Posted at 11:40 AM on July 24, 2007
by Jeff Horwich
If I'd thought about it, I might have turned on the YouTube Democratic Candidates debate last night on TV. But I'm glad I didn't.
One of the best things about the format, I'm finding, is my ability to browse the debate at my own pace the day after (which I've been doing this morning, on the YouTube page devoted to it.) There are some glitches on YouTube's page (misnamed candidates, incomplete videos -- hello???? YouTube???? People are kind of paying attention) but all in all it's a nifty way to consume the debate -- and a little scary.
It's scary because the moderator is basically a pointless traffic cop; the question editors, not surprisingly, had a soft spot for showmanship (example: Minnesota native Billium the Snowman, pictured here); you can easily skip minor candidates or questions that are important but boring (health care, anyone?). Also, as I mentioned, the archivist of the debate is YouTube, which is demonstrating it is not completely up to the task.
I guess the big question is: Did this format get surprising questions into the debate? I think so. My favorites:
* If you had to choose a Republican running mate, who would it be?
* Should we give reparations for slavery?
* Would a woman president be taken seriously by the Arab world? (YouTube, GD-it, neglects to actually post Hillary's answer. Wake up over there!)
* Would you agree to be paid minimum wage during your term as president?
* What do you like and dislike about the candidate to your left? (But watch the candidates dodge it, one and all. Richardson gets in a good line, though.)
Anybody else watch it -- on TV or after the fact?