The 2016 Republican Presidential Debates
• Debate - Noun: A formal discussion using skills of reasoned argument with participants taking opposite sides of a specified question.
Roll Up.. See The Show!
• Spectacle - Noun: A public show or exhibition on a grand scale which is mainly attractive to the eye.
As television ratings for the Republican presidential debates continue to soar I cannot help but wonder if a Republican party so recently declared dead has found its way to relevance again. Could it be that the Republicans finally have such compelling candidates that people cannot help but tune in to watch them? Or is it that these debates have turned into such a political version of the WWE that like any good train wreck, the public simply can't look away.
Much of the attention paid to these 'debate presentations' is of course due to Donald Trump, a man who is difficult not to watch. He is like nothing else recently seen on any political stage. Add to this the preening, self-important moderators with politically biased agendas, questions predetermined to set the 'contestants' against one another, media hype akin to playoff football, and the resulting spectacle is something reminiscent of Emerson Lake and Palmer’s 'Karn Evil 9'.
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends..and oh, did I mention we have Donald Trump?
I really enjoy watching Donald Trump handle the media. After years of watching frightened Republicans dance around the press's 'gotcha' questions The Donald is a real hoot. I must also admit that I enjoyed watching him repeatedly beat up on Jeb Bush and then take his political lunch money. It was like being a kid and watching the Three Stooges again. But it soon wore thin and started to feel ridiculous and ugly. Moe and Curly were a lot more likeable. And other than realizing that old Jeb had no business even being on the stage, none of it helped me decide who to vote for.
Soon the Trump supreme with red hair in Cosmoline will eviscerate Jeb's meme what a scene what a scene.The fun all started during the very first debate when Fox moderator Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump about his references to women as fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. She continued with a rather salacious reference he made concerning a certain Celebrity Apprentice contestant 'on her knees'. Trump responded with a series of twitter rages and other media attacks that took over the news cycle for the next two weeks. Kelly took a mysterious unscheduled vacation, and from there we were on our way. In the aftermath of the first Fox debate Trump got lots of free campaign coverage, Megyn Kelly's celebrity shot to the moon, and we the electorate were fed two weeks’ coverage of sex, innuendo and 'bleeding from wherever'. The celebrity Cage Match did nothing to help us review the political ideas and opinions put forth by Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Ben Carson et al.
Seven virgins and a mule keep it cool keep it cool..As a conservative I found the initial group of candidates refreshing. They brought more knowledge of the Constitution and strength of character to the primaries than has been seen in a very long time. Not to mention qualities of youth, vigor, and diversity that are usually attributed to those on the other side. I wanted to hear what they had to say, and I have not enjoyed watching them asked pointedly self-destructive questions or being pitted against one another as participants in some kind of sleazy political cock fight.
I did enjoy the candidates' revolt against moderators John Harwood and Carl Quintanilla during CNBC debate. After too many questions concerning why he was NOT qualified to be President Ted Cruz finally pointed out to Carl Quintanilla that this was 'why the American people don't trust the media'. The line received much applause. Later Chris Christie after continual interruptions from John Harwood said 'John, do you want me to answer or do you want to answer?' In the second Fox debate Cruz once again complained that the questions being asked were nothing more than invitations for the other candidates to attack him. Moderator Chris Wallace responded 'It is a debate, sir'. Wallace, who in my opinion was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple, could benefit from reading the definitions listed at the top of this page. In the end the narrative of these debates became about the agenda of the moderators, not the participants, and the electorate was once again denied substantive information. But the ratings were great.
We've got thrills and shocks, supersonic fighting cocks... Come Inside Come Inside...ABC staged its Republican debate the day before The Super Bowl and the similarities were not subtle. ABC opened the broadcast with such pomp and hype that I expected to see roman numerals in the event's title. Then they introduced the candidates with such fervor that I was waiting to see them come running out onto the stage with helmets under their arms... And now from the University of Delaware, weighing in at .136 metric tons, starting wide end Chris Christie... Christie then runs out of the wings passing pom-pom waving Martha Raddatz while fireworks shoot across the stage. The story of this debate, however was how confused the introductions got after Ben Carson missed his que to enter. Some of the candidates hung out in the wings talking while others took to their podiums waiting to begin and when the moderators finally got things sorted out they realized that they totally forgot John Kasich - an omission that I find completely forgivable.
Come inside, the show's about to start Guaranteed to blow your head apart... You've got to see the show..The Republican National Committee (RNC) allegedly stacked the deck at the CBS Debate by filling the audience with boisterous pro-establishment voters who vigorously cheered for Bush, Kasich and Rubio while violently booing Trump and Cruz. Google Trends reported a spike in web searches for 'why are people booing' by confused viewers trying to figure out what was going on while waiting for rotten tomatoes to start flying onto the stage. It was another example of an outside agenda - in this case the RNC's - over shadowing the substance of what the candidates had to say. Who won the debate? Certainly not the electorate. The audience was the story of this show and they got so raucous that they sounded like a crowd at the Roman Colosseum. I thought RNC chairman Reince Priebus would come out of the wings wearing a toga and olive branches, walk up behind Donald Trump and give him a thumbs down, all to the delight of the rabid screaming crowd.
Speaking of Reince Priebus and the RNC, aren't they responsible for these debates? Is it not their job to put forth these candidates in the most positive light? Should not their highest priority be to help the voting public decide who is the best Republican candidate for President? Shouldn't we be able to count on them to produce substantive debates and not spectacles? Given what we have seen to date, their answer to adding substance would include hot dog cannons shooting copies of the Constitution into debate crowds. Reince Priebus needs to go. And some serious questions need to be asked of the RNC.
Why are Republican debates being produced by liberal networks using progressive moderators to ask questions that are irrelevant to anyone voting in the Republican primaries? Why are the debates being run by networks at all? Is the Republican National Committee getting paid to let these networks take over what is ostensibly their product? How much are they getting? Who decided that putting 43 people on a stage and making them hack at one another for two hours constitutes a debate?
Here is an idea. Why not change the format to a round-robin series of one on one debates where the questions are written by the voting public, selected by the RNC and published in advance for all to review. Why not use one set of classic parliamentary or debate society rules instead of Marquess Of Queensberry rules and make the moderator little more than a time keeper, not some overblow agenda laden celebrity news buffoon. Why not let a reorganized RNC that is accountable to its base - whole new topic here - produce the debates, pick and pay for the venue themselves and then open it up to simultaneous coverage by any media outlet that wants to broadcast it. Let the Republican National Committee control the venue, content and questions, let the people voting in the Republican primary finally have a fair and unbiased look at the people they are voting for and let the Republican candidates do the rest.
We would like it to be known the exhibits that were shown were exclusively our own, All our own. All our own...Buddy Walker
Special thanks to Emerson Lake and Palmer for use of their lyrics.
Here is a link to Karn Evil 9 in case you have forgotten or are too young to remember.
Karn Evil 9 - Emerson Lake and Palmer