10.13.2004

Bob Schieffer: Worst Moderator Ever

I watched the debate on CNN and in the analysis afterwards the leitmotif was that this was the least satisfying debate of the three. Naturally they blamed the candidates, but I blame Bob Schieffer. While his questions, overall were particularly unchallenging to both candidates, they were particularly so to Sen. Kerry. Over and over they seemed to be invitations to tee up on Bush penned by Mary Beth Cahill. My favorites: “Is there a ‘backdoor draft’ on National Guard and Reservists?” or “Pres. Bush, repeating a statement Sen. Kerry said, would you overturn Roe Vs. Wade?”. (I would love to hear if any of you could identify a question asked of Kerry that gave Bush equal opportunity) Personally I think after the 15min mark Bush took Kerry to town, but if the CW is that Kerry won this debate I think he’ll have Bob to thank for it.

UPDATE: Heres a better critique.

2 comments:

Joe said...

In an election where there's an incumbant (however you spell that), the public debate should be about that candidate's record more than it should be about the challenger. Basically, the public wants to know, "Does this guy deserve another chance?" That question is first and foremost; the question "Will the other guy be any better?" is important but secondary. The point is that it's ridiculous to criticize Schiefer for emphasizing Bush's record. That's his job.

Andrew said...

Wow, we’re turning into a regular Paul Begala/Tucker Carlson. Everyone I know is significantly left of me, but refuses to debate with me. I can’t tell you how much I (and the people that have to live with me) appreciate this.

Before I decided to add Bob to my “closet liberals I dislike list” I considered the points you made in your previous post about how incumbents should be held accountable their records and I mostly agree. I think it’s only fair that Bush should answer the toughest questions possible about his decisions over the last 4 years. That being said, I don’t think that it’s at all rational to afford the challenger the advantage of not being sufficiently challenged much less given opportunities to segue directly into attacks right out of their stump speech. If Kerry can’t debate successfully without a loaded deck, how on earth can we expect him to be president? Bush, for better or worse, has proven that he can fulfill the minimum requirements of being president – we’re still here and we still have 50 states. Most rational people believe that if we had to have him as president for 4 more years we’d probably be at least okay. As optimistic as people are who disagree with Bush (as you seem to be), there’s absolutely no equivalent proof that Kerry is equivalently capable. Therefore I think the burden of the debates must fall upon Kerry, the challenger who has no record in an executive position. Again, I have no problem with Bush being asked tough questions so long as his potential replacement is equally vetted. This is the responsibility of the moderator and to spare one side, whatever the rationale, is bias and a disservice to what the debates should be: no money, no campaign BS just to individuals facing off ON EQUAL FOOTING. That absolutely did not happen in this last debate.