Earlier this year, Fox News and the Nevada Democratic party wanted to host a debate among the Democratic candidates for president. The left was aghast. Fox News? Faux News? How dare any Democrat even deign to think about appearing on a Fox News debate?!? The netroots were on fire.
The collective pressure of lefty bloggers convinced candidate after candidate to pull out… eventually the debate was scrapped.
The netroots celebrated. Self-congraulations. Pats on the back all around.
Looking back, it is possible to say this was a big mistake.
Consider this: a large portion – maybe even a majority – of the people who watch Fox news are Republicans. Yes, part of the reason is because Fox panders to them. Part of the reason is because Republicans feel more comfortable watching Fox than other “liberal media” outlets.
By now you’re asking yourself, “So what? Why should Democrats debate in front of a lot of Republicans?”
Well, any time you have a captive audience, you can educate them. The netroots failed to understand that this was a great opportunity to convince Republican viewers why they should care about progressive positions on the issues. Sure, the most hard core Republicans won’t be convinced… but we don’t all march in lock step. Some Republicans CAN be swung over.
So why not take the opportunity to lay the ground work for 2008?
If the best defense is a good offense, then going onto the home turf of Republicans to have a debate about progressive issues seems to be one step in that direction.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so… Liberal Progressive Watch said:
… MSNBC held a Republican debate that was run more like a sideshow than a debate. The candidates knew that by going on MSNBC they were going on an network that would not be favorable to them, but none of them ran and hide, they faced Chris Matthews and survived his smarmy questioning.
Then not too long ago the Democrats announced their upcoming “debate” schedule. Again the democrats have decided to play it safe and go on party friendly networks, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, and ABC.