Thursday, September 17, 2015

Conclusions from last night's debate

1.  It was an excruciating four hours of watching 4 and 11 people bash my people and the policies I support -- without a single voice to counter the distortions and lies.   More than once I wanted to turn it off in disgust -- or throw a shoe at the tv set.

2.  There was no one star, and no one bombed.   Several probably helped themselves with those already favoring them:   Rubio, Fiorino, Bush, Cruz, Paul.   Trump was probably the one who lost a bit because his lack of knowledge showed more.   Kasich, Carson, Huckabee, Christie, and Walker probably held what they had, although Walker certainly failed to stand out as he badly needed to do.    I doubt the order of polling will change much based on this debate, although expect Trump to decline a bit and Fiorino and Rubio may move up a notch, and Walker even further down -- and maybe out soon.

3.   In my opinion, the loser was Jake Tapper, the moderator, and his advisers who chose the questions and format.  About 90% followed this pattern:   "Candidate A, Candidate B said this about you (or, alternately, made this claim about X).  Tell him why he is wrong."   In other words, the whole question format was 'let's you and him fight.'   The format naturally turned it to ad hominem attacks far more than policy discussions -- such that other candidates eventually complained about the lack of substance in the format.   Only near the end, when some debaters stopped playing the game (notably Fiorino) and pivoted to real policy discussions, did it get interesting.

4.  Overall, it had only rare glimpses of substance that couldn't simply be dismissed as partisan distortions or errors of fact.   That, in my opinion, is the fault of the moderator and producers.   CNN grade:   C minus.    It galls me to admit it, but the Fox News team did a better job by far in the first debate.


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