her naivete, the video actually acquits Palin quite well,...

Lindsey Graham: GOP isn't going to be "party of angry white guys" (+more ineffective townhall ranting) - 10/13/09

From this: An often clamorous crowd blasted, grilled and occasionally cheered Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in a town hall meeting Monday that centered on health care reform but returned repeatedly to his positions on climate change, judicial appointees and immigration. Graham returned the fire with a grin, at times shouting over his most boisterous critics and telling some who questioned his Christianity and party loyalty that their minority conservative views wouldn't succeed without the political coalitions he said are necessary to serve the majority of Americans and attract...

Jim Geraghty, Glenn Reynolds promote anti-intellectualism (10/7/09 edition; Steve Israel townhall) - 10/07/09

Last night, Rep. Steve Israel of New York held a townhall meeting that per this consisted mainly of shouting and other anti-intellectual behavior. One question that was asked of him is provided at the link, and it isn't a good question.

Michael Chertoff grilled on CSPAN by sheer geniuses - 09/22/09

One of these days I'm going to get CSPAN and start calling in to their interview shows in an attempt to ask politicians questions that will make them look bad.

The tea parties aren't just for extremist libertarian Randroids. Oh, no. Of course not. - 09/06/09

The video at [SEE UPDATE] shows a tea party organizer from Seattle reading a Randroid rant she wrote complaining about redistribution in relation to Obama healthcare. She wants people to be left alone rather than some being "plundered" in order to fund UHC. At root, her argument isn't just with excessive redistribution, with pork, with connected contractors, with the social negatives of redistribution, with the Democrats using it to obtain and maintain power, or all the rest.