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Questions at VP Debate Reveal Bankrupt Beltway Thinking

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Thursday's vice presidential debate (transcript) revealed nothing about the candidates' positions on energy or climate change, but it revealed a great deal about the twisted priorities and collective delusions of center-right Beltway conventional wisdom.

I saw a lot of chatter on Twitter praising moderator Martha Raddatz. And perhaps purely qua moderator, she was better than Jim Lehrer at last week's presidential debate. She didn't let the candidates walk all over her. She actually asked a few direct, pointed questions and follow-ups.

But I agree with Josh Barro: Overall, she was not good. A moderator's role as referee is only half the job. The other half is selecting topics and questions, which frame the debate far more than the refereeing. And Raddatz's choice of topics and questions was awful.

Put aside, for a moment, the foreign policy stuff. It was a little ridiculous that Raddatz basically asked the candidates about her interests - Libya, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan - and said nothing about the Asia Pacific, Latin America, Russia, or any of the rest of the big wide world that's not in the Middle East.


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