Hillary Clinton got busted for planting a question with an audience member in Iowa. But there’s all kinds of hocus-pocus at “town hall” events.
First, let us sing praise to the mythical town hall meeting — that essential unit of American democracy, that gathering of citizen equals, that frank exchange of hopes and fears. Pharmacist Jill and farmhand Joe punch the clock and head on down to the high school gym, where they sit on folding chairs, shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the town. They meet their politicians as peers. They can ask anything, and every question is answered.
Now let us turn to what modern presidential politics has done to the “town hall meeting,” a practice to be placed inside quotation marks because so much of what really happens there is, well, not actually “real.”[…]
It’s what you’d expect from President Bush. He is, after all, the fellow whose spokesman once fielded questions from a GOP stooge pretending to be a reporter, whose deputy FEMA chief was caught conducting a fake press conference, whose functionaries routinely screen the crowds and preselect the questioners at public events lest, God forbid, some ordinary citizen ask the president of the United States a tough question.
So yeah, this was precisely what you’d expect W. to do. Thing is, he didn’t do it.
Rather, it was Hillary Clinton whose campaign admitted last week that it planted a question at a campaign stop in Iowa. It seems a college student was approached by a Clinton staffer and asked to ask the candidate about global warming. The young woman asked the requested question, but she also told people about it and the news, as news is wont to do, got out. […]
Nope, Democrats don’t get a pass either. This is stupid, and whomever is responsible should be hung out to dry. Clinton has enough credibility problems as it is. Stupid, stupid.
Allow me to quote Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does.”