It's stuff like this that will set the GOP back an election cycle or more on the Internet. No matter the snazzy Web features and YouTube videos they may put up, if they're fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of interacting with real people online, what's the point?
Having spent the better part of a decade working at the intersection of politics and the Web, I can't help but feel of a deep, deep sense of dismay that we're missing something so basic. This is EXACTLY why I am afraid that we will be outraised by $100 million or more in 2008.
Yes, some of the questions on Monday were trivial. Yes, they were partisan. (I expect many of the 9/17 questioners to be partisan Republicans.) Yes, they were messy. But so is democracy. And the fact that some place so much faith in the broken mainstream media over a benign format like this one says a lot about the difficult straits the Republicans are in right now.
Hewitt's response? That the GOP candidates shouldn't participate because the left-wing MSM types picking the YouTube questions might throw one in that asks Rudy Giuliani about his connection to a priest accused of sexual abuse, an old friend of Hizzoner who has worked for Giuliani Partners since being barred from active ministry five years ago. Because I'm sure that if Rudy skips the YouTube debate, his connections to various shady characters will never, ever become something that he needs to address while running for President. Just like when John Kerry tried to ignore the Swift Boat Veterans, the issue completely went away ...