As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Aren't We Trying To End Potemkin Democracy?

I'm extremely disturbed by this:

One day after Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign confirmed that a staffer planted a question for the presidential candidate at a recent campaign stop, another person has come forward with a similar story.

Geoff Mitchell, a minister who recently moved to Hamilton, Ill., from Iowa, told ABC News that he was approached this spring by Clinton's Iowa political director Chris Haylor to ask Clinton a question about war funding.

Mitchell, 32, said that the request "did not sit well with me in the tradition of the Iowa caucus."

"I grew up in Iowa and I value the tradition of the caucuses of answering the questions of the people," Mitchell said.

I keep hearing about how the Clinton campaign is "air-tight" and a "well-oiled machine." Maybe planting questions in the audience is part of that, but it's antithetical to democracy. These are the Bush-Cheney tactics of never appearing at an event you can't control, never encountering the actual public. I don't want a President so weak that he or she has to resort to that tactic.

John Edwards pounced on this.

"People expect you to stand in front of them and answer their hard questions - and they expect it to be an honest process," he told reporters in Des Moines. "What George Bush does is plant questions and exclude people from events, and I don't think that's what Democrats want to see in Iowa."

That sparked this response from the Clinton campaign:

"What George Bush does is attack Democrats and divide the country," spokesman Mark Daley said, according to the Register. "John Edwards' campaign resembles that more and more every day."

Clinton says it won't happen again. "It was news to me," she said Sunday, according to the Times, "and neither I nor my campaign approve of that, and it will certainly not be tolerated."

This could be a case of overzealous staffers (although how would you explain the snide remark at Edwards for the "sin" of calling attention to it?) trying to put their candidate in the best light. That, of course, doesn't matter. Clinton should fire anyone associated with planting questions.

Labels: , , ,