The recent Republican debate conducted by CNBC turned into a battle between the candidates and the biased moderators. The candidates won handily, in more ways than one.
It was established from the beginning, after Ted Cruz forcefully chastised moderators for bias, that the candidates were not going to succumb to gotcha questions or start foolish squabbling among themselves. There seemed to be a concerted effort on their part to keep the debate about issues and differences between the parties, particularly, differences with Hillary.
The moderators, on the other hand, had an agenda to embarrass the candidates, start arguments between them, and try to trip them up. Some questions were pertinent but many were hostile towards the candidates, displaying a disdain for Republicans that permeates CNBC.
After hearing much liberal media babble (wishful thinking?) about the GOP falling apart with infighting, lack of alternative solutions, and poor qualifications, the candidates displayed a unity not seen in prior debates. Serious problems facing the nation were defined and though plans presented to address those problems were different in details, they were cut from the same cloth: Government is too big, spending is out-of-control, taxes are too high, and the middle class needs a break – not more government interference.
Perhaps it was only having a common enemy, the CNBC moderators, that forced the candidates to circle the wagons, but they seemed to do just that. When Huckabee was baited with a question meant to urge him to attack Trump, he put on a show of solidarity by complimenting him instead. Chris Christie jumped onto the bandwagon by taking the moderators to task over a foolish question about fantasy football. Even Ben Carson got in a few licks that elicited applause from an audience aware of the bias.
It is often difficult to establish who really won a debate but the GOP clearly won this one. CNBC may have had good ratings for airing this debate, but it proved why its otherwise dismal ratings are warranted. Perhaps other networks will learn from this and allow a debate to be about the candidates. That would make us all winners.
David J. Hentosh