The third GOP debate over at CNBC, as we all know, was a complete disaster for conservatives. Things were so bad for the Clown Car that, humiliated by debate moderators challenging their inept candidates, the Republican National Committee has announced a suspension of the planned February NBC debate over “gotcha questions.” On Friday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced that they are “suspending the partnership” because CNBC had acted “in bad faith.”
“While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates’ visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of ‘gotcha’ questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates,” Priebus whined. “What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas.”
Indeed, conservatives have been complaining about some of the tough, but fair, questions they were asked at the debate — like when Ben Carson was put in a position where the poor neurosurgeon was forced to lie about his involvement with a company that peddles herbal autism cures, fake Alzheimer’s remedies, and other snake oil, or Ted Cruz’s rather hilarious attempt to avoid answering if his willingness to shut down the government every time the wind blows demonstrates that he isn’t the sort of leader our country needs (Cruz, of course, complained about liberal bias in the media rather than answer the question).
Since the debate, the GOP has railed against CNBC for failing to ask questions they consider “substantive” — In other words, there just wasn’t enough mention of the IRS, Benghazi, the IRS, Benghazi, the Iran deal, Benghazi, Obamacare, Benghazi, ISIS, Benghazi, or other issues conservatives consider important, like Benghazi. But not to worry — Ted Cruz has a solution to the problem! According to Cruz, the GOP needs to say goodbye to these “left-wing operatives” at CNBC and have “real journalists” like Rush Limbaugh moderate. On Saturday, Cruz said that debates should be moderated by people who have voted in the Republican primary at least once in their lives, because it is imperative that the echo chamber remain intact.
“What you wouldn’t have is a bunch of left-wing operatives whose object is that whoever the Republican nominee is, they want him as battered and bruised as possible so the Democrat wins in November,” Cruz explained at a Iowa GOP’s Growth and Opportunity Party event in Des Moines. “Instead you’d have moderators that were trying to help conservatives make a decision who’s going to be the best and strongest conservative to represent us and win, who is the proven conservative, the consistent conservative.”
In other words, Cruz’s ideal vision is a debate in which questions like “Which of your fellow candidates loves Jesus the most, and why?” and “How many ‘illegals’ would you pack into each bus as we ship them all to Mexico” would be the norm, and no one would have to worry about explaining their willingness to default on our debt to deprive people of their civil rights or their relationship to shady companies. To Cruz, a debate should be a platform for conservatives to lie with abandon, unchallenged and uncorrected. Cruz especially took exception that CNBC did not provide him a platform to scream about Obamacare:
“How do you have a debate on the economy and never mention Obamacare? You talk to small-business owners, Obamacare is the single biggest job-killer in this country, and yet the moderators — apparently there are no questions to be asked about Obamacare.”
“Other things that weren’t mentioned at the debate: Common Core, ISIS, Iran,” he added. “But, you know what? We had plenty of time to talk about fantasy football.” The Hill reports that Cruz says a debate should be moderated by conservatives Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. [Author’s Note: “Please? Please, give me just this one thing. Maybe get Palin on board?”]
“You know, how about we stop letting left-wing liberals moderate Republican debates?” he said. “How about instead of a bunch of attack journalists, we actually have real journalists?”
Republicans say that the network asked “loaded” questions aimed at embarrassing candidates, but the real problem seems to be that Republicans are unable to handle even answering simple questions about their policies, ideas and actions. Perhaps if Republicans want “substantive” questions, they should have “substantive” ideas.