November 2, 2007 - 5:22pm ET
Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, we post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We'll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked.
And on Sunday at 4 PM ET, tune in to Air America Radio's "Seder on Sundays" program, where I'll offer the Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up.
Guest watchdog Rick Perlstein here, with a confession: I'm a politically junky of an unconventional sort. Specifically: I can't stand the Sunday political talk shows. I don't mean that, like many liberals, I watch them and shout angrily at the screen. I mean I don't watch them at all. The last episode of Meet the Press I saw was from 1966, three years before I was born. If you know that I'm a historian that sentence makes more sense. I saw it at the Museum of Broadcast Communications as part of the research for my next book, and the episode was a roundtable featuring Stokely Carmichael, Martin Luther King, and the NAACP's Roy Wilkins.
So who's up on on NBC's "Meet the Press this week? No Martin Luther King, that's for sure. It's none other than the newest passenger in the clown car that is the 2008 Republican presidential field: Fred Thompson. And here's what I, were I Tim Russert, would ask him:
"Mr. Thompson, last month, in an interview with Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa, you answered a question about what you would do as president about Iran by say, in part, 'I'm afraid that the Soviet Union and China are not ever going to do anything that's going to hurt them that badly but we need to ratchet those up if at all possible.'
"More recently, Mr. Thompson, you were asked a question about New Hampshire's civil unions law and responded, 'Soviet Union?'"
"My question: how would you answer critics who say someone who keeps referring to a nation that hasn't existed for sixteen years isn't sharp enough to be president?
"And a followup, if I may: what are you going to do about Siam, Persia, and the Holy Roman Empire?"
But seriously, folks. How about this one. "You believe abortion should be illegal. Do you believe women who have abortions should go to jail?"
Joe Biden is on CBS's Face the Nation. And were I able, to transpose myself, using some Harry Potterish magic, into Bob Schieffer's superannuated body, I would ask Biden about an astonishingly stupid and callous thing he once said—true story—to a friend of mine.
Me as Bob Schieffer: "Senator Biden, I know of a Florida man who asked you why you supported the bankruptcy bill, which he, like many Americans, believes punishes the most financially vulnerable members of society and only benefits predatory credit card companies headquartered in your home state of Delaware. You responded, this Florida man told me, 'so deadbeat dads like you can't get away with not paying child support.'
"Mr. Biden, you're an intelligent and morally serious man, with a Catholic education. Why would you say such a thing to a complete stranger asking you a perfectly reasonable policy question?"
But seriously, folks. Schieffer should ask him, "Considering that one Harvard study found that half of Americans who declared bankruptcy did so because of illness or medical bills, why did you help drive a bill that makes it easier for banks to seize such innocent Americans' assets?"
Last but not least. These week Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace inaugurates a new series they're calling "American Leaders" with an interview with former president George H.W. Bush.
"President Bush," Chris Wallace should ask him, "in 1999 you called those who exposed the identity of American covert agents 'the most insidious of traitors.' Now that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt tha the George W. Bush administration exposed the identity of covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson, do you plan on extending an invitation to your son for Thanksgiving?"
But seriously folks. Why not ask Chris Wallace to ask our 41st president how he thinks the 44th president, whomever that is, can rebuild some of the international trust the United States seems to have lost over the previous eight years?
Remember: always be brief, polite and respectful when contacting the media, so our voices will be taken seriously.
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