Should Code Pink Be Given “Undecided” Voter Slot At Debate?

I am not a fan of the town hall format for debates. The people never seem real. The questions are either obvious, leading or stupid. I’ve seen worse than last night’s, though.

Still, there was that one question asked by one “Catherine Fenton”:

In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding…

  1. Crow

    I think the townhall format has its virtues, but they are mostly restricted to races for state and local offices–Congressmen and Senators should certainly hold them.

    But one of the virtues is the spontaneous interaction of the candidates with the voters. Yes, this style of interaction is messy, but it is direct. On the local level, people know who the ‘activists’ are, and shout them down if necessary. Manners and informal checks, rather than heavy-handed national media vetting, are the tools of choice to control the local townhall.

    In a Presidential race, limited to three debates, and given our media ecosystem today. I think the format has exhasuted its usefulness. If the questions are vetted in advance, something of the organic experience of hearing what’s on the voters minds is lost–as soon as the questions are vetted this happens regardless if it is done well or poorly. But especially if the questions are vetted badly, or in the farcical case where a Code Pink activist is given a speaking slot, the loser is the average voter.

  2. Nick Stuart

    Not true, but there’s been a poster from the State of Illinois proclaiming the “Women earn 72%…” canard in every workplace I’ve been in for the last 20 years.

  3. Mel Foil

    Right now, I expect there’s a big demand for petroleum engineers in places like North Dakota. So, what’s required to take advantage of that opportunity? You need the right engineering degree, some experience, and you need the freedom to drop everything else and move to North Dakota. Look at the people prepared to do that, and the vast majority of them will be men. It’s not their fault that very few women are prepared.

  4. Indaba
    Mel Foil: Right now, I expect there’s a big demand for petroleum engineers in places like North Dakota. So, what’s required to take advantage of that opportunity? You need the right engineering degree, some experience, and you need the freedom to drop everything else and move to North Dakota. Look at the people prepared to do that, and the vast majority of them will be men. It’s not their fault that very few women are prepared. · 6 minutes ago

    I hired for a construction firm and they wanted a senior female in management. We begged women and offered 25% more salary but none of them wanted the job. I actively work to get women up the ladder. There are impressive women but women do have a preference for a city job.

  5. liberal jim
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I am not a fan of the town hall format for debates. The people never seem real. The questions are either obvious, leading or stupid. 

    Seems to me the questioners might have a bright future in journalism!

    Eighty questioners, 11 questions asked, the journalist moderator  picks the questions;  obviously the problem must lie with the ordinary people asking the questions and not the elite professional journalists who routinely ask obvious, leading or stupid questions.  I think not!  Did it ever occur to you that having a debate without one of these parasitic  professionals involved might dramatically improve the process.  

  6. Evan Pokroy

    All y’all are missing the point. 

    When CodePink members are undecided then Obama has some serious problems. 

  7. theotherbriansmith

    Devils Advocate: With due respect to The Volokh Conspiracy, is reporting that Catherine Fenton may be with CodePink a bit like checking Tea Party membership rolls for names that match alleged mass murderers? I’m not comparing offenses, just the rush to point fingers.

  8. ultra vires

    Mollie, I just wanted to point out Volokh Conspiracy has updated their posts, and after further research they conclude the questioner is more likely than not the code pink member.

  9. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    liberal jim

    Eighty questioners, 11 questions asked, the journalist moderator  picks the questions;  obviously the problem must lie with the ordinary people asking the questions and not the elite professional journalists who routinely ask obvious, leading or stupid questions.  I think not!  Did it ever occur to you that having a debate without one of these parasitic  professionals involved might dramatically improve the process.   · 1 hour ago

    Well, it did occur to me. Of course, my own vote is for unmoderated debates, not town halls.

  10. Randy Weivoda

    If a journalist asks a question based on a phony premise the debater can take them to task for asking a bad question.  If it’s a member of the public and the debater sets them straight, that debater will be crucified for “attacking” a young voter.  It’s a bad position to be in.

  11. Eeyore

    “These questions were vetted”

    Dearest Mollie, the questions were vetted by…Candy Crowley.

    Can I get a “Q.E.D.”!?

  12. Flapjack

    The whole townhall format is preposterous, in my opinion.  I’m reminded of company meetings during which everyone has to listen to “here’s my special case” blatherings.  I made more sense out of Don Quixote, which I read while semi-listening to the debate.

  13. Paladin

    That question was pretty asinine, but I won’t complain too much about the vetting because Mitt Romney got a chance to explain how he is different from President Bush, got to address what he thought was the biggest misconception about him, and someone asked the president “Mr. President, I voted for you in 2008. What have you done or accomplished to earn my vote in 2012? I’m not that optimistic as I was in 2012. Most things I need for everyday living are very expensive.”

    If Romney was weak on a few questions and missed some opportunities that is on him, but the format and the questions certainly gave him multiple chances to deal serious blows to President Obama. Accepting the media is heavily biased against conservatives I think I can shrug off code-pink lady since we had someone ask basically how is he better off than four years ago.

  14. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Robert McKay: That question was pretty asinine, but I won’t complain too much about the vetting because Mitt Romney got a chance to explain how he is different from President Bush, got to address what he thought was the biggest misconception about him, and someone asked the president “Mr. President, I voted for you in 2008. What have you done or accomplished to earn my vote in 2012? I’m not that optimistic as I was in 2012. Most things I need for everyday living are very expensive.”

    But only one question was based on something that wasn’t true. The others are reasonable.

    What if one of the questions began, “As we all know, Barack Obama was born in Kenya.” I mean, false premises should be disallowed.

  15. KC Mulville

    I completely agree that undecideds are a myth. They’ve already made their decisions, but (for those who aren’t simply lying) they just aren’t ready to commit. They have no intention of changing their minds, but they won’t formally commit until the last minute. 

    I’d have challenged the premise of the question. I don’t think the Constitution gives government the right to “rectify” inequalities in the workplace, unless those inequalities are the result of misbehavior. On the other hand, I liked Mitt’s answer about work flexibility for women and families – but more as a matter of using the bully pulpit, not as a heavy-handed intrusion into the way private companies run their own business. 

  16. Karen

    I did like Romney’s answer. I think it’s true that business owners need to make the workplace more flexible for women, particularly working moms. I wish he made a point that the federal workforce has little workplace flexibility due to the public sector unions, but that might’ve been too far in the weeds.  I think the “binder full of women” line was a little ridiculous. 

  17. Paladin
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Robert McKay: That question was pretty asinine, but I won’t complain too much about the vetting because Mitt Romney got a chance to explain how he is different from President Bush, got to address what he thought was the biggest misconception about him, and someone asked the president “Mr. President, I voted for you in 2008. What have you done or accomplished to earn my vote in 2012? I’m not that optimistic as I was in 2012. Most things I need for everyday living are very expensive.”

    But only one question was based on something that wasn’t true. The others are reasonable.

    What if one of the questions began, “As we all know, Barack Obama was born in Kenya.” I mean, false premises should be disallowed. · 2 minutes ago

    You make a good point, but I have a follow-up question: if the question is based on a false premise, but that premise is widely believed to be true, shouldn’t we just let them ask it and hope our guy has access to the facts and can show the premise to be false?

  18. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Robert McKay

    You make a good point, but I have a follow-up question: if the question is based on a false premise, but that premise is widely believed to be true, shouldn’t we just let them ask it and hope our guy has access to the facts and can show the premise to be false? · 1 minute ago

    Good point. Yes.

    So interesting that in this debate we’re told that Candy Crowley was the world’s most amazing “fact-checker,” and yet she flubbed her fact-check of Obama’s Libya remarks, failed to fact-check Obama’s lie that Planned Parenthood does mammograms and failed to fact-check this question. (I’m sure there are many others)

  19. Trace

    My Facebook feed is exploding with the “binders full of women” meme that was part of Romney’s response to that question. No one I know seems to care about Libya but they are beside themselves over the notion that this (very slight) mis-speak is clear evidence that Romney is a sexist boob.

  20. Cutlass

    Maybe the first debate spoiled me, but I was excited to hear the question because for once I thought we had a conservative articulate enough to confront that premise. I understand that Romney was playing it safe – and I doubt he was prepped for it – but what would have happened had he explained the unequal pay fallacy? Explain that the statistics are meaningless because they’re skewed by women who often have family obligations? Explain that in some urban areas young working women actually make twice as much as men?

    I suppose if not phrased perfectly it could be twisted into a “barefoot and pregnant” soundbite by the left. So, maybe it was a smart move. 

    Still, to actually debunk this obnoxious leftist canard for a national audience would have been so satisfying. 

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