Tough guy Republicans afraid of YouTube?

It’s ironic that after the Democrats got criticized for refusing to appear on a… Fox News sponsored debate, with the exception of Ron Paul and John McCain, the Republicans are refusing to appear on a CNN/Youtube debate.

Here’s Hugh Hewitt then:

It was cowardly for the Dems to refuse to debate on Fox with folks like Brit Hume and Chris Wallace asking the questions.

And Hugh Hewitt now.

If the GOP candidates agree to this format, expect a series of cheap shots about all of the top tier candidates.

Patrick Ruffini doesn’t buy it:

While I can certainly appreciate the desire to avoid “set up” questions, it is intellectually dishonest to simultaneously attack the Democrats for running from Fox News while raising the red flag at agenda journalism in the form of CNN/YouTube.

Jane Hamsher doesn’t mince words:

During the Democratic YouTube, many people in the comments suggested that the GOP candidates could never survive this format. That without a reliably neutered journalist who cared too much about access to Lynn Cheney’s fabulous chili to risk putting any of them on the spot, they really wouldn’t be able to function. That looks to be somewhat prophetic. They’re all looking like a bunch of girl’s blouses and are refusing to commit to CNN’s GOP YouTube debate.

I really liked the YouTube format — I found the questions fresh and often fearless, and with it CNN managed to attract the 18-34 year-old audience in record numbers. I have no doubt that Mitt Romney and his penchant for dissembling looked upon the spectacle with horror. Canned hunts and canned audiences are GOP specialties, because the fantasy life of lizard brains can only survive in hermetically sealed environments. Daylight and reason are like wingnut kryptonite.