The Incredible Shrinking Presidential Debate

O’Malley vs. Perry (Sort Of)

By Barry Rascovar

Sept. 19, 2013 — IF CNN’s DREADFUL news show “Crossfire” is this generation’s version of a presidential debate, we’re in trouble. It was hard to know the featured players on Wednesday’s program: the obnoxious hosts or the demure and all too pleasant guests, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Neither governor could compete with the interruptions and rants in the form of attack questions posed by Newt Gingrich from the conservative right and Stephanie Cutter from the far left.

You had to feel sorry for the two guvs.

They wanted to banter about which state was better for business (Texas) or for the middle class (Maryland). Instead, most of the program centered on the ego-centric, “I’m smarter than you are” political obsessions of Gingrich and Cutter.

Who Won?

From what we could glean, O’Malley and Perry are well-versed in statistics supporting their state’s economic strengths and the other state’s weaknesses. But it was impossible to gauge from the blizzard of back-and-forth data which governor had the better argument.

If you’re looking for low taxes and limited government, move your operation to Texas. If you’re interested in highly educated workers and a high level of government services, move your offices to Maryland.

Yet the program failed to tell us much about the presidential timber of O’Malley and Perry.

MD Gov. Martin O'Malley at play

Presidential Timber?

Is Rick Perry presidential?

Presidential Timber?









They came across as cool, competent, experienced governors – which they are — not as candidates for the nation’s highest office.

What Presidential Debate?

Only one question (Obamacare) dealt with a national issue. On that query, we got predictable answers – Perry is dead set against government-mandated health insurance, and O’Malley is adamantly supportive.

Where do they stand on raising the nation’s debt ceiling, the sequester, gun control, immigration, tax reform, Syria, Iran, Russia, NSA communications surveillance, the farm bill, food stamps, infrastructure funding, unemployment and the next Federal Reserve chairman?

On those issues, “Crossfire” misfired.

Whether either O’Malley or Perry has the skill and know-how to run the world’s dominant nation remains a mystery. That will have to wait for another, more serious debate forum. This one was all fluff and politicized posturing by the hosts.

You have to wonder if the guests would have shown up if they had known what was coming.