As the Democratic National Committee prepares for debates beyond the one that takes place in Atlanta this week, the conversation about who moderates these debates has come front and center.
When Politico’s Tim Alberta’s name came up as a potential moderator for December’s debate (really, who holds a debate in December?), some people at the DNC expressed their dismay. You see, Alberta could be persona non grata at the debate because he spent about a year at National Review and has written a book about the state of the Republican party since 2016.
NBC News highlights the tension between the two camps:
Democratic Party officials say such a journalist is ill-suited to co-moderate a debate meant to better inform Democratic voters about their potential nominees.
In Politico’s eyes, Alberta is a nonpartisan journalist and shouldn’t be penalized because he covered the GOP or wrote for National Review. The news organization is continuing to push to have him on the panel.
But the DNC doesn’t elaborate on exactly why a journalist with a little time at conservative outlets isn’t a good fit for asking questions of the Democratic presidential hopefuls – unless it boils down to one thing: they’re afraid of questions that may challenge their views and punch holes in their ideas.
Over at National Review, Alberta’s one-time home, Jim Geraghty hits them pretty hard over questioning the idea of using Alberta as a moderator:
What DNC officials meant to say is that they’re a bunch of wimps and cowards who want to keep their Fabergé egg candidates in bubble wrap until the Iowa caucuses. These folks all want to be the next commander-in-chief of the free world, but apparently they can’t be subjected to anything as nerve-wracking and devastating as a question or two from the world’s most mild-mannered Detroit Lions fan.
Don’t we hear so often about how entrenched the Democrats are in their convictions? Don’t we hear how they’re committed to their ideas and policy proposals? If so, shouldn’t they be able to withstand scrutiny?
And these folks are running for president, for crying out loud. They’re going to take tough questions – sometimes “gotcha” questions – from journalists (even the friendly ones can be tough sometimes). They’re going to face world leaders who oppose them. Shouldn’t they be quick enough on their feet to roll with the punches?
What’s the DNC afraid of? If they really are entrenched in their beliefs so much, they should let Tim Alberta moderate the debate and see what happens.