On Wednesday of last week, eleven of the Republican presidential candidates faced off in the third GOP debate. The debate was to focus on economic policy but was quickly derailed, ending in a burning wreck. Following the debate, there have been accusations against CNBC about bias because of the questions the moderators asked. While it fits the conservative narrative only too well to cry about a liberal news station trying to tar the image of the candidates, the candidates and the RNC are acting childish and paranoid in flinging their accusations.
I will not deny that the form the questions took on Wednesday was purposefully aggressive. There was no reason to call Donald Trump a “comic book” figure when other words could have been used to ask the same question. But when the candidates, and even the RNC chairperson, point to questions like the one asked to Mr. Trump as evidence of some “liberal media” bias, they are being paranoid. Anyone who started watching CNBC before the debate started could tell you that the news anchors were waaay out of their league. During their pre-debate show, it was like a free-for-all with each anchor interrupting another. It was an amateur job that they were doing before the debate, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the moderators were amateurs during the debate as well. The RNC and Republican presidential candidates should be complaining about under-qualified moderators, not some conspiratorial bias against them.
But on the other hand, what could they want the moderators to do with the policies put forward by the candidates? I mean, seriously, a 10 trillion dollar tax cut? A “tithing tax plan” that would cut revenues by half, with no plan to cut spending in half? For the party that prides itself on fiscal responsibility, what the hell are these proposals? There is nothing responsible about them, and are just a bunch of empty promises by the two leading candidates of the field. But there was never an answer given by Mr. Trump or Dr. Carson, who proposed these tax policies, other than “lower taxes equals more growth” and “there’s fat to trim somewhere in the government.” Good job guys, really specific and well thought out positions right there. Cry all you want about the debate not centering around policy, but at least have policy to discuss if you do.
And there was of course the conservative darling Ted Cruz trying to shine through the crowded stage of eleven. At one point, the Senator from Texas was asked how he would cut down on the national debt and Mr. Cruz launched into a rant about the “mainstream media” and its insistence on story rather than substance. If you haven’t seen the segment I am talking about, YouTube it. Really, please do, because it summarizes perfectly how stupid the entire debate was. Instead of answering the question, Sen. Cruz ignores the question and calls out the moderators for asking the candidates to attack each other, not about policy. After he was finished with his first tantrum, old Teddy boy launched into another tantrum when he wasn’t allowed to answer the policy question he had ignored. Not going to lie, my blood boiled at how the audience applauded such despicable behavior by the Senator, because it was absolutely childish for him to grandstand like that.
I learned nothing from the debate Wednesday—nothing. Every policy question that was asked was either ignored or ended in an attack on another candidate. The aversion to actual answers was not the fault of “the media” or the “liberal devil moderators.” Only the candidates are at fault for how the debate turned out. I mean, really, it was the financial news channel for NBC—not exactly a liberal stronghold in the news world. But hey, Republicans can keep retreating into their Fox News echo-chamber so that their stupid economic plans can “get the praise that they deserve.” Seriously, it won’t be the “liberal media” that recognizes how out-of-step and extreme some of their policy plans are, it will be the American electorate. Which leads me to wonder what will happen in 2016 when Democrats win the White House yet again. Who will they blame? “Mainstream media,” their messaging, or the message itself?