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It's a scene most of us are familiar with:

We're watching a talking heads program on TV or listening to one on the radio.  The guest makes (or has made in the past) a Stunningly Stupid Statement™, completely contrary to the facts at hand, or inherently illogical, and intended to score a point for their side.

The host tries to get the host to see the error of their way, asking a "But what about...?" question.

Savvy guests will then do what all such guests do:  turn on the prevarication, the distraction, the dissembling, the false equivalences--anything that will prevent them from having to, you know, actually answer the question.

And then, due to the pressures of a live show, or a lack of ability to press the issue, the host moves on--leaving the untruth hanging out there, unchallenged.

It's at this point that I--as well as many of you, I think--go into full fire-breathing rant mode: "You idiot!  You let him get away that easily?  What's the matter with you?" and so on.

It makes my world just that much more frustrating.  "What can we do about this?", you may be thinking.

But, wait, I have an answer.

Let's imagine the following:  you have a radio or TV studio and a syndicated show.  For one half hour, it's just you, the guest and the audience.

A regular talking heads show--but with a twist.

Through a mechanism of your choice or imagining, you have the ability to elicit the truth, the absolute truth, from your guest, but only in response to one question.  Be it a slashing wit and intellect, or access to an infallible truth serum, or the threat of waterboarding (available only for hard-core Republican guests), it doesn't matter--this is our fantasy, and we have something that works.

So here's the game--fill in the blanks:

  1. Who will be your guest?
  2. What one question will you ask him/her?
  3. Optionally: why do you ask this question, or what do you expect to get as an answer?

Here's are my answers, given the events of the week:

  1. Newt Gingrich.
  2. "Mr. Gingrich, you're on record as stating 'I am not a citizen of the world! I think the entire concept is intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous.'  Given that former President Reagan said 'I speak today as both a citizen of the United States and of the world' in a speech to the U.N. in 1982, how can you dismiss the same statement made by President Obama?
  3. To watch his head explode.

What are your answers?

To make it easier for everyone, please put the answer to (1) in your comment subject line, and the rest in the body of the comment.

WWYA?  And of whom?

Originally posted to rfall on Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 07:51 PM PDT.

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