By HDN staff
The Iowa Straw poll is over, the race is on, and now the gloves come off.
George W. Bush swept the poll with 7,418 votes, nearly 2,500 votes in front of second-place finisher Steve Forbes. Elizabeth Dole finished third with 3,410 votes.
We all realize the Iowa vote means little, other than to weed out the field of candidates a bit Dan Quayle and Lamar Alexander have likely fallen by the wayside. But as the race for Republican primary begins in earnest, it is time for the candidates to take a stand.
Some platform issues would be nice, but the candidates seem content to keep things ambiguous at this point.
Send in the media.
When candidates dont take a stand, its the medias job to ask the questions for the public and get the answers to the public. But what are the questions the public needs or wants to know? When is a question going to far? And what answers are now the kiss of death for a candidate?
Following Saturdays Iowa Straw poll, Bush was asked by a reporter if he had ever taken drugs in his youth. Bush refused to answer the question. In a later interview, Dole supported Bushs non-answer, saying the public doesnt have the right to pry into the personal past of the candidates and the media was going too far.
Oh, really. So the media shouldnt have queried candidate Bill Clinton about smoking marijuana? The Republicans certainly had a field day with his answer though it made little difference to the voters come Election Day.
Twenty-five years ago no one would have ever believed a divorced man could be elected to the White House then came Ronald Reagan. When Jimmy Carter admitted to lusting in his heart, the country seemed astonished, embarrassed then came Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky affair.
As times change, so does the publics level of acceptance for human frailties. So, should we stop asking the questions?
We dont think so.
While the media can go too far stalking and spying and buying asking straight-forward questions on moral and legal issues of candidates who could be shaping our future on Capitol Hill is not only appropriate, it is imperative.
Whether or not the answers influence the outcome of an election is strictly up to the voters to decide. Thats called democracy.