debates

Success! Now Tell Schieffer and Others to Follow Up on Monday Night's Drone Question

Just Foreign Policy supporters urged Bob Schieffer to ask a question on drones—and he did!

During Monday night's presidential debate, moderator Bob Schieffer asked a direct question on a candidate's drone strike policy, which is more than had been raised in any previous debate this election season. Unfortunately, Schieffer only asked Mitt Romney the question—and let President Obama completely off the hook.

But that doesn't mean that the question was a failure. Simply raising the issue during the debate has led to a wave of media interest in US drone strike policy. Perhaps the most notable discussion occurred on MSNBC's Morning Joe when Joe Scarborough, the host and a former Republican congressman, challenged Joe Klein's defense of US drone strike policy with a passionate and well-reasoned argument against drone strikes. [1] And that's a true victory.

If Morning Joe can have a substantive debate about drone strikes, then other top news talk programs ought to be able to do so as well.

Tell Bob Schieffer and other talk show hosts to follow up on Monday night's drone question by facilitating a real discussion about drone strike policy.

We learned at least one thing from Bob Schieffer's drone question: Mitt Romney supports President Obama's drone strike policy, and would continue it as president. However, Schieffer didn't press the point with Obama, claiming that “we know President Obama’s position on this.” [2] Schieffer's failure to ask Obama a question on drones was the topic of an article in the Washington Post, [3] and the lack of substantive debate on the issue inspired an article in Time detailing the real controversy drones have caused in Pakistan. [4]

Inspired By Drone Question At Debate Last Night, MSNBC'S Morning Joe Has Real Discussion on Drones

One benefit that has come from the simple asking of any drone question during last night's debate is that, today, people in the media are talking about drones, and in a far more substantial way than the candidates did last night.

One example is MSNBC'S Morning Joe. In the course of the commentator's discussion of last night's debate, Bob Schieffer's drone question came up. It was then that host Joe Scarborough, the former Republican Congressman, revealed himself to be a closet Code Pinker when it comes to drones. Scarborough confessed that he found US drone policy incredibly troubling, and presented a penetrating critique of US drone strikes. Joe Klein, on the other hand, defended Obama's policies, justifying the murder of four year-old Pakistani children with a "them or us" argument. In the end, three commentators, including Scarborough, said that they wished the debate last night had spent more time on the drones question.

Glenn Greenwald published an excellent critique of Klein's remarks over at the Guardian. A video clip of the discussion is below, as well as a transcript.