Anyone who saw Monday’s Values Voter Presidential Debate in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., witnessed a political exchange unlike any of those sponsored by the Big Media.
They heard questions formulated not in the minds of the out-of-touch media elite. They heard questions tugging at the very hearts and souls of the quiet Americans who go to work each day and attend religious services every week.
It wasn’t just what was asked, it was also remarkable who did the asking. Questioners included Monica Ramos, the wife of one of the jailed U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, who heard from seven Republican presidential candidates that they would not mishandle her husband’s case as the incumbent GOP president has. They also included a young woman who isn’t supposed to exist — a survivor of an abortion — who asked a pointed question of Rudy Giuliani’s empty podium. (The non-answer she received from the empty podium wasn’t any qualitatively better or worse than what she would have received had Giuliani’s empty suit been present.) They also included someone else we constantly are told doesn’t exist — an ex-homosexual — asking whether the candidates would stand up against the radical homosexual political agenda.
This, to me, the moderator, is what made this debate so special. And I think the provocative questions brought out the best in the seven candidates who did show up.
It’s no wonder the four pretenders to the throne didn’t show up. They would not have been comfortable in such a setting — a venue of prayer and praise to God and questions from people who are not supposed to exist. It’s also no wonder the Big Media, including C-SPAN, were no-shows. They want a monopoly on the way politics is debated in America. Politics to them is too important to be left to amateurs, nonprofessionals and superstitious people who actually believe in God. Had they dropped in and allowed more Americans to see what happened at the beautiful Broward Center for the Arts this week, Americans might have realized there is far more to presidential politics than the horse-race aspect upon which the media elite tend to focus.
The 2008 presidential election is more than a year away. Yet to the media elite, the election is a contest between the heiress to the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, and the three stooges vying for the Republican nomination: Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney. If they don’t show up to a debate, no one in the media elite asks: "What are they afraid of?" Instead, they decide not to cover the debate.
Anyone really familiar with my work, especially my book "Taking America Back," knows I believe we put way too much emphasis on presidential politics in this country.
Americans, I believe, tend to view voting every four years as their main opportunity to affect the direction of their nation. I don’t see it that way at all.
I do not get overly excited about presidential politics. For me, for the past 20 years, voting in presidential elections has been largely a defensive act — choosing the lesser of two evils. It’s not a very effective recipe for positive change.
But I think this debate and future debates like it — produced by ordinary Americans — are a real step in the right direction.
Do you resent the way the Big Media have set the agenda politically in this country? Do you resent the way the Big Media have attempted to define your political choices? Do you resent the way the Big Media have determined Election 2008 is pretty much all determined before a single vote is cast?
Then take heart in what happened Monday in Fort Lauderdale. It was historic. It was a beginning. It was a shot across the bow.