This time, concerning Thursday’s debate: The new Salon seems to have an unending supply of delusional ranking professors.
Yesterday, Professor Richardson spoke up concerning this Thursday night’s debate. She’s a history professor at Boston College.
Below, you see the way she started and ended her piece:
PROFESSOR RICHARDSON (8/2/15): Fox News will air the first Republican presidential debates this week, choosing 10 out of 17 current candidates according to unspecified polls and permitting each candidate just one minute to answer questions. Donald Trump will hold center stage. This scenario, where a TV network calls the shots in a presidential debate and a consummate brand maker is the leading candidate, is the culmination of Movement Conservatism. Politics is no longer about policy or nuance, or even reality. It is simply a storyline designed to appeal to voters’ emotions.Damn that Fox News! Thanks to Fox and Movement Conservatism, “we have reached a point where the first Republican presidential debate will allow only a minute for responses to how a candidate would deal with the most pressing questions in the world.”
In their attempt to honor the American tradition of impartial and fair media, mainstream news channels have worked to give more and more airtime to the Movement Conservative worldview, until we have reached a point where the first Republican presidential debate will allow only a minute for responses to how a candidate would deal with the most pressing questions in the world, and where the leading candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for president—for the most powerful office in the world—is the ultimate salesman.
Cracker, please! We reached that point a long time ago. It wasn’t the doing of Fox.
Do our scholars ever actually watch our presidential debates? Increasingly, we find ourselves forced to wonder.
Let's start with a bit of background:
Within our varied American history, “minutemen” have been hailed on the battlefield. Then again, they’ve been deplored in the bedroom.
On Thursday night, at least ten candidates will be reduced to “minute men” for the course of two hours. But the practice hardly started with Fox or with Movement Conservatism.
Here’s Chris Matthews, stating the ground rules for an early Republican debate in the Campaign 2008 cycle. MSNBC was in charge:
MATTHEWS (5/3/07): We have a few ground rules to go through. Our debate will last ninety minutes with no commercial breaks.Ten candidates stood on the stage that night. Under MSNBC’s ground rules, they would only get thirty seconds for some of their deathless replies!
I’ll be the official moderator and decide the subjects and order of the questions. John Harris, the editor in chief of Politico.com, also will ask questions.
Also tonight, you the viewer can visit Politico.com and vote for questions to be asked of the candidates. Jim Vandehei, executive editor of Politico.com, will coordinate and ask your questions
On the questions John and I ask, the candidates will have sixty seconds to respond. A yellow light will warn them when they have fifteen seconds left.
When time is up, the light will flash red.
If I determine that a rebuttal is necessary, that candidate will have thirty seconds.
For the on-line questions that Jim asks, answers are thirty seconds, with 30-second rebuttals if necessary.
To watch that debate, click this. Without question, C-Span rules!
In fairness, Matthews and MSNBC didn’t invent this “minute person” approach. Here’s CNN’s Judy Woodruff, reading the rules before a Republican debate in December 1999, part of the Campaign 2000 cycle:
WOODRUFF (12/6/99): My CNN colleagues and I will focus our questions on three issues which are important to the public and the presidency: raising and educating children; taxes and government spending; and international affairs and national security.Candidate Bauer took less than a minute for that first response! To watch that debate, click here.
Now the candidates did not know until just now which issues would be addressed. They will be questioned individually on each of those topics and have one minute to respond.
Now, Candy Crowley has the first question for Gary Bauer on the subject of raising and educating children.
CROWLEY: Good evening, Mr. Bauer.
BAUER: Hi, Candy.
To the professor, it may seem silly to turn the candidates into modern-day minute men. That said, if she’d ever watched a primary presidential debate, she might know her history better.
At the new Salon, they seem to have these fiery professors up the proverbial yin-yang. This was once the way “movement conservatives” worked.
Now, we play this way too.
Recalling Doris Kearns Goodwin: Remember when Doris Kearns Goodwin spoke with Imus, the morning after, to analyze one of the Bush-Kerry debates in 2004?
She admitted that she hadn't exactly watched the debate. She said she had been having a party to watch the Red Sox in the World Series, so she hadn't exactly watched the event on which she commented anyhoo.
If memory serves, she rattled some rather Bush-friendly points that day. The game was still being played that way at the time.
The whole fine mess can be found within our incomparable archives. Does anyone in our finer classes actually watch these events?