January 24, 2012

Tonight’s GOP debate hosted by NBCPolitics.com was, in a long list of poorly-conceived and moderated debates, the worst of them all. Brian Williams ought to be ashamed of himself for committing the one cardinal offense you can make in the television/entertainment industry: being boring. Let me ask you something: how on God’s green earth can you moderate a GOP presidential debate without asking any questions – not one – about the current Commander-in-Chief? Nothing about the federal debt. Nothing about the “Fast and Furious” scandal and a senior Department of Justice official announcing on Friday he was taking the 5th at the next Congressional hearing. Nothing about the President’s State of the Union address tomorrow evening. Nothing about the Keystone pipeline decision.

What did we get instead? Questions about sugar subsidies (!), the Terri Schiavo controversy of a few years back, a bizarre question about what if China and Cuba switched places – bizarre questions that offered no sense of the issues facing this country or how the candidates might differ from Barack Obama. It was boring, unsubstantial, and a waste of time. Everyone knows Brian Williams is an avowed leftist and his network the #1 Barack Obama ass-kisser, but if you want to host a GOP debate to begin with, shouldn’t you at least give what little journalism chops you might have left have some self-respect?

Conservative commentator David Limbaugh, I think, summed up the night’s proceedings best when he tweeted at the debate’s close: “No one won the debate because there wasn’t a debate. To say someone did win is to accept the false premise that there was one.” Indeed. Shame on Brian Williams, shame on NBC, and, most of all, shame on the GOP candidates for allowing such a snoozefest to take place.

Given all of the above, there were winners and losers to tonight’s debate:

1. Mitt Romney. If Romney ends up winning the GOP nomination and beating Barack Obama in the general election, he’ll have one person to thank – Newt Gingrich. Gingrich’s ascension in the polls, culminating in Romney’s crushing defeat in South Carolina, was the best thing that could have happened to him. While he missed some obvious chances to blast Brian Williams for his inane questions, he nevertheless was sharp, to the point, and pointed in his criticism of Gingrich when he had his chance at the opening of the debate. Was the first candidate to mention our nation’s debt crisis. Took my advice and wiped that stupid grin off his face, replacing it with a slighter smirk, and was forceful in his defense of his own private sector success. His last answer about the seven things he’s do to get the economy moving were crisp and to the point. The bad news is that few, if any, actually watched this debate, the good news is that the commentary on his performance will likely stop his campaign’s bleeding and even turn it back around a bit.

2. Ron Paul. Not a winner, not a loser. He was just there. Typical answers to typical questions. He’s not even campaigning in Florida, and seems to have hit his ceiling in terms of support, so tonight he was just taking up space.

3. Newt Gingrich. Had numerous opportunities to question the inanity of some of Williams’ questions but for whatever reason chose to do not. Romney hammered him hard at the outset about being a Washington insider, lobbyist, and influence peddler, and that seemed to knock Newt off his stride. While he had some decent answers to questions as the “debate” went on, his performance and persona seemed subdued throughout, making him to appear like just another old and tired career politician. Wouldn’t be surprised if today’s polls out of Florida following his SC win are his campaign’s high-water mark.

4. Rick Santorum. Had the most to gain tonight by being forceful and attacking the almost-embarassingly liberal slant of Williams’ questions but instead just repeated the same old positions in the same old way. I’ve come to realize his strengths are as a legislator proposing legislation and debating the same by opponents. He simply can’t let go of policy and talk to people’s concerns and pocketbooks. Time to say goodnight, Rick.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:52 | Comments (0)
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