Monday, July 23, 2007

YouTube is the One in the One-Two Punch

All things considered, I rate this debate as highly as any of the other Democratic debates, largely because the YouTube questions did not come from a member of the media. It may have been just The Wisdom of Crowds generating better questions, but the format conferred two advantages. First, candidates were under more pressure to address the specific question being asked to a greater extent than in prior debates. Being dismissive of Anderson Cooper doesn't cost a candidate anything, but being dismissive of "ordinary" Americans wouldn't score any points. So the video asks, and the moderator can follow up. Second, it is easier for Anderson Cooper to cut off debate on a stupid question from a YouTube video than (under the traditional format) if he had asked it himself.

From my own vantage point, I thought that, as in previous debates, Senator Clinton entered as the frontrunner and didn't lose any ground to her principal challengers (Obama and Edwards). It will be interesting to see when (or if) Senator Obama starts to draw sharper comparisons in order to close the gap. Of the remaining candidates, I thought Senator Biden made a good showing, particularly on questions related to foreign policy that played to his considerable experience.


Fritz said...

Great book. Another is Paul Seabright's The Company of Strangers, a natural history of economic life.

Passage: About two years after the break-up of the Soviet Union I was in discussion with a senior Russian official whose job it was to direct the production of bread in St. Petersburg. "Please understand that we are keen to move towards a market system, " he told me. "But we need to understand the fundamental details of how such a system works. Tell me, for example: who is in charge of the supply of bread to the population of London?" There was nothing naive about his question, because the answer ("nobody is in charge"), when one thinks carefully about it, is astonishingly hard to believe. Only in the industrial West have we forgotten just how strange it is.

Muthu said...

I've watched the show, it was good one. I've seen that candidates were felt the pressure than any other previous debates. Interesting to have questions from Gunman and global warming question from snow man.
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