With the presidential election a year and a day away, things are beginning to have a much sharper focus. Case in point was last week’s abysmal attempt at a debate by the inquisitors from CNBC. What was supposed to have been a discussion focused on the economy turned into a verbal free-for-all between the candidates and the supposedly non-partisan panel.
What was apparent from the start was the majority of the questions were an attempt to demean the 10 people on stage. Because of that, a certain amount of sparks flew between the candidates themselves. The most notable confrontation occurred when Jeb Bush sought to chastise Marco Rubio for his voting record. A deft counter puncher, Rubio was quick to respond by noting that previous presidential candidates such as Democrat John Kerry and Republican John McCain had missed as many or more Senate votes when they were running. He also pointed out that Barak Obama was in the same mix and he ended up winning the presidency. Rubio stole the spotlight again when he corrected CNBS questioner Harwood about the fact that he (Harwood) had misconstrued the effects of Rubio’s tax plan.
Rubio’s comments drew the greatest amount of applause from the crowd. He was closely followed by Ted Cruz, who took much of his time to excoriate the panel of so-called journalists. Not far behind was Chris Christie, who vehemently criticized the questioners for spending an inordinate amount of time discussing Fantasy Football. Christie also demeaned the panel by saying, “Even in New Jersey you would be considered rude.”
Early on in the program there were several unscheduled interruptions while the candidates were speaking. They occurred when commercials were flashed onto the screen while a candidate was in mid-sentence. Perhaps CNBC had oversold the commercial portion of the program when they first scheduled it to run for three hours. The original time frame was changed when both Donald Trump and Ben Carson said they would not participate unless the format was changed to two hours. Trump was quick to make this very apparent.
The most egregious insult was hurled at Trump for his very first question in which the moderator insinuated that he (Trump) was running a “comic book” campaign. This was followed up later by the same panelist wondering if Trump had the moral fortitude to unite different sections of the country.
Many pundits commenting following the debate stated that Trump should have walked off the stage after the first insulting question or hopped down and bopped the panelist in the jaw.
What the debate definitely established was to give credence to the comment that Marco Rubio made when he said, “The greatest super PAC the Democratic candidates have is the mainstream media.”
Comparing CNBC’s pitiful performance to the excellent first debate hosted by the FOX network is like comparing a Smart Car to a Rolls Royce.
Again, the point has been made that when a debate for Democratic candidates is held, the questions are designed to give a chuckling, sometimes cackling Hillary Clinton cover for her past misdeeds as secretary of state.