Well meant though it may be, the idea of Tim Russert or some other journalist-interrogator looking Republican hopeful John McCain in the eye and asking "What balance will you seek in federal science funding between major-programme project research and investigator-initiated basic-research grants?" is somewhat fantastical. It is also slightly disturbing.
But who is advocating "Tim Russert or some other journalist-interrogator" asking any questions? The "journalist-interrogators" have shown themselves incapable of participating in any meaningful debate regarding any issues, so why should the scientific community trust them to be able to moderate a debate on science policy? Why restrict ourselves to journalists? Why not get Neil de Grasse Tyson?
The editorial opines:
For all that it claims to be a ’grass-roots’ phenomenon, the proposed debate can be seen as an attempt by various élite institutions to grab the microphone and set the agenda from the top down.
Considering the movement was launched by our very own Chris and Sheril and received its initial support from bloggers such as my Sciblings and I, I think we can say that it is not "an attempt by various élite institutions to grab the microphone".
Really Nature, you can do better. You should do better.