Why are politicians afraid of women with questions?

I stumbled across this piece of history while channel surfing the other night, stopped and was entertained by what I thought was a Saturday Night Live skit. Only it turned out to be the actual 1992 presidential debate, the last time it was hosted by a woman, in this case: Carole Simpson, then of ABC News.

It was a better debate than I remember, although the town hall format isn’t that great when it’s filled with “average citizens” who are too respectful to demand actual answers from candidates.

That “respectful” nature of the audience is pretty much what’s behind today’s controversy with Candy Crowley, the first woman since Simpson to “moderate” a presidential debate. The two candidates want to preserve the “just hold the microphone and look pretty” role they’ve assigned Crowley, knowing that the audience won’t press them for actual answers.

Simpson has seen this stuff before. She told MSNBC, basically, that it’s a sad commentary that the one role the Debate Commission had for a woman moderator is the one role that minimized her importance in the process.

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The two people on the panel above neglected to point out, though, that the chair of the Presidential Debate Commission is a woman, the same woman who refused to meet with those school kids a few months ago who were presenting a petition calling for a woman to be named moderator of a presidential debate.

With any luck at all, someone in the audience will ask the candidates this question: Why are you two so afraid of women with questions?

  • BJ

    All these old Washington people as moderators is what really needs to go. How about Linda Cavanaugh (several regional awards)? Or Seema Mehta (did nice coverage of MB)? Maybe Rebecca Jarvis(MN raised)?

  • Kevin Watterson

    How about actual debates instead of joint press conferences (apologies to The West Wing)?

  • Bob Collins

    // Maybe Rebecca Jarvis(MN raised)?

    On that subject, i was watching her this morning and the question was buying vs. renting. And she noted that the price of renting has gone up 2% but the price of buying a home has gone down 30%. So buying, right?

    I thought it was an incredibly shallow analysis for someone who’s a financial expert. As anyone who just bought a house can attest, there is a TON of cost of home ownership beyond actually buying the home that one would have to factor into such important decisions and comparisons.

    So…. next?

  • BJ

    Hey I put her in for MN angle. She wanted to work for the Donald, so that kind of rules her out to start with.

    Honestly I think the pool outside of DC and New York just isn’t that deep to support my case for out of DC people.

  • bsimon

    I fail to see the relevance of the moderator’s gender, or other demographic characteristics. Or are we saying the differences between Jim Lehrer’s and Martha Radditz’s performances can be chalked up to differences in their ages and genders?

  • Suzanne

    Mitt also just cancelled an appearance on “The View,” according to New York Magazine, and now Ann Romney has to go on by herself. Sure it has nothing to do with gender…

  • BJ

    Like it or not age and gender differences have different life experiences. Everyone has a different view of the world (experiences). Those with similar age and gender tend to have experiences that are similar. So yeah we need more variety in the people asking questions, because they will ask different questions (I hope).

    This thought is for Bob but anyone can chime in. What are the questions we need to ask our politicians?

    1. I want to know why we have keep having so much debt? When we are going to learn to listen to the experts and not the special interests and deal with SS and Medicare bills that are coming due?

    2. Can we ask a politician to agree to tell AARP and Wall Street (both used as place holders for all moneyed interests) they are all causing the problems and to SPARKLEPONY off?

    3. I like it when government is not making new laws but this grid lock over reforms in current law (see medicare and SS) is hurting us long term. How can we reform the congress so that one party doesn’t block the other from needed reforms.

  • Kassie

    It isn’t that women and men have different styles or anything like that. It is that 50% of Americans are women. 50% of voters are women. 50% of moderators should be women. It is about the sexism and providing equal opportunity.