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Slashdot Asks: Whom Do You Want To Ask About 2012's U.S. Elections? 343

Posted by timothy
from the only-365-more-shopping-days dept.
For the next year, it will be hard to escape the political season already in full swing in the U.S., as candidates aim for the American presidency (and many other elected positions). There will be plenty of soundbites and choreographed photo-ops to go around. Candidates will read speeches from TelePrompters, and staffers will mail out policy statements calculated to inspire political fealty to one candidate or another — finding unscripted answers from most of the candidates is going to be tough. Slashdot interviews, by contrast, give you the chance to do something that interviews in more conventional media usually don't: the chance to ask the questions you'd actually like to have answered, and to see the whole answer as provided. But there's a hitch: we need to know which candidates or other figures we should attempt to track down for a Slashdot interview. So please help narrow the field, by suggesting (with as much contact information as possible, as well as your reasoning) the people you'd like to hear from. It doesn't need to be one of the candidates, either: if you know of a pollster, a campaign technical advisor, an economist (or even a politicians's webmaster, say) who should be on our list, make the case in the comments below. And if you represent or are affiliated with a particular campaign, that's fine — but please say so. We'll do our best to find a number of your favorites in the year to come.
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Slashdot Asks: Whom Do You Want To Ask About 2012's U.S. Elections?

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:41PM (#37977444) Journal

    There will be plenty of soundbites and choreographed photo-ops to go around. Candidates will read speeches from TelePrompters, and staffers will mail out policy statements calculated to inspire political fealty to one candidate or another — finding unscripted answers from most of the candidates is going to be tough. Slashdot interviews, by contrast, give you the chance to do something that interviews in more conventional media usually don't: the chance to ask the questions you'd actually like to have answered, and to see the whole answer as provided.

    Oh they won't have teleprompters for a Slashdot interview? So what? Every single candidate or person working for a candidate are going to do the following:

    1. Assess Slashdot's core demographic (young white males with liberal leanings).
    2. Go to their "cheat sheets" and select the well tailored response to each topic at the appropriate slot of the political scale to garner the maximum number of votes from said demographic.
    3. Read questions, refuse those that cannot be filled with square peg or easily deflected.
    4. Spend a tiny amount of time reframing each question as the first part of the response until it is a seamless transition to the copy/paste of their advisers' maximized stock spiel or merely deflect it (hey, this isn't a debate you just have to bob and weave out of one round).

    This isn't my first rodeo. Seriously, watch a candidate's speech in BFE one-horse-town North Texas one day and then their speech in yuppie concrete jungle Manhattan the next day. They will skirt issues and spew half truths that are almost (but not quite, it's an art) in direct conflict with their message at another locality. How do you maximize votes? Why settle for those localized maxima with the same speech in two different demographics when a massive overhaul will win you the campaign? Why do you think they have teams of speech writers? If you campaigned on one consistent platform through the country, you're dead in the water. The only way to win is to lie by omission or worse.

    Oh and if you think that a webmaster of a politician is going to be allowed to answer questions in regard to that politician's campaign, you can forget it. A person with a STEM background interfacing in a Q&A for someone's campaign?! Are you daft? No no no no, nobody is going to allow that. The phrase "talking points" was made for a reason. Can you imagine that conversation? "Hey, I know I designed your website for your campaign, now I'm going on a news site to represent your campaign to potentially anybody -- I mean if I really fuck up this could be on Colbert or something. Wish me luck!"

  • Re:Al Franken (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:51PM (#37977588)

    Ron Paul tells it like it is period, no lies, no bullshit. Heed his warning now while we still have a chance at the thing not becoming much worse than it already may be... into a bigger disaster.

  • by identity0 (77976) on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:52PM (#37977596) Journal

    Given Slashdot's predilections, it is certain that the ones Slashdot likes the most will be the least likely to get elected.

    So, come join us on Slashdot to see who WON'T be the next president!

    Let us whine together about how awful and broken the system is!
    Let us propose reforms to the election system that will never be implemented!
    Let us ask obscure technical questions of candidates to the highest office in the land!

    Yes, I have been here during elections before.

    In b4 Ron Paul

  • Ron Paul? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:55PM (#37977630)
    Ron Paul... duh... and I'm pretty sure he'll do it to. I think his answers to slashdot questions would be very interesting indeed. I doubt any other candidate would come near this site with a 1000ft pole.
  • Ask the askers.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jasno (124830) on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:56PM (#37977638) Journal

    Get a journalist from a major network and ask them why the fuck they let politicians off the hook when they give non-answers to direct questions in interviews and debates.

  • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:59PM (#37977682) Homepage Journal

    I think Ron Paul's answer would be a little dull. ;-)

    The thing is you can ask this but I can predict what the answer will entail.

    Basically, it will all boil down to the fact that we "need" government to do these things because otherwise terrible (but generally vague) things will happen. The government is responsible for providing for the general welfare and all these things it does directly benefit the general welfare, QED.

    Do you want your schools to fall behind in the technology arms race, or to turn out graduates who lack sufficient self-esteem? Do you want people living out in the street and starving while Senators feast on suckling pigs and roast immigrants? Do you want evil corporations using their mind-control rays or poisoning your pets with nuclear waste and crooked accounting? Do you want terrorists sneaking in your house and stealing your healthcare? Do you want Iran nuking your right to bear arms and freedom of speech? Or evil Wall Streeters selling your children to drug lords to pay for their SUVs that run on stem-cells?

    Of course, it doesn't matter that in each case the government is either addressing the wrong problem, or addressing the right problem but completely failing to do anything to make it better. The important thing is that We Do Something (TM)! If the problem isn't getting better than we need to do something faster, harder and with more money.

  • by Gerald (9696) on Monday November 07, 2011 @04:06PM (#37977784) Homepage

    Seconded. His analysis running up to 2008 was spot-on.

  • Re:Al Franken (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2011 @04:07PM (#37977820)

    Ah yes, Ron Paul; the fellow who wants to shut down any federal agency not involved in killing foreigners. Education, science funding, medical care, environmental protection? Screw 'em, all we need is to be able to kill people. THAT makes for a great country: one built on the corpses of its enemies, real or imagined.

  • by ZamesC (611197) on Monday November 07, 2011 @04:08PM (#37977824)

    1) Because the Constitution is not nearly as restrictive as Ron Paul would have us believe. It does enumerate a number of specific powers, but adds "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers" which allows for much latitude to what is allowed to do.

    2a) because there is no violation.
    2b) because requiring an amendment (which requires several years at a minimum to pass) for the normal day-to-day actions of the Congress, which so gridlock the national government, as to force to destruction. (IOW, Why do you hate America?)
     

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday November 07, 2011 @04:34PM (#37978202) Homepage Journal

    Basically, it will all boil down to the fact that we "need" government to do these things because otherwise terrible (but generally vague) things will happen.

    Sometimes, but many times government does these things because terrible things HAVE happened and are likely to happen again.

    The 1929 stock market crash, bank failures, and depression resulted in legislation that reformed banking. Unfortunately, the politicians don't study history and undid those regs, resulting in the 2008 crash and the Great Recession.

    Social Security was started as a result of dire poverty among the elderly. It was the reaction to something bad that had already happened.

    The 2006 welfare reform package was to counter generational welfare Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society and War On Poverty wrought. Again, something bad had happened and they fixed it.

    Deregulation? Yeah, tell that to the dead miners in West Virginia. Tell that to any of us who were alive before the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.

    You only get stupid laws and regulations when you elect stupid or corrupt politicians; the overreaction to 9-11 and the loss of civil liberties afterwards is a good example.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2011 @04:38PM (#37978238)

    Honest answer if I were one of the respondees: "Because I don't, you moron. Ron Paul's interpretation of the Constitution is not canonical. Perhaps it would be helpful if you REALLY studied some political and legal history before you became a mouthpiece for a guy who is really just a puppet of the health care industry?

  • by ghjm (8918) on Monday November 07, 2011 @04:50PM (#37978376) Homepage

    Why not just ask if they've stopped beating their wife? The way you ask the question allows for no reasonable answer. The correct answer is that the Constitution rightly endows the Supreme Court with the power to interpret and explain its provisions, that this power has been used since the dawn of the Republic, and that Ron Paul's reading of settled law as "unconstitutional" is simply a method of pandering to his supporters. And furthermore, that the US Constitution is itself a flawed document, containing provisions which are no longer supportable or even ethical in the modern age (most notably, the three-fifths of a man compromise).

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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