Why do Republicans frequent such dives? Why give loser networks such as CNBC and CNN, the Pan Am and TWA of the media world, the ratings and ad revenues bumps? Why not have Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton host the GOP debates and cut out the middle men?
This was, by far, the worst performance by the "mainstream" media, so far, in the debate cycle. I was delighted when Sen. Ted Cruz, taking a page from Newt Gingrich's famous response in the South Carolina primary last cycle, tore into the moderators and ridiculed their questions,
The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media. This is not a cage match. You look at the questions — Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don't you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues?"
. . . "The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every thought and question from the media was, which of you is more handsome and wise? … The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. And nobody watching at home believes that the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primary. The questions that are being asked shouldn't be trying to get people to tear into each other. It should be, 'What are your substantive solutions?'
I thought it ironic that Cruz took the opportunity to tear up the moderators one of the few times that he actually got asked a substantive question, i.e., his position on the just-concluded budget deal.
Sen. Marco Rubio had the best line about the media, “The Democrats have the ultimate super-PAC. It’s called the mainstream media.” Rubio also got in some good shots against Hillary Clinton, pointing out that despite the media's chorus of "Hillary's best week, yet," this was the week that America found out formally and on TV that she had lied about the causes of the Benghazi attack. The media, of course, have just yawned.
I thought that Gov. Kasich, whom I like, looked desperate, angry, and dying to get attention. In his desperation and anger, he might have done damage to the GOP in the general election. His line about "fantasy tax plans" could come back to haunt the GOP candidate next year. It is somewhat akin to Gingrich's unfortunate line re Romney about "vulture capitalism." That hurt Romney in the run against Obama.
Winners? Losers? Afraid you would ask.
The biggest losers, of course, were the dopey, ill-informed, blatantly biased CNBC moderators. On stage, I think the biggest losers were Kasich, Bush, and Paul--all three need to call it quits. Jeb Bush, whom I like, especially needs to pack it in: it just ain't happening for him. Governors Christie and Huckabee? They had some good stuff on social security but did not make much of an impression. They, also, should consider hanging up their spurs.
The winners: Rubio, Cruz, and perhaps Fiorina, who handled herself well substantively and with a sense of humor. Trump was more subdued, but did OK, just not earth-shaking. Carson needs to pep it up a bit. He is smart and genuine and has some good policy prescriptions but is so subdued that at times he seems half asleep.
What comes across strongly, however, is that any one of these GOP candidates would make a better president than the calamity we now have in the White House or the calamity that the DNC is about to crown as its choice for the 2016 elections.