I just watched the tape of Gov. Dean on MTP. I thought Russert was just fine, and did a good job. He was doing his job, getting answers for his viewers, asking tough questions, and nothing is wrong with that. I only wish that at least ONE reporter would have asked – or will EVER ask – Bush similarly tough questions! I think there is a scandal that they do not and the public is right to be demanding a press that does its job!
To me, Russert wasn’t hostile, he was tough. I think if you are going to be on Meet the Press for an hour you ought to be prepared for the questions that opponents are throwing at you in the press. As they say, this is the big leagues. I don’t think you should have stock-prepared answers that you repeat over and over, but I don’t think you should be trying to find words to answer questions that obviously are going to come up. It is not unfair for Russert to ask about things people are writing, and because these things are appearing in the press – fairly or unfairly – Dean should be able to respond. This is nothing compared to what’s coming from the Right and I have supported Dean because he said he is going to fight back.
In the military questions I think Russert asked appropriate questions and was fair. He said he was asking the questions to which people are going to want to know the answers, and he was right. I’m surprised if Dean does not have someone around him who anticipates questions like these and prepares him to answer. I think he has a great point that it is 6 months from the first Democratic primary – but on the other hand he has himself an hour on MTP to respond to the things that have been thrown at him lately, so he might have been better prepared. Bush was an ignorant guy who was finally convinced to do his homework on the campaign trail. I don’t want Dean to get a rep as a smart guy who doesn’t do his homework. (Also Dean missed a big opportunity to point out that Bush was aWol.)
His answer to the gay marriage question was the correct legal answer, which is good. But for a minute it looked like he was trying to avoid saying something that would alienate middle America rather than leading people toward the humane position. But he recovered and recovered well.
All that said, I think Dean did a good job, could have been better, and that he will learn from this. I understand the situation with his son had just occurred and that certainly cut into preparation time and threw him off balance a bit. There’s 6 months before the first primary. I trust this guy, I agree with most of his positions. I feel that he is a natural leader. He even got me thinking about the death penalty with his answer on that question, so I respect his position. (I support the death penalty in only one circumstance – a person who has killed, is repeatedly violent in prison, and is obviously and seriously dangerous to the life of prison guards. I think the only ethical position there is to support the death penalty or guard that prisoner yourself. I could be convinced that I’m wrong.)