I dreamed last night of the first Republican debate for the 2016 election. It was co-sponsored by Fox News Channel, The Blaze, and the Salem Radio Network, and it was moderated by Megyn Kelly, Buck Sexton, and Hugh Hewitt. It was available not only on those outlets, but all over the Internet. There were questions from the audience in the auditorium and from the moderators.
There were no “raise your hand” questions. No one was asked to choose a favorite food, song, or flower. No one was asked to compare themselves to a tree or an animal. No one was asked to sign a pledge of any kind, and there were no questions posed by animated characters on Youtube.
The questions were limited to questions of actual interest to Republican primary voters. There were no questions about global warming, or any variation thereof. There were no questions about birth control—but there were questions about abortion. There were no questions about how to limit firearms ownership. No pony-tailed liberal demanded to know how the person who wants to be president was going to “feel my pain,” or “what you are going to do for me.” There were no questions from Democrats.
The candidates were asked about the Constitution, and how they intended to follow it. They were asked whether they would use Executive Orders to get their way. They were asked whether there was any reason to preserve the Department of Education (answer: “no.”)
Instead of attacking each other, each candidate used the opening statement to lay out a vision for moving forward in America. Those visions were about maximizing freedom and minimizing government. Each candidate had a positive plan for the economy, a set of specific guidelines for structuring a foreign policy approach, and a few names at hand of people they would like to put in the Cabinet (though all also expressed a willingness to have any of the fine candidates on stage stand with them).
No candidate was asked what the party should “do about” the Tea Party. Instead, Tea Party questioners asked the candidates how they would fulfill their Constitutional duties differently than the unsatisfactory ways the current president was doing. No one asked the candidates how they would do things that only Congress can do, or that are the proper purview of the states. The moderators did not ask the candidates for personal opinions about anything. No one was asked to try to think of something the government should develop a new program for, or to name a government program they think is worth keeping. They were not asked to think up inventive ways to expand the government just the way the Democrats have made it.
After the debate, a poll was taken. Everyone was tied (it didn’t make mathematical sense, but then this was a dream—and, besides, it was a poll).
The focus groups were having trouble deciding who they liked the best, because all the candidates were so persuasive in speaking about the need to return to a conservative government and a Constitutionally-faithful administration. Some even said they had never understood conservatism until they heard it discussed so clearly among such intelligent, committed, passionate people. The network talking heads on FoxNews were excited about the debate and also found it difficult to pick a candidate to favor, because there were so many good ideas. The liberal commentators were glum and repeated the words “George Bush” a lot.
The major networks covered the debate briefly, but they were deeply frustrated in their coverage. It was difficult for them, because they couldn’t find a “gotcha” moment to blow up any of the candidates with. CNN told its viewers there was a debate of the major Republican contenders, did a five-minute package on Democrats, and then moved on to cover a plane crash for most of the rest of the day. But none of that mattered, because the debate was on the Internet, and everyone in America saw it on a Facebook page or a tweet.
MSNBC no longer exists. It was bought by the Hallmark Channel and now the only politics it shows is Frank Capra movies.
I can dream, can’t I?