To be fair, it’s always easy to come up with the perfect response to a question after the fact. But even with that conceded, I think the other Democratic candidates (as opposed to Dennis Kucinich himself), missed a bet in responding to Tim Russert’s inane UFO question to Kucinich. They should have given an answer something like this:
“I’ll tell you what I think, Tim. Anyone who snickers at another person who’s had an experience in life that person can’t explain is far too sure of him or herself, and takes a far too narrow view of the wonder of this life. There’s still a lot of mystery left in this world.
“But to be honest, what really strikes me here, Tim, is this question: why in the name of God did you decide to ask that question? In fact, why do you keep asking all of those gotcha questions, which are more about you than about the candidates, you’re so fond of? I’m sorry, but this isn’t supposed to be about you, or about how clever you can be. This is supposed to be about helping the people of the United States decide who will lead this country in an incredibly important time.
“People are hurting in this country. We have a disastrous war going on that was started on the basis of a lie . . . a lie that people like you, Tim, had a lot to do with spreading. We’re hemorrhaging both blood and money in Iraq . . . lives and money we can’t afford to lose. Ordinary Americans are hurting. They can’t pay their bills let alone put their kids through college. This nation is now more unequal in the distribution of wealth and income than it has been at any time since the Great Depression. We just went through a long period of strong economic growth and yet average Americans didn’t benefit from it one iota. All the money went to the richest of the rich.
“There are things fundamentally wrong in this country, Tim. Things that need to be debated and changed. And what do you do? You ask Dennis about UFO’s.
“Shame on you, Tim. Shame on you”
Any candidate who gave that answer would have seen his or her numbers bounce at least 10 points in the next poll. But, of course, they would never dare do something like that — offend the major media in that way. Yet, the reality — and it’s a reality that should be clear to anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention over the past 10 years — is that the Democratic nominee isn’t going to get a fair shake from the media anyway.
Did Clinton get a fair shake in office, as the Russert’s of the world trumpeted one made up “scandal” after another? Did “he claimed he invented the Internet” Al Gore get a fair shake? How about swift boated John Kerry? Ah, but the media just didn’t like Gore and Kerry, right? That’s their story, you know: they weren’t prejudiced against the Democrats just because they were Democrats; they just disliked these particular Democratic nominees on a personal basis, as though their personal likes and dislikes should make a drop of spit in the ocean’s difference as to who’s elected president.
Well, guess what, Hillary, Barack and John (or other), when it comes time for the general election this time they magically just won’t like you as a person either.
So if you’re going to get screwed by the media anyway, why not throw a few punches back in the process — and maybe even win a few votes while you’re at it?