CNBC: A Dreadful Debate
It’s hard to find the right words to describe the 3rd Republican Presidential debate on CNBC, but how about these: arrogant; belligerent; condescending; dreadful; egotistical; insulting; offensive; and, downright bad.
No, I’m not talking about any of the Republican candidates. I’m talking about the CNBC moderators. Last night’s show was another example of a clearly biased liberal media trying to abuse their position to attack Republican candidates.
There have been some bad debate formats before – let’s rephrase that, there have been some horrific debates before this one – but last night CNBC managed to sink to unheard of depths of awfulness.
To their credit, some of the candidates tried to steer the debate back towards something that the audience wanted to hear. But on each occasion the CNBC moderators dragged the tone back down into their gutter.
The very fact that the vast majority of the reaction to the debate focuses on the horrible display by the moderators, and not on how the candidates performed, is perhaps the best measure of the grand failure of the CNBC debate.
Many people have said that CNBC should not be allowed to host another debate and after last night’s performance. Who could disagree with that.
Nevertheless it deserves a bit of analysis. Let’s deal with the losers first this time.
As noted above, the biggest loser by a long, long margin was CNBC, closely followed by their moderators. The latter were so bad, both in failing to control the debate and by asking inane question after inane question that they actually got booed by the audience at one point.
Of the politicians, the other big loser of the night was John Kaisch. In what was clearly a set-up, Kaisch was asked the first question of the night, which was, “what’s your biggest weakness?” He ignored the question completely (maybe he had so many weaknesses he didn’t know where to start) and used the opportunity to launch an attack on Donald Trump.
Trump responded in typical fashion and slapped the arrogant Kasich back down into his place with a few curt but appropriate comments.
The other big loser was Jeb Bush. After two poor performances in the first two televised debates this was the night that Jeb had to shine. He tried when he called out Rubio on his very poor performance as a Florida Senator, but he failed. Basically he got beat up by someone who is a better fighter. After that Bush made little impact.
And, of course, we have to include Rand Paul in the losers section once again. For the third time in these TV debates Paul was disappointing, making no impact whatever. It is hard to see him surviving much longer in this race.
Donald Trump had a winning night, but without many memorable offerings, apart from the Kaisch incident. He didn’t make any mistakes and that is a big plus given the tone of the debate and the traps laid for him by the moderators. He is still the front-runner and he appeared that way on stage.
Being Trump he did not let the moment pass without reminding everyone how he had beaten CNBC in negotiating the length of the debate, much to the approval of the audience. It would be hard to see Trump slipping from top position as a result of the CNBC debate.
Ben Carson, on the other hand, got off to a very weak start on his first few questions. He had one of those moments when you wonder if he is fully engaged in the process, as he struggled to articulate his points. But later on he got better and his performance overall was good.
All things considered though, both leading candidates, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, were deliberately not given their deserved place during the debate.
Marco Rubio and Chris Christie were the two other winners. Both had a pretty good night. In Rubio’s case this may impact positively on his poll numbers, particularly if Bush continues to fall. As for Christie, his performances in the debates do not carry through to increased numbers in the polls. It probably won’t this time either.
Star Of The Show
The star of the show, however, was Ted Cruz. He chose to use his opening time to expose the debate for the sham that the CNBC moderators had made of it.
He criticized the tone of the whole debate. “…look at the questions,” Cruz said. “‘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 people care about?”
Cruz’ statement drew a huge response from inside the debate hall and I would guess in millions of homes throughout America as well. He had a very good night.
As for the rest of the candidates they probably didn’t make too many mistakes, but they made little impact either.
Finally, a word of thanks from a grateful Nation to Donald Trump for shortening this CNBC debate by an hour.