This is what happens when the top political bloggers on the left and the right (as well as a few non-partisan online mavens) actually work with mainstream media to enrich, rather than debase, the political discussion. The biggest flaw of the first Youtube debate was it wasn't truly interactive or "social." The process for selecting video questions to appear on television, wasn't all that transparent, and the questioners didn't have the ability to take the candidates to task if they evaded the question.
Not anymore. Some background from the founders:
Unlike television debates, the 10Questions Presidential Forum makes full use of the web's potential to expand participation in politics. Everyone has an opportunity to ask a question, and to rally support for their question being in the top ten. The candidates have plenty of time to formulate their answers, and can post in-depth replies. Finally, the community will be able to grade the candidates' answers. With large numbers of people participating, the candidates will have an incentive to pay attention. Who knows, maybe we'll even change the course of the election!The process is pretty simple - upload your video question to the site, and vote on the questions there. The ten videos with the most votes hets asked of the candidates. The candidates respond, and then people vote on whether they adequately answered the question.
This is one of the first times mainstream media has acknowledged that the political discussion no longer belongs to the chattering class inside the beltway. By playing a leading role in this project, the New York Times and MSNBC are helping to democratize the discussion that determines the fate of our democracy.
And it only took them a couple of election cycles.
Somewhere Andrew Jackson is smiling down upon us.