This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, October 30, 2015:
When Charles Krauthammer appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show immediately following the Republican debate in Boulder, Colorado, Wednesday night, he could scarcely contain himself. He called the performance by CNBC’s “moderators” of the debate “the most appalling performance … that I can remember seeing in a debate … they were, in the end, obnoxious.”
Each of them – John Harwood, Becky Quick, and Carl Quintanilla – are, said Krauthammer, “flaming liberals,” showing their “lack of self-restraint, their arrogance, interrupting and … disorganized.”
One of the unintended consequences of their dismal performance, however, was giving several candidates a chance to relieve themselves of their own disgust over the moderators’ performance, to the delight of the partisan crowd. As Krauthammer told O’Reilly: “What they did was they were able to set themselves up as a foil for the Republicans … it actually strengthened the field and made them look better.”
Harwood’s first question of Donald Trump set the stage for the evening’s romp, and it was downhill from there:
Mr. Trump, you’ve done very well in this campaign so far by promising to build a wall and make another country pay for it, send 11 million people out of the country, cut taxes by $10 trillion without increasing the deficit, and make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others.
Let’s be honest: is this a comic-book version of a presidential campaign?
After listening to Trump’s answer, Harwood added fuel to the fire:
I have talked to economic advisors who have served presidents of both parties. They said that you have as much chance of cutting taxes that much without increasing the deficit as you would have flying away from that podium by flapping your wings.
Ted Cruz listened to some of the other inane and insultingly condescending questions of some of the other candidates, and finally had enough. When he was asked an irrelevant question, Cruz took off:
The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.
This is not a cage match.
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 over there? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?
How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?
Not only did this delight the partisans attending the debate but social media set new records as well. According to pollster Frank Luntz afterwards, “Ted Cruz’s focus group dials [hit] 98 with his attack on media bias. That’s the highest score we’ve ever measured. EVER.”
There were other highlights as well. When Jeb Bush, trying to harden his “nice-guy” image, attacked Marco Rubio, it backfired, once again to the delight of those tired of another Bush running for president:
I’m a constituent of the senator, and I helped him, and I expected that he would do constituent service, which means that he shows up to work.
He got endorsed by [Florida’s] Sun-Sentinel because he was the most talented guy in the field. He’s a gifted politician.
But Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work [in the Senate]. I mean, literally, the Senate … what is it, like a French work week? You get like three days where you have to show up?
Let someone else take the job. There are a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck in Florida. They’re looking for a senator who will fight for them each and every day.
This was too much for Rubio, who saw his opportunity, and took it:
No, Jeb…. Let me tell you, I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s voting record [when he was running for office].
The only reason you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.
Then Rubio followed up with a concise statement of his political platform that quieted Bush for most of the rest of the night:
Here’s the bottom line…. My campaign is going to be about the future of America. It’s not going to be about attacking someone else on this stage.
I will continue to have tremendous admiration and respect for Gov. Bush. I’m not running against Gov. Bush. I’m not running against anyone on this stage. I’m running for president because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies of Barack Obama!
Then Rubio turned to the moderators, calling them, and the mainstream media they represent, Hillary Clinton’s “ultimate super PAC,” once again to the delight of the audience.
So Rubio and Cruz had a good night, while CNBC didn’t.
Their performances showed up in the Drudge Poll taken following the event. Trump remained in the lead, at 55 percent. Rubio hit double digits, at 10 percent, while Cruz rocketed to 21 percent.
Newsmax.com: Rubio, Cruz Take on Liberal Media at Debate
Washington Times: Candidates sharpen attacks, blast media in third Republican debate
Wall Street Journal: Noisy GOP Debate Leaves Republican Race Unsettled
CNN.com: 2016 Republicans vs. the media