Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Republican Princesses and the CNBC Pea

Image result for Hillary at benghazi hearing                          Image for the news result

Seriously? Hillary was on the hot seat for almost 11 hours with a majority of hostile interrogators who accused her of ethical lapses and outright criminality, of poor judgment and of being too cold and callous to give a damn about the deaths of her people yet she managed to take it in stride and maintain her equanimity.

But the Republicans were positively crushed because those terrible questioners from CNBC were so mean to them! They asked them hard questions that they didn't want to answer. The R's remind me of the Princess and the Pea. They are so sensitive, they get bruised even if the pea is under ten mattresses. And they only had to face less than 10 minutes a piece compared to Hillary's ten hours but they whined and wailed during a two hour debate (because 3 hours was just too long dontcha know), then continued into the next day and beyond.

These are the people who are trying to assure us they'll be able to stand up to Vladimir Putin and ISIS when they can't even stand up to John Harwood!

They are even furious at their own leadership because Reince Priebus, Republican Party Chairman, allowed this travesty to happen and put his sensitive candidates in a position to have their feelings hurt so badly. So they ditched him and all the campaigns are meeting to figure out how to take charge of their own darn debates. Fair debates, debates that will make them feel good about themselves. Ted Cruz thought having Mark Levine, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would be a great idea. I think they should throw Ted Nugent in there too, just for the entertainment value since that what such a gathering would be - a comedy show rather than a serious debate.

In truth, CNBC did do a pretty lousy job. They often lost control while the candidates talked all over the questioners and one another. And I don't like those gotcha questions either but trying to get candidates to attack one another has been par for the course in all the debates so far. A good debater handles them gracefully as Mike Huckabee did the one about whether he thought Donald Trump had the moral authority to be president. Even bad debate questions can be an opportunity for skillful debaters.

Reince Preibus is acting as if he's still in charge. He's like a puppy desperately whimpering and wagging his tail, hoping the candidates will let him join the party again. In an effort to show how much he agrees with them, he announced that NBC is out. The debate scheduled to be moderated by NBC in February is canceled or it will be given to someone else....or something.

Meantime, we don't know what the future holds for Republican debates. Will Trump donate a hotel ballroom? Will they cull their own moderators from right-wing talk radio, as Cruz suggested? Will they forego moderators altogether and just have a free-for-all? It will be fun to find out what they come up with.

And while all this was going on, the various fact-checkers were fact-checking the claims made by the Republican candidates and it isn't looking good for them. Turns out, practically everything Carly Fiorina said was untrue. Donald Trump was flat-out lying when he accused Becky Quick of being wrong when she said he called Marco Rubio Mark Zuckerberg's "personal senator". It was right there on his very own website. Even the National Review, a conservative magazine, said Ben Carson was dishonest about his ties to Mannatech, a health nostrum company. George Pataki said Hillary Clinton's personal server had been hacked. Not so. Ted Cruz was wrong about both loss of manufacturing jobs and women's wages under Obama. None of their tax plans are very good for the lower and middle class, reserving most of the gains for the rich, in typical Republican fashion. This was despite their seeming to have suddenly discovered income inequality.

So, really, it's too bad the Republicans were able to transfer so much of the attention to the flap about CNBC (and the "liberal" media, in general) instead of their own flaws.