OK, so this debate is now in the dustbin of history. There is no way to undo it. The light and sound waves from those excruciating two hours will continue to travel through the universe forever, and the tapes will be placed in the archives for future generations to view and judge us by.
This “debate” will have the distinction of being the first in which the contest was not between the candidates but between the moderators on the left and the candidates on the right – that is when the moderators were not taking on each other. This fiasco will be long remembered not for the candidates’ performances, which, under the circumstances were all pretty good, but for the idiotic questions and the despicable performance of the CNBC “moderators.”
I joined Brian Schoeneman and Brian Kirwin in live blogging this debate, which you can read here, and that responsibility was the only thing that kept me watching as long as I did. (I finally walked away about 15 minutes before the end because I’d had all I could stand.)
The questions were almost entirely on trivial and mundane subjects that were of interest to no one other than the moderators who were looking desperately (but ultimately in vain) for gotcha moments that could benefit their Democrat Party allies. Most notably, for a network that is dedicated to financial and economic news, there were hardly any questions on those subjects. They were too busy asking about whether the government should regulate fantasy football and chastising Marco Rubio for being one of millions of people who struggled to pay off his student loans.
But the dreck that passed for debate questions was only half of the awfulness of this debate. The other half was a panel of “moderators” who spent pretty much all of their time treating the candidates with outright contempt and condescension. Well, at least when they weren’t bullying each other for the opportunity to ask the next gotcha question.
To say that this debate was an embarrassment for CNBC is like saying the ten plagues were an inconvenience to the Pharaoh. This was an unmitigated humiliation – although it is unclear whether CNBC will be able to see through its leftist Democrat bias enough to recognize it as such.
The saddest thing of all about all of this, though, is that it was all foreseeable. Who didn’t know that NBC “News” is a shill for the Democrat Party? Frankly, it would have been shocking if this had been a fair and substantive debate.
And with all of that in mind, one important question needs to be asked, and asked loudly: What the hell was Reince Priebus and the RNC thinking when they agreed to allow CNBC to host a Republican debate? How could they not have known that it would be an outright ambush on our candidates and party?
Someone needs to be held responsible and accountable for this travesty, and that reckoning needs to happen immediately. And part of that process must include a review of all of the remaining debates to which the RNC has agreed to ensure that our candidates are never again subjected to this kind of ambush and harassment.
It is time, once and for all, for the RNC to recognize that most of the establishment “news” media are not neutral referees. They are part and parcel of the leftist movement and the Democrat Party. And the RNC has an obligation to our candidates and to Republicans across the country – and everyone else for that matter – to stop treating these “news” outlets as if they are fair and neutral. Each “news” operation has the right to broadcast whatever it wants with whatever ideological bent it desires, but the RNC doesn’t have to play along and give them the credibility of being treated as legitimate political arbiters. When networks like NBC demonstrate on a consistent basis that they are hostile to our party, our party’s leaders have an obligation not to allow them to have a role in our nomination process.
Heads need to roll at the RNC for this abominable exercise of bad judgment, and measures must be taken immediately to ensure that our candidates are never again subjected to such a travesty.
UPDATE: Immediately after the debate, Reince Priebus released the following statement:
“While I was proud of our candidates and the way they handled tonight’s debate, the performance by the CNBC moderators was extremely disappointing and did a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters. Our diverse field of talented and exceptionally qualified candidates did their best to share ideas for how to reinvigorate the economy and put Americans back to work despite deeply unfortunate questioning from CNBC,” said Chairman Priebus.
“One of the great things about our party is that we are able to have a dynamic exchange about which solutions will secure a prosperous future, and I will fight to ensure future debates allow for a more robust exchange. CNBC should be ashamed of how this debate was handled.”
While this fairly tepid response is all well and good, it also smacks of CYA given that it was Priebus himself who agreed to this debate under the guise of the RNC “taking control of the debates.” Priebus and everyone else involved in this fiasco need to be held accountable.