As Congress and the White House continue to spar over Iraq war policy, a dramatic policy reversal has transpired here on the domestic front.
After plans were set for a debate in September among the Democratic presidential hopefuls, former Senator John Edwards changed his mind and decided that he wouldn't participate after all.
Shortly thereafter, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Barack Obama changed their respective minds, as well, and announced that they would not participate in the debate either.
Why did this happen? Why the abrupt and seemingly counter-productive change of plans for three of the nation’s top presidential candidates?
It's difficult to imagine that anybody who is serious about being President would NOT want to debate their opponents - - especially when a noteworthy organization like the Congressional Black Caucus has put together the event, and plans are already set.
It's even more difficult to understand why a serious presidential candidate would not want a good sixty minutes or more of free "facetime" on American television (isn’t this “earned media” at it’s best?), especially when America's most popular and most watched cable news channel is set to televise the event.
But these days, America's most watched cable news outlet happens to be The Fox Newschannel. And that seems to be the problem.
To be certain, The Fox Newschannel is quite an interesting phenomenon. "We Report, You Decide" is their familiar tagline that repeatedly and implicitly affirms what many Americans have sensed intuitively - -the notion that for far too long, many American reporters and news agencies have been draping themselves in the cloak of journalistic objectivity, while skewing the story to meet their own personal and political sensibilities.
While deploying this strategy - - and without mentioning its competitor by name - - The Fox Newschannel has over the past decade successfully conquered the heritage cable news outlet, while at the same time endearing itself to a marketplace of increasingly sophisticated and cynical media consumers.
But all this success has apparently frightened the fringe left-wing of America, so much so that they have for the past several years regarded The Foxnewschannel as a "conservative" or "Republican" media outlet.
And what does the far left-wing do with a successful media outlet that they perceive to be “conservative?” Confront it? Infiltrate it? Oh, no, nothing of the sort.
For them, appearing on America's #1 cable news channel is tantamount to "sleeping with enemy.” And in the case of September's presidential debate, left-wing activists applied serious political pressure, even to the point of threatening political “damage,” so as to ensure that their candidates didn't get anywhere near "the enemy."
Now, let's be sure that we're connecting the dots correctly: the same far-left political contingency that seemed to be fine with House Speaker Pelosi's "diplomatic" visit to the known terrorist-state of Syria, was willing to cannibalize its own candidates had they stuck with their original decisions to appear on the "wrong" TV channel.
The silliness and lack of logic among the ranks of these activists is both laughable, and seriously troubling.
But the greatest concern here lies in the fact that three presidential candidates - - two sitting United States Senators, and a former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate - - acquiesced to this nonsense.
To be fair, Edwards, Clinton and Obama are all smart enough to understand the priceless nature of the Fox Newschannel opportunity. But their respective choices point to a very serious question: should one of these individuals be elected President, how might they lead the entire United States in confronting its real enemies?
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.