Note to Wolfie (and also to Brian Williams): Stop asking questions like “ok, candidates, raise your hands if you aren’t such a wuss that you wouldn’t rain hellfire on whoever looks at us funny”. We aren’t asking you (although we should) questions like “raise your hand if you aren’t a simple minded, chest thumping dolt”.

Now, I only got a chance to watch part of the debate last night and was very glad to hear Senator Clinton smack down ole Leslie on his incessant “vague hypothetical questions”. But there is a major theme developing already and if something strong isn’t done to counteract this and isn’t done soon, then we will be right back to “Democrats are weak because they won’t come right out and say that they will turn a country into a sheet of glass if they run afoul of our goals of world domination”.

I listened to around 25 minutes of the debate, and not once, not twice, but three friggin times I heard the “prove to me that you aren’t a wimp” line of questioning. And I didn’t even watch long enough to hear any questions regarding Iraq.

Without rehashing the completely loaded questions that Brian Williams lobbed at the Democrats in the first debate (but recall they were much like “do you agree with those who say that your Senate leader is a loser?” or “would you rather see terrorists take over the world or would you rather drop nukes on Iran?”) it has become plain as day that there is little interest in doing anything other than making Democratic candidates “prove their toughness” by saber rattling or chest thumping in the must unproductive manner.

One of the first questions that I heard in last night’s debate was John Edwards talking about Iran, and I thought he gave a very well thought out, fairly comprehensive answer:

MR. BLITZER: Senator Edwards, how far would you go, if necessary, to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb?

SEN. EDWARDS: Well, let me — can I be more specific. I think that beyond just talking about diplomacy, if you lived in Iran, you know that the Iranian people actually rallied for America on the streets of Tehran after September the 11th. And there’s a long history of pro-American sentiment in Iran.

There is an extraordinary opportunity available to us on Iran, and there’s a very clear path, from my perspective. They have a president who is politically unpopular. The people are in a different place. He hasn’t done what he promised to do, Ahmadinejad, when he was elected president.

We don’t have economic leverage over the Iranians, but the Europeans do, the European banking system does. We should put two options on the table. One, carrots; we’ll make the nuclear fuel available to you, the international community, but we’ll control it, you can’t nuclearize — you can’t weaponize it. Second, we’re going to put a clear set of economic incentives on the table.

And the Iranian people need to hear this.

What was Wolfie’s response to this? But you’re saying only economic sanctions, not a military threat that should be on the table. Is that what you’re saying?

Why not just say “are you such a wimp that you wouldn’t threaten to bomb them into the stone age?” Totally inexcusable. And yet totally expected. Now, right before this, Senator Clinton talked about using diplomacy first to deal with Iran and, while she was “concerned about Iran”, we talked with the Soviet Union during the Cold War and that you can’t rule out talking to those who are your adversaries instead of just calling them evil. Sounds intelligent, nuanced and the right approach.

But even then, Wolfie came back with ”So what happens, Senator, if diplomacy, when all is said and done, fails?”. Again with the “are you strong enough to bomb them to smithereens or are you a terrorist lover?” At least Senator Clinton shot back with “Wolf, I’m not going to get into hypotheticals, because we’ve had an administration that doesn’t believe in diplomacy”, because sadly, it is these hypotheticals alone that are going to be used as the basis for whether someone is “strong on foreign policy”. This will be (and already is being) twisted and spun into such nonsense and it must be stopped immediately.

One of the very next questions was of the same ilk. When talking about Osama bin Laden (forget the fact that Bush and the republicans have let him stay free for the past seven years but you won’t hear anything about that), Wolf wanted more blood:

MR. BLITZER: I just want everybody to raise their hand and tell me if you agree that if the U.S. had intelligence that could take out Osama bin Laden and kill him, even though some innocent civilians would die in the process, would you, as president, authorize such an operation? If you would raise your hand.

Screw the innocent civilians. Don’t think of the fact that the republicans haven’t made him a priority. Forget the fact that Bush himself said that he just doesn’t spend much time thinking about him. But if the Democrats don’t want to take out a few innocent people (or if not innocent, then a few civilians), then they are “weak”.

At the risk of repeating my diary title from yesterday, do you notice a pattern here? At least the candidates didn’t bite and slapped Wolf down on his “hypothetical” scenarios.

But that still wasn’t enough…..the very next question was on Darfur, and Wolf couldn’t stop itching for that blood. When Senator Biden talked about a no fly zone and NATO troops, Wolfie wanted to see how “tough” the candidates were :

All right. Raise your hand if you agree with Senator Biden that the United States should use military force to stop the genocide in Darfur.

Um, assclown, Biden said “no-fly zone and NATO troops”, not “go on in and kick some ass”. And EVEN AFTER many of the candidates agreed on a no-fly zone, Wolf still wanted blood:

We start with a no-fly zone, but very often, Senator Clinton, that could move on to other operations.

Time and time again. First with Brian Williams, then with the bearded idiot. It all goes back to how much military action the Democrats are willing to use. Forget the fact that our military is stretched beyond the breaking point. Forget the fact that the republicans have refused to fund, rest, train, equip or care for our current forces. Forget the fact that the US has no economic leverage around the world anymore. Forget the fact that the military can’t bust up terror plots. Forget the fact that the military can’t even come close to doing whatever it is they are “supposed to be doing” in Iraq.

Forget all of that – the litmus test here is whether the Democrats want to bomb, want to “use force”, “keep all options on the table”. Forget diplomacy and how that has worked for hundreds of countries for hundreds of years.

There is a huge trap being set for the Democratic candidates, and the party in general. They are starting to realize it. But if they don’t speak out outside of just the debates and turn the tables on the republicans’ irresponsibility with our military and lack of diplomacy, as well as the so called “moderators” who lob softball questions at republicans (“what would you do to get back to ‘Morning in America’, Rudy?” as opposed to “why did you put the city command center at 7 WTC despite recommendations to not do that?”) – the Democrats will continue to fight the uphill battle of being “soft on foreign policy”.

Which, by the way, is total bullshit – especially since diplomacy, carrots and sticks, and working with other countries is proof of a strong foreign policy. Bombing and invading other countries is not. It is weak, foolish and cowardly.

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