Norman Ornstein’s questions to the GOP phalanx of candidates carried in The New Republic may have actually led somewhere. Sample:
TO NEWT GINGRICH: In a recent debate you called for the imprisonment of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd for their longtime support for and involvement with Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae. Since you got paid at least $1.6 million by Freddie Mac from 1999 to 2006, what prison sentence should you receive?
TO HERMAN CAIN: In 2008, Hillary Clinton ran a campaign commercial about the 3 am phone call to the president informing him or her of a major crisis, and asking which candidate Americans want answering that phone call. Your campaign excused your fumbling answer about Libya at an editorial board meeting by saying you were operating on four hours of sleep. If President Cain were woken up in the White House by his National Security Adviser after less than four hours of sleep, would you take the phone call, or tell him to call you back at 10 am when you were rested?
But instead of Mr. Ornstein, a founder of and Congressional expert at the American Enterprise Institute, the AEI chose others, including Iraq war initiator Paul Wolfowitz, former US Attorney Ed Meese (yes, he’s still with us), Fred Kagan and an assortment of less recognizable names, to ask ‘very serious’ questions. Of course, non of the candidates answered them, but a minor detail….
The whole idea of CNN partnering with the AEI to sponsor the debate and then filling the audience with Washington, D.C. policy hacks asking questions to make themselves look good should have been a non-starter. Although I did enjoy seeing Paul and Ed et al standing dutifully in line while the guy-with-the-mike made his way to them. How far they fall!