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The Republican Candidates Should Have Walked Off the Stage

November 2, 2015

I’m serious. When it became clear that CNBC had no intention of putting on a fair debate that would inform voters, one of the Republicans on the stage should have shown some leadership and walked off the stage. After all, they have each spent months trying to show America that they are leaders. If one had led, I believe the rest would have followed. And CNBC would have had to scramble to fill 90 minutes of dead air time.

This debate has been described by many as a "train wreck." If you were on a train that was about to crash, no none would criticize you for getting off it if you could.

Why did we use a photo of the moderators rather than the candidates? Because the CNBC moderators made the Republican debate this week all about themselves. Instead of doing their jobs and helping US citizens learn more about the candidates, they broke all the rules. They injected their personal (Liberal) politics into the debate; they continually interrupted the debaters; and their “questions” were rude, stupid, condescending, insulting and worse. Their overriding goal seemed to be to increase their personal popularity among their extremely Liberal followers.
It started with the first question. Instead of the candidates each being allowed time for opening remarks – as all the parties, including CNBC, had agreed would be the case – they started with a really dumb question: “What is your greatest weakness?” If I had been on that stage, I would have ignored the question and given my opening statement anyway.
One good thing that came out of this disaster of a debate was that even Liberals have acknowledged the Liberal bias of the mainstream media. Stephen Colbert said, “The CNBC debate managed to thread the needle between confusing and boring.” His monologue trashed the stupidity of the question above and went on to destroy the credibility of the so-called journalists who moderated the debate. (See the LINK to the video below.)
Jimmy Kimmel was likewise underwhelmed. “I didn’t know if I was watching a debate or The View.” Watch his hilarious video with a surprise ending. (LINK below.) CNBC knew they had really blown it when all the Liberal late-night comedians condemned them for their unprofessional and unfair handling of the debate.
Speaking on condition of anonymity to a CNN reporter, CNBC staffers admitted that things couldn’t have gone worse. "Everyone feels pretty embarrassed," one veteran staffer said. "We were shell-shocked," said another.
CNBC is a financial news network whose ratings have been dropping for years. The network (a subsidiary of the notoriously Liberal NBC group) has been desperate for viewers lately, since their ratings fell to an all time low this year. So they have turned to a homosexual hookup app called "Grindr" in their attempts to attract a new audience.
A good night for them is 200,000 viewers nationwide – far less than the number of residents of my town. So you would think they would have stopped at nothing to draw favorable ratings on this debate. After all, they got 14 Million viewers – their largest audience ever. And, at $250,000 per ad, it was their shot at gaining the most sizeable one-night revenue the network has ever seen. But they blew it. And they will never see a Republican debate on their network again.
Since CNBC specializes in finance, the agreement was that the debate would focus on national economics, something Americans care about. In fact, the banner behind the candidates read, "Your Money - Your Vote." But instead of discussing economics, the three moderators spent most of the time with “gotcha” questions, insults and attempts to pit the candidates against one another.
The “questions” posed by moderators John Harwood, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla were arrogant, condescending, biased, trivial, divisive and non-substantive. The moderators were also clearly unprepared. Several times they asked questions without foundation, and had no facts to back up their claims.
I found this comment on a Liberal website. It was typical of what many in both parties have said about this debate: “I'm not a fan of the GOP, but the ‘gotcha’ questions meant to foment on-stage squabbles have to stop. CNBC deserves the criticism it gets.” Both Liberal and Conservative commentators have said things like, “I have never seen a debate so badly run.”
When things got so bad that he had to speak up, Ted Cruz said, “The questions that have been asked here illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage fight. Just 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?’ ‘Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?’ ‘Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?’ How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?”
The moderators actually argued with the debaters, and repeatedly interrupted them, prompting Governor Chris Christie to interject, “John, do you want me to answer, or do you want to answer? Because even in NJ, what you’re doing here would be called rude.” Later when the discussion turned to government regulation of fantasy football, he tried to get the debate back to the issues: “Fantasy football? Wait a minute. We have $19 Trillion in debt. We have people out of work. We have ISIS and Al Qaeda trying to kill us. And you’re asking about fantasy football?”
With no facts to back him up, CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla accused Dr. Ben Carson of having a “10-year relationship” with a nutritional company that had a shady past. Carson set him straight: “I have never had any relationship with that company.” Quintanilla snidely retorted, “Really? Because they have you on their website home page with their logo behind you. What does that say about your judgment and vetting?” Carson: “It says nothing about me. It says a lot about their ethics in using my photo without my permission.” It was during this exchange that the moderator received the loudest booing of the evening.
A little debate background. The Democrats have scheduled 7 debates – all on the most Liberal networks whose moderators will only throw softball questions their way. They would rather slit their wrists than allow FOX to host one of their debates. By contrast, the Republicans decided to let all of America see who they are, and have scheduled 11 debates on both Liberal and Conservative networks.
Perhaps the Republicans should learn something from the Democrats in this regard.
If you were going to be involved in a court case, would you deliberately choose a judge who hated you passionately? That’s what the Republicans did when they agreed to do their second debate on the Communist News Network (CNN). CNN announced ahead of time that its goal would be to get the Republicans to fight amongst each other. And they did a good job of doing just that. As a result we learned very little about the policies of the candidates, and more than we wanted to know about how good they were at street fighting. CNN wanted to make the Republicans look bad and they succeeded.
So why, after the CNN experience, did the Republicans go ahead with the CNBC debate? Better yet, why did they schedule the debate on a third-rate Liberal network in the first place? Because Republicans are too nice.
On the only Democrat debate so far, the CNN moderators fell over one another trying to make the debaters look good. Instead of trying to get the debaters to fight with one another as they had done with the Republicans, they worked to create a Kumbaya atmosphere to show that the Democrats were collegial and united under a Progressive banner. As Ted Cruz said, “Every fawning question from the media was about, ‘Which of you is the most handsome and wise?’”
The day after the debate the Republican candidates decided to meet to discuss how future debates would be handled – and who would host them. Predictably, Reince Priebus, the Chairman of the RNC (Republican National Committee) was not invited to this meeting. This is because most of the candidates blame him for (1) Poor judgment in choosing the debate hosts; and (2) Failure to negotiate rules that would insure substantive debates that would actually inform the public.
In an effort to regain relevancy, Priebus announced that the ninth Republican debate, scheduled to be hosted by NBC (the parent company of CNBC) would be suspended. The news media have been reporting that he cancelled the debate. But if you read his announcement carefully, he leaves the door open for the debate to go on by using the word "suspended." It’s not scheduled until next February, so he has plenty of time to negotiate. But negotiating with Liberals is like negotiating with Communists – you can’t trust a thing they say.
I think the candidates were right to exclude the RNC from their pow-wow. There is nothing that obligates them to allow the establishment Republicans to arrange the debates and set the rules. In fact, since the two leading candidates are non-establishment Republicans, they have a lot to lose, since the RNC is motivated to engineer the debates so that their chosen candidate shines.
The candidates hold all the cards. If they don’t like the way the debates are arranged, they can simply refuse to participate. It would be kind of hard to hold a debate if the debaters don’t show up. In this way, they could, as a group, negotiate a more fair debate system.
One of the highlights of the CNBC debate was when Donald Trump told how he renegotiated the length of the debate. The CNN debate had been a grueling affair which required the candidate to stand for three hours while being baited by Liberal moderators, and the CNBC people had decided to adopt that model. Trump said. "In about two minutes I renegotiated it down to two hours so we can get the heck out of here." Reportedly both he and Ben Carson threatened to boycott the debate unless the time was reduced to two hours.
Four things should make it clear to the Republican candidates that they don’t have to put up with the garbage the Liberal host networks (and their own national committee) have decided will be the norm for the next eight debates:
1) Carson and Trump’s success in forcing CNBC to back down on the length of the latest debate.
2) The positive reaction of the audience when several of the candidates called the moderators on their rudeness, questions based on lies, and their general unprofessionalism.
3) The almost universal, bi-partisan condemnation of CNBC for the moderators’ blatant Liberal bias.
4) The fact that (for the first time in my memory) the audience actually BOOED the moderators.
During the CNBC debacle Senator Marco Rubio summed up the way the Liberal networks run debates. “The Democrats have the ultimate Super-Pac – it’s called the mainstream media.” He went on to say. “My campaign is going to be about the future of America. It’s not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage.” True to his word, Rubio concentrated his attacks on Hillary rather than on his colleagues.
Hopefully after this experience the Republican candidates will do three things…
First, take control of the process. As I said earlier, they hold all the cards. They should start playing them. They should exclude all Liberal moderators. The Democrats won't allow Republican moderators on their debates. Why should we allow them to insert moderators in ours whose sole goal is to embarrass or demean our candidates?
Second, stop fighting among themselves. It is ridiculous for them to be tearing one another up. At some point we will have one candidate, and all the rest will have to work together to save the nation from another eight years of Socialism.
Three, start attacking the real enemy. Socialism has been gradually taking over America since FDR was elected. The last seven years have accelerated this decline, and have shown us what our enemy can do to tear down the greatest nation on earth. The probable Democrat candidate, Clinton, will give us four more years of Obama. She said herself, when asked what differentiates her from Obama, “Well, I’m a woman.”
Here’s a question: “If you push a male Socialist and a female Socialist off the Empire State Building at the same time, which one will hit the ground first?” Answer: “What difference does it make?”
Jimmy Kimmel VIDEO:
Stephen Colbert VIDEO:
Video of the Full Republican Debate
CNBC Moderators Get Bipartisan Criticism for Debate Performance
“Shell-Shocked” CNBC Staffers Had a Long Ride Home
How the CNBC GOP Debate Became More about the Moderators and the Media
Republican National Committee Boots NBC News from February 26 GOP Debate
Republican Debate Schedule
Democrat Debate Schedule

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Copyright ©2015

Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

He has written thousands of articles that have been republished in national newspapers and on hundreds of websites, and is a frequent guest on radio and television shows. His weekly Conservative Truth article (which is read by 250,000) offers a unique viewpoint on social, moral and political issues from a Biblical worldview. This has resulted in invitations to speak internationally at churches, conferences, Money Shows, universities, and on TV (including the 700 Club).

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