Can the leadership at the Republican National Committee really be that dumb? Did they really expect that a debate moderated by a faction of NBC was going to provide a meaningful showcase of the Republican presidential candidates? They had to have known that the amateurish CNBC moderators would do everything they could to reduce the debate to little more than syllabic mud wrestling.
I don’t believe the RNC is that dumb, but I do believe they are completely out of touch with those of us that in theory comprise their constituency. Clearly, the RNC is doing their best to “spread the wealth” to their cronies in the elite media. Why else would the debates be held at a variety of media outlets the majority of which hate Republicans?
If the RNC really wanted to promote conservative candidates and ideas, why would you turn it over to a liberal media outlet and just back away? What the RNC should do is actually take ownership of the debates. They should pick the venue, establish the format, choose the moderators that would best showcase the varying ideas of the candidates, and then ask for bids from the various networks for broadcasting the event. Why are we always rolling over and showing our bellies to the liberal media establishment?
I had to laugh at the feigned indignation that Reince Priebus, the head of the RNC, expressed after the debate. He tweeted that CNBC should be ashamed of how the debate was handled. What a joke! I believe he was perfectly happy with the way the debate was going until Ted Cruz channeled his inner Newt Gingrich and blasted what was being perpetrated by the liberal palace guard. After Cruz’ bold challenge, the rest of the field then had permission to join in the attack. Clearly, Cruz owned the night. Priebus then had no choice but to join the criticism and distance himself from CNBC.
However, until the Cruz bolt of lightning, I believe the RNC was happy with what it was getting. The nonsense and attacks by the moderators prevent a substantive discussion of the conservative principles which establishment Republicans left far behind years ago. The last thing they want is a large audience to hear the truth about smaller government, balanced budgets, and local control of schools. So when the squids on the panel start spewing ink into the forum and obfuscating any substantive debate, the RNC is getting what they want.
While I don’t believe the RNC is dumb, I really do have my doubts about Jeb Bush. How many times has he tried to attack another candidate and end up wiping the pie off his face? His lame attack on Marco Rubio’s voting record in the Senate during the debate is just the latest example. Jeb clearly telegraphed the attack and the smart, articulate Rubio was ready. (Actually to me, a member of Congress leaving Washington and missing votes is a good thing. Maybe we can get them all to run for president and stop them from passing so many damn bills.)
There’s no doubt though that Jeb’s campaign is finished. (I do hear though that he’s up for the role of Herman in the Broadway revival of The Munsters.)
So with Jeb out, who do the establishment Republicans get behind? Probably Rubio. John Kasich, another party favorite, comes off hostile and confused. Nobody under fifty will vote for him.
The other establishment favorite, Chris Christie, had a surprisingly good night. I still remember though how he slobbered all over Obama during the Hurricane Sandy disaster right before the 2012 election. I’m sure many other voters do, too. I believe he has an inner statist just waiting to pop out.
So that leaves the establishment with Rubio. While Rubio talks a good conservative game, he has certainly shown the ability to be co-opted by the establishment with his involvement in the Gang of Eight amnesty fiasco. He is an impressive candidate though and a young, dynamic guy debating any of the fossils the Dems will nominate would be great entertainment. I had hoped to see that with Paul Ryan and Joe Biden four years ago, but wow did Ryan let us down. (We really want him as Speaker?)
We are really then down to Rubio, Trump, Carson, Fiorina, and Cruz as viable candidates. The party establishment hates non-politician outsiders and Cruz is the anti-Christ to the RNC. Therefore, Rubio has to be the man.
So the establishment’s choice for president is headed to the door and their debate strategy is shot. There’s not a lot of joy at the RNC now but for conservatives hoping for change, it’s been a pretty good week.