From Monday night's Massachusetts senate debate between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, here's another example of why David Gregory should not be moderating any more debates, ever. He used the debate to push his own agenda and his fetish with the now defunct Simpson-Bowles "plan" that isn't really a plan, since it never made it out of the committee.
Paul Krugman explained again last week why the likes of Gregory and his fellow Villagers pushing for austerity is so destructive if our politicians take their advice:
I ask that question because we already know what Mr. Obama will face if re-elected: a clamor from Beltway insiders demanding that he immediately return to his failed political strategy of 2011, in which he made a Grand Bargain over the budget deficit his overriding priority. Now is the time, he’ll be told, to fix America’s entitlement problem once and for all. There will be calls — as there were at the time of the Democratic National Convention — for him to officially endorse Simpson-Bowles, the budget proposal issued by the co-chairmen of his deficit commission (although never accepted by the commission as a whole).
And Mr. Obama should just say no, for three reasons.
First, despite years of dire warnings from people like, well, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, we are not facing any kind of fiscal crisis. Indeed, U.S. borrowing costs are at historic lows, with investors actually willing to pay the government for the privilege of owning inflation-protected bonds. So reducing the budget deficit just isn’t the top priority for America at the moment; creating jobs is. For now, the administration’s political capital should be devoted to passing something like last year’s American Jobs Act and providing effective mortgage debt relief. [...]
Finally, despite the bizarre reverence it inspires in Beltway insiders — the same people, by the way, who assured us that Paul Ryan was a brave truth-teller — the fact is that Simpson-Bowles is a really bad plan, one that would undermine some key pieces of our safety net. And if a re-elected president were to endorse it, he would be betraying the trust of the voters who returned him to office.
And here's more from a couple of others who share my disgust with Gregory's pathetic performance as moderator. First from Charles Pierce -- Warren/Brown II — Out of the Ring and into the Classroom of National Ideas, Advantage: Professor:
There was a general consensus on several issues as we all filed out of Tsongas Arena on Monday night. The first was that incumbent U.S. Senator Scott Brown had done a little better than he'd done in his first debate with challenger Elizabeth Warren in that he dialed the essential dickitude of his essential personality back to about a six. The second was that Warren was not quite as good as she had been the first time around, although she finished very strongly. The third, and by far the most solidly held, consensus was that moderator David Gregory should be flogged through the streets for wasting everyone's time.
The Dancin' Master promised that the evening would be held "Meet The Press-style" and, alas, he delivered. (I kept waiting for John McCain to wander onto the stage out of pure reflex.) Gregory made such a terrible dog's breakfast of the his job that his performance can best be summed up by a question he asked late in the proceedings. "We've only got a few minutes left, so I'd like to touch on some other issues. The war in Afghanistan..." [...]
Yes, by all means, let's spend the first 20 minutes or so of a one-hour debate talking about what may or may not be on Warren's job applications from 20 years ago, and then 10 minutes discussing who represented whom in court; for what it's worth, Warren was much better prepared for this than she was during the first debate. Let's then spend another 10 or so chatting over Gregory's undying devotion to the Simpson-Bowles "plan." (I think he gets a royalty check every time he mentions the damned thing.) Okay, so now let's talk about the war we're in, but not for long, because there is a very important question to be asked about the future of Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. No, really, that was the evening's last question. You could look it up. [...]
I don't think the event is going to move the needle much either way but, I have to admit, if it did nothing else, the performance of the moderator on Monday night finally put brought some clarity to my opinion of him: David Gregory is the last of the replacement referees.
And from Lynn Parramore at AlterNet -- David Gregory Beclowns Himself With Awful Performance Moderating Elizabeth Warren-Scott Brown Debate:
Monday night’s Elizabeth Warren/Scott Brown debate turned out to be memorable. Not so much because of what the candidates said, but because of the bad reviews of the debate moderater, David Gregory. The NBC “Meet the Press” host used the badgering style of that show on both candidates, inserting himself heatedly into a hectic discussion that seemed to center on media talking points and playing “gotcha” rather than substantive issues. Viewers were neither amused nor informed.
Gregory got off to a bad start, opening the evening with a question about Warren’s supposed Native American heritage, which was exactly the same question that opened the first debate. The utterly unenlightening discussion went on for a full ten minutes.
Be sure to follow the links above to read the rest of their analysis of the debate.