I caught the CNN GOP debate last night – a little late, but I did see most of it. More than 2 hours of it.
Was the thing even moderated? Good goddess – there was so much over talk and the moderators really didn’t even try to gain control. Dana Bash had one point where she pushed Trump over and over for an answer, but overall a roomful of toddlers have better self-control.
Democratic presidential primary candidate Bernie Sanders live-tweeted the event until he got bored and went home.
Immediately after the debate Republican presidential primary candidate Ben Carson very articulately said that the format sucked. He was right.
And that being said, in all honesty, I don’t know how you could have a real honest-to-god debate with 10 people standing on the stage. What could be done? The only thing I can come up with is to handle it Jeopardy-like, and force them to write their answers. Or perhaps they should have a red light and a green light like the US Supreme Court, and cut off their mike. They’ll learn real quick that they better speak with substance, or at least I’d hope that’d be what would happen. Frankly, I’m not sure.
There was little substance, and that was the problem – but the moderators’ inability to control the debate resulted in a verbal barb sparring match. I almost wonder if it weren’t intentional? Media coverage today would almost suggest that it was – there’s a significant number of articles out there (or video coverage) like this: Best one liners and zingers from the GOP debate and Best Trump zingers of the CNN Republican debate. Or this one Donald Trump’s top moments insulting GOP rivals.
The most substance we got for what was probably the longest continue period of policy discussion was on incarceration rates, justice and marijuana. (Thank you Rand Paul.)
Is there another cause? Is having 15 or 17 or 19 or however many candidates that are in the GOP presidential primary truly a good thing? How are they all lasting? In the past they drop out as they lost money, which could happen with any bad 15 seconds of fame. Now every special interest group has its own granddaddy gold card subsidizing their own private Super PAC…keeping them in the race.
Of course, then there’s Trump, spending his own money.
It’s hard to criticize Republicans publicly trading insults and zingers (I’ll kindly except John Kasich, Ben Carson and Rand Paul from that category,) because at least they’re having debates. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, head of the DNC, is only going for 6 debates, saying that American’s don’t want them, and they’ll have to wait until October for the first one. Which may end up backfiring for her friend Hillary.
I do hope they try to figure out some better format for the next GOP debate. Everyone deserves better – the voters, and the candidates. Otherwise, whoever is doing the planning is all but paving the way for another shit-show of insults and one-liners.