Member Rara Avis
The question is, Ron, what is the definition of "picking on"? Would it constitute asking rational questions and requiring an answer?
I'm not too sure WHY that would be the question, Mike, since it's the first time in this thread the phrase has even surfaced, but okay, let's start with that for now.
There's a big difference between an answer and a soundbite, and an even bigger difference between asking for clarification and requiring an answer. I didn't watch the debate, so I honestly don't know what happened. I'm not going to blindly accept anyone's characterization of the event, however, especially when I've seen so much blatant mischaracterization.
Have you stopped beating your wife yet?
Some questions don't have easy answers that lend themselves to the limitations of a formal debate. "Please answer yes or no, and oh by the way, you have thirty seconds, so please explain your answer in depth." You can't both require an answer AND impose restrictions or conditions.
I'll even give you a for-instance.
If someone pressed ME to say whether I supported Spitzer's plan to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens, I would likely run into exactly the same problems, because any yes or no answer would necessarily be inaccurate. Such questions conflate the tactic and the strategy, attempting to tie a single answer to both. It would be like asking me if I support Bush's plan to save America. Hell, no! (Actually, I would probably ask what plan?) But the implication that I don't want to save America is, obviously, wrong. I can disagree with the tactics being proposed while still finding value in the strategic goals.
When you ask two different questions at the same time, with potentially different answers, I think you're pretty much setting someone up to look evasive. I don't know if that's what happened, and if it did happen, I don't know if it was intentional. I do recognize the possibility, though.
I'm not sure what the big deal is, though. The last time I remember any politician, Republican or Democrat, not being evasive during a campaign was the famous "Read my lips" incident. And, as we all know, that turned out to be a lie.