Political Hay

Small Talk

GOP presidential candidates are adult enough to tell YouTubist CNN to get lost.

By 8.1.07

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The big news this week is that leading GOP presidential candidates are prepared to just say no to CNN's September edition of its YouTube debate series. In the aftermath of last week's unutterably awful display of what passes for modern political debate in our country, this is a most welcome and commonsensical development. In addition to the most obviously embarrassing aspects of the Democrat debate -- animated snowmen, phony rednecks, and a host of other wannabes eager for their 15 minutes of fame -- was the inordinate amount of video-questions posed by young, MTV-types.

We unfortunately live in an age where youth trumps all. This phenomenon started in the 1960s and continues unabated today, to the extent that those who started the ball rolling have adopted a Peter Pan mentality: they won't grow up. And it was painfully apparent that the Democratic candidates, if not totally onboard with this concept, must at least pay it lip service if they want their party's nomination. So great is this feeling that the youth vote conquers, that even when choosing a commander-in-chief, immaturity rocks, dude.

This however, is nothing new. Recall the 2004 election season, when CNN televised the "Rock the Vote" Democratic debate which featured questions like, "I'd be curious to find out, if you could pick one of your fellow candidates to party with, which you would choose....If you get sick, who's going to hold your hair back? If you see a cutie across the room...who's going to be your wing man? Who's going to take one for the team?"

Things were not that different this time around, as an ad featuring Chris Dodd's hair color was aired as well as a question by a young black girl asking, "Who was your favorite teacher and why?" Cute stuff, but not exactly what Time magazine's Ana Marie Cox wrote would be "heralded as an almost life-changing event for American voters."

Of course there were some illuminating moments, one of which was this treasonous ditty from Mike Gravel: "Well, of course I want to take credit and admit that I'm the guy that filibustered for five months, all by myself, in the Senate to end the draft in the United States of America. And I'm very proud of that because George Bush does not have the boots on the ground to invade Iran."

Or this bit of vintage trial-lawyer John Edwards: "I think the people who are powerful in Washington -- big insurance companies, big drug companies, big oil companies -- they are not going to negotiate. They are not going to give away their power. The only way that they are going to give away their power is if we take it away from them."

But the highlights of the evening were provided by the youngsters Democrats feel will put them in the White House. Just how uninformed many of them are, was nicely illustrated by a Constitutionally-challenged little gal from St. Louis Obispo: "[I] if I can go to any state and get the same triple grande, non-fat, no foam vanilla latte from Starbucks, why I can't I go to any state and vote the same way?"

Another beaut was from Anne in Pennsylvania: "My question is, we here at Planned Parenthood support comprehensive sex education and I'd like to know if any of you as candidates have talked to your children about sex and used medically accurate and age-appropriate information?" If ever there was a "that's none of your damn business" moment, this was it. Predictably though, it was not forthcoming.

The truth, thankfully, is that the "youth" vote will not materialize in the way long envisioned by liberals. After all of their efforts the past few years, a greater number of the 18-29 year-olds voted in '04, but failed to deliver the election to John F. Kerry. It was hardly the landslide predicted by the "Vote or Die" crowd, as 44% of the coveted demographic did the unthinkable and voted Republican.

No, I don't think we'll see that huge tsunami of liberal twenty-somethings rushing to the polls in '08 either. They're too busing ordering their lattes on the way to their Planned Parenthood gigs after which they will seek out their wing men or women to aid them in their quest for medically accurate and age-appropriate sex.

Being a "grownup" is not simply about one's numerical age; were that so, we would not be defended so magnificently by our young people in uniform. Nor is the reverse true. Witness the petulance of the Democrat candidates toward debating on Fox News; a juvenile display of taking their bats and balls and going home if there ever was one.

Out of the 13 Republican debates, only two have or will be carried by Fox, while the rest will be hosted by, shall we say, more liberal networks, including two by the YouTube-less CNN. As for the 14 proposed Democrat confabs, all will be played on home turf.

If Democrat candidates really want to reach all young voters, maybe they should appear on Fox. After all, Barack Obama has no problem sitting down with vicious, murderous dictators; could Brit Hume be all that bad?

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About the Author

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut (mailbox@lisafab.com).