I See Stupid People: The George Stephanopoulos Edition

Bob Somerby noticed something during the most recent Democratic presidential debate (and it’s so hard to keep track of them all):

But we were especially struck by a decision made during the Democratic debate. Omigod! A real discussion had broken out about the way to exit Iraq! It was by far the most intelligent discussion we’ve seen in any debate this year; the hopefuls were even beginning to question each other about their respective views. But our press corps flees intelligent discourse as bats avoid exposure to light. Abruptly, George Stephanopoulos brought the discussion to a halt so he could ask this question:

STEPHANOPOULOS (8/19/07): Let me move on now. We’ve got a question–we got an e-mail question from Seth Ford of South Jordan, Utah. And he said, “My question is to understand each candidate’s view of a personal God. Do they believe that through the power of prayer disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Minnesota bridge collapse could have been prevented or lessened? I’d like each of you to answer it.”
Let me start with you, Senator Clinton.

And so, instead of explaining how she’d act in Iraq, Clinton had to explain if we could have prayed and made that bridge hold up.

For all I know, Mr. Ford of Utah was trying to make sure that the Democrats weren’t theopolitical lunatics. But Stephanopoulus didn’t have to ask the question. If someone wants to believe that prayer stops people from getting killed (presumably getting killed by God?), that’s his or her right. Not only will I defend that right, but, believe it or not, I will even tolerate that person on a day to day basis. That doesn’t mean that his idiocy is an acceptable component of the national discourse, anymore than creationism is an acceptable part of science education.
What’s worse is that this childish foolishness drives out discussion of reality-based topics like war, deficits, taxation, corruption, and so on. Shame on Stephanopoulos.

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6 Responses to I See Stupid People: The George Stephanopoulos Edition

  1. Pelio says:

    Amazingly, John Edwards was the only one who actually came out with a definitive “NO”, saying that prayer won’t stop bad things from happening.
    It seems like an easy question to say NO too. Even a preacher could easily allude to “not knowing Gods plan” or something. I guess the fundies have them scared.

  2. Julian says:

    Sometimes, I get the feeling that the mantra of those Madison Avenue, pseudo-behaviorists types involved in marketing and the media is “Keep ’em from thinking!”
    Then again, maybe calling them Madison Avenue types these days is anachronistic.

  3. Julian says:

    Meh; I think its part of the rather flawed analysis the democratic party has made of republican victory in recent times. In part, they think that to win elections they have to pander to mysticalist nonsense.

  4. matthew says:

    I agree with everything you said MMB. Though I am glad that a funky question like that was asked so I could see how it would be treated. I think Gravel’s answer was perfect, he completely dismissed the question, thus dismissing the “power of prayer” and said “you know what? if we could all just love one and another, that would go a looong ways”. Dennis was my next favorite and the rest were as to be expected.

  5. mark says:

    It was an excellent opportunity for a candidate to respond “Could prayer have prevented the disasterous and needless invasion of Iraq? Perhaps, if American citizens prayed that their President would stop hearing voices which he attributes to the voice of God, and had prayed those prayers quietly in the voting booths, a lot of death and destruction could have been prevented.”

  6. llewelly says:

    In much the same vein, most of the Democratic leadership does not support gay marriage. On nearly every issue, they behave as if they are convinced that a sane position will drive away all voters. In this respect, they have been thoroughly conned by Republican propaganda.

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