List of demands
by Tom Sullivan
How far down the rabbit hole have we gone that Republican candidates for president think they are entitled to a list of demands from networks hosting debates (and I use that term reservedly) that would make rock bands blush? (Remember, no brown M&Ms.) The Washington Post obtained the list. Here are just a few:
- Will there be questions from the audience or social media? How many? How will they be presented to the candidates? Will you acknowledge that you, as the sponsor, take responsibilities for all questions asked, even if not asked by your personnel?
- Will there be a gong/buzzer/bell when time is up? How will the moderator enforce the time limits?
- Will you commit that you will not:
- Ask the candidate to raise their hands to answer a question
- Ask yes/no questions without time to provide a substantive answer
- Allow candidate-to-candidate questioning
- Allow props or pledges by the candidates
- Have reaction shots of members of the audience or moderators during debates
- Show an empty podium after a break (describe how far away the bathrooms are)
- Use behind shots of the candidates showing their notes
- Leave microphones on during the breaks
- Allow members of the audience to wear political messages (shirts, buttons, signs, etc.). Who enforces?
- What is the size of the audience? Who is receiving tickets in addition to the candidates? Who's in charge of distributing those tickets and filling the seats?
- What instructions will you provide the audience about cheering during the debate?
- What are your plans for the lead-in to the debate (Pre-shot video? Announcer to moderator? Director to Moderator?) and how long is it?
- What type of microphones (lavs or podium)?
- Can you pledge that the temperature in the hall be kept below 67 degrees?
Dude, can I get on the "guest list" and a backstage pass to hang out with the band?
The sitting president has already commented on the ridiculousness of would-be leaders of the world's most-powerful military not being able to take the heat from CNBC debate moderators.
But the heart of the matter is that the Republican Party dug the rabbit hole down which it has disappeared. Marty Longerman at Ten Miles Square:
The basic problem is that everyone on the right wants to benefit from having an electorate that is convinced that al-Qaeda is planting terror-babies at the southern border or that the government has robbed them of their Social Security and Medicare or that someone is coming any day to confiscate their guns. No one wants to give this up. Not really.
And the few people who see that this has gone too far and poisoned the minds of their base?
They can’t kick the habit and they’re petrified that even sticking their neck out to suggest some restraint will get their head chopped off.
Looking at you, Speaker Paul Ryan. If the span of policy debate on the right is between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, Longman writes, then "then there’s no room for anyone who isn’t stupid, evil, or afraid."
In contrast to candidates whose concerns are for themselves, Matt Taibbi reflects on Bernie Sanders who, unlike so many before him, has not used his position to enrich himself:
Sanders is a clear outlier in a generation that has forgotten what it means to be a public servant. The Times remarks upon his "grumpy demeanor." But Bernie is grumpy because he's thinking about vets who need surgeries, guest workers who've had their wages ripped off, kids without access to dentists or some other godforsaken problem that most of us normal people can care about for maybe a few minutes on a good day, but Bernie worries about more or less all the time.
I first met Bernie Sanders ten years ago, and I don't believe there's anything else he really thinks about. There's no other endgame for him. He's not looking for a book deal or a membership in a Martha's Vineyard golf club or a cameo in a Guy Ritchie movie. This election isn't a game to him; it's not the awesomely repulsive dark joke it is to me and many others.
And the only reason this attention-averse, sometimes socially uncomfortable person is subjecting himself to this asinine process is because he genuinely believes the system is not beyond repair.
The death rate is growing among the very people the GOP used to count on as its base voters. It is driven by "an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse: alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids." Sanders told Chris Hayes, "What it tells you is that there are millions of people in this country, working-class people whose standard of living is going down, they are experiencing very high levels of unemployment. They are in despair." While the GOP's candidates are busy looking after their own comforts, their base has begun to figure out they've been had.
I gotcher list of demands right here:
I got a list of demands written on the palm of my hands
I ball my fist and you gon' know where I stand
We living hand to mouth, you wanna be somebody?
See somebody? Try and free somebody?
Got a list of demands written on the palm of my hands
I ball my fist and you gon' know where I stand
We living hand to mouth
Hand to mouth