Monday, October 15, 2007

# Posted 12:34 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

BEHIND THE FIREWALL: Living without the NY Times op-ed wasn't exactly a burden, but now that it's back in the public domain, good columns there deserve to be recognized. First of all, hats off to Clark Hoyt, the newest public editor. His column this week exposes the entrenched unprofessional behavior of NYT Magazine writer Deborah Solomon. On a more substantive note, I refer you to Hoyt's excellent column from last week about casualty statistics from Iraq. Even though it's the facts that matter, Hoyt's swipe at Paul Krugman is particularly enjoyable.

Moving on, we come to Maureen Dowd, who did us all a favor by turning her column over to Stephen Colbert (the character, not the actor). But Colbert didn't just take over for Dowd:
Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay.

There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.
Heh. Colbert also did a rather clever job of capturing GOP ambivalence about Hillary:
A lot of Americans feel confused about the current crop of presidential candidates.

For instance, Hillary Clinton. I can’t remember if I’m supposed to be scared of her so Democrats will think they should nominate her when she’s actually easy to beat, or if I’m supposed to be scared of her because she’s legitimately scary.
Double heh.

Finally we come Michael Barone, best known for endorsing OxBlog. (Not.) He has a great idea that you will like unless you are running for president: primary debates with candidates from both parties. But it's not only a good idea -- it's worked well before:
What if there were a debate featuring all of the leading Democratic and Republican candidates? It’s happened before, once, on Dec. 1, 1987, when Tom Brokaw of NBC News moderated a debate among six Democratic and six Republican presidential candidates. It was held on bipartisan ground: the Eisenhower Theater at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Some 18 million Americans watched this debate — considerably more than the number who have been watching this year’s confrontations. (So far, this year’s debates, broadcast on cable news outlets that have far smaller audiences than NBC had 20 years ago, have attracted few viewers: 893,000 to 3.1 million for each debate.)

Mr. Brokaw put in a bravura performance. Rather than ask everyone the same question — which leaves each candidate answering like “a trained seal,” as Newt Gingrich aptly put it recently — Mr. Brokaw asked questions that were appropriate to the various candidates, so that the debate took on the aspect of an extended and well-informed conversation. He questioned Democrats and Republicans separately, during four 30-minute segments, but the format allowed candidates of one party to criticize those of the other party, which several did.
I'd be curious to see which candidates actually show an interest and which express an interest in principle but kill it with delays and scheduling conflicts.


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