Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 18, 2010

A TYPICAL POLITICAL ANSWER.... California's Carly Fiorina (R), still hoping to parlay her striking failures in the corporate world into a successful U.S. Senate campaign, took her message to Fox News yesterday. She was asked one question in particular she really didn't want to answer.

California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R) reiterated her call for an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts on Sunday but refused to name entitlement programs she'd cut to offset the resulting growth of the deficit.

Extending all the tax cuts is estimated to add $4 trillion to the deficit.

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Fiorina, who's challenging Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), which programs she'd cut.

But she didn't want to talk about it. Like far too many of her GOP brethren, Fiorina loves the idea of cutting taxes for millionaires, and is equally fond of touting the idea of deficit reduction, but seems to fall apart fairly quickly when pressed for any kind of substance that would make this agenda coherent.

Eventually, a frustrated Wallace asked, "Where are you going to cut entitlements? What benefits are you going to cut? What eligibilities are you going to change?" Fiorina refused to answer, calling the line of inquiry a "typical political question."

I haven't the foggiest idea what that means. Asking a Senate candidate who's talked about entitlements to answer a question about the details of her approach to entitlements is too "typically political" to warrant a response? By this reasoning, isn't literally every question directed to candidates about the major issues of the day a "typical political question"?

Watching the interview, it became clear Fiorina just isn't ready for prime time (or Sunday morning, as the case may be). She eventually suggested our problems could be solved by "engaging the American people in a conversation," which is a dull euphemism for "I'll lose if I talk about substance before Election Day."

Seven times Wallace asked for any kind of details about the kind of spending cuts Fiorina would support if elected. Seven times, the confused conservative candidate declined. It was embarrassing for the candidate, exasperating for the host, and painful for the viewers.

What's more, as Tanya Somanader noted, it fits in nicely to a larger pattern: "While frustrating, Fiorina's lack of solutions should not be surprising. As a member of the GOP, Fiorina joins a slew of Republicans in their refusal to offer any deficit solutions no matter how many times a reporter may beg."

Steve Benen 8:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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We can only hope that independent voters have noticed this disconnect. I think they have, and many will ultimately decide not to vote for these schnooks, despite how angry they themselves feel.

It might be enough to save Barbara Boxer, but it won't be enough to avert serious losses, that's for sure.

Posted by: slader on October 18, 2010 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

I think by "typical political question" she meant "the kind of question that a politician should typically be able to answer."

Posted by: TR on October 18, 2010 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Fiorina should have just had her security detail handcuff Wallce and detain him until police arrived. I think aggressive questioning of a candidate gets you 3 to 5 years in the slammer, right?

Posted by: Katerypage on October 18, 2010 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

"Let’s not get to the potential solutions."

- GOP House Minority Leader John Boehner on Fox News Sunday 9/26/10

.

Posted by: mr. irony on October 18, 2010 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

It's emblematic of our politics today when candidates refuse to answer substantive questions. Heck, in the House race in my district, Paulsen has refused to debate his Democratic opponent, Meffert.

And yet, as with all things Republican, these actions warrant a trip to Washington.

Posted by: terraformer on October 18, 2010 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

@slader - I agree they will not vote for these idiot rethugs. However, they most likely will not vote at all. I don't believe independents are turning to the GOP as some polls suggest. It makes no sense at all. I do believe the "conservative" voters will turn out more than we will.

The GOP knows they don't have to talk about substance because their base doesn't really want to hear it or even care.

Posted by: mmw on October 18, 2010 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

I live for the day when an American interviewer says to an evasive candidate live on air: "Well, if you're not going to answer questions, we'll move on to another guest."

Posted by: martin on October 18, 2010 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe if there was a Democratic party to provide some reason for us to go to the polls in a couple of weeks we could swamp the Tea Party. Too bad there isn't a functioning Democratic party with anything like real leadership.

The right despises Obama because they think he is an agenda driven lion who has come to change things. I have problems with the entire Democratic establishment, including Obama, because their isn't a lion among them, and they are dedicated to doing nothing.

You know how we got in this fix? Little Timmy Geithner and Larry Summers said please, please save our banker friends We did, and the bankers pissed all over us. The Democrats didn't realize that we knew we were getting wet while their buds the Wall Street pit bosses were pissing.

Maybe if Obama had shown us some loyalty we would be excited this election. As it is, who cares if some losers lose.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 18, 2010 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's important to note that Fiorina was on the air in an interview with noted partisan hack Chris Wallace on the FOX News network when she was this evasive and defensive. This is almost the definition of "softball interview" territory for GOP candidates and she managed to irritate noted partisan hack Chris Wallace with her evasiveness.

Could you imagine what she'd have been like on the other end of an interview with an unbiased interviewer instead of noted partisan hack Chris Wallace? What kind of senator is she going to be if she can't even keep her own partisan reporters happy with her answers?

Posted by: NonyNony on October 18, 2010 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

The new republican trend is "I'll interview for the job AFTER you hire me."

Posted by: Silver Owl on October 18, 2010 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

"Eventually, a frustrated Wallace asked, 'Where are you going to cut entitlements? What benefits are you going to cut? What eligibilities are you going to change?' Fiorina refused to answer, calling the line of inquiry a 'typical political question.'"

That question is anything but political. It's asking for specific policy measures, which addresses governance. Her avoiding the question is a political dodge.

Credit to Wallace for actually asking the question. He did that with someone else, too, and got the same dodge.

Posted by: bdop4 on October 18, 2010 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Partisan hack Chis Wallace? There are hacks and then there are hacks -- he's no Brit Hume, Neil Cavuto or Sean Hannity, that's for sure. I agree he sometimes pulls his punches with people who really need a Sunday morning walopping, but he's been pretty good over the past couple of weeks at least at holding GOP candidates feet to the fire on this question of what they would really do if elected to reduce the deficit.

Posted by: jonsa on October 18, 2010 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

I've been thinking for months that the media has not been nearly as aggressive on this topic as they should be. If Republicans are going to be deficit hawks, they should be asked four simple words: What would you cut? And they should be asked it again and again until they answer it. Then maybe more of the public would realize that they don't really favor "smaller government" when it comes down to it.

I've also thought that if the media falls down on the job, then Democrats should ask it over and over again. Where's the beef? What are your numbers?

But there's a problem in that the Democrats' numbers don't add up either. Extending all the Bush tax cuts would add $4 trillion to the debt over 10 years. But the Democratic plan would add a mere $3.3 trillion. So, hooray for our team?

Neither party really has a program for responsible governance. The reality is that taxes are going to have to go up and some entitlement and defense reforms are going to have to be made. Maybe both sides are looking for political cover from the deficit commission, but we haven't seen much in the way of political courage so far--not that the media have helped with the issue (to return to the topic of the original post) in letting candidates talk about cuts in the abstract.

Posted by: dsimon on October 18, 2010 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

THE TEA party people and the Repubs should answer the question, "when the gap between rich and poor is so large that it hurts sales of manufactured goods and various services how do they plan to put money in people's pockets so the business base of American is restored?"

Seriously, an economy where nobody can buy anything or can buy only junk is not an economy.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on October 18, 2010 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Fiorina should have just had her security detail handcuff Wallace and detain him until police arrived. I think aggressive questioning of a candidate gets you 3 to 5 years in the slammer, right?

Posted by: Katerypage at 8:36 AM

Don't forget the mandatory time, (amount TBD according to level of intransigence), in reeducation camp. The desire to ask such questions must be thoroughly cleansed.

Posted by: burro on October 18, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Don't forget, a record of abject failure in the business world isn't only a qualification for being a GOP candidate for high office, it's practically de rigeur.

Given that GWB's record as a failed oilman + baseball team owner (who else has been sickened by the the constant shots of him watching the 2nd Senators franchise during the playoffs?) qualified him to be first Texas' Governor and then US President, Fiorina's record of nearly destroying HP and outsourcing tens of thousands of US jobs clearly qualifies her for Queen of the World.

Run! It's the New World Order!
-Z

Posted by: Zorro on October 18, 2010 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

All part of the GOP's war on addition & subtraction.

Posted by: rramos on October 18, 2010 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Our program is simple: We want to rule Italy." --Benito Mussolini, 1922

Posted by: thalarctos on October 18, 2010 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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