By Barry Rascovar
October 29, 2015 – Yikes! This is how Republicans are going to pick a presidential nominee?
The Reality TV Circus – also known as the GOP presidential debates – continued in Colorado Wednesday night and it was rip-roaring fun to watch.
Not that we learned very much about the candidates’ abilities to lead the nation. Heck, no one got to speak for more than 10 minutes during the two-hour performance.
Even then, what we heard were wise-cracking broadsides, accusations against other contenders, shouting matches, sweeping promises of revolutionary change (with no detail) and denunciations of the media.
The youthful, Republican audience loved it. They’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. The candidates played to the audience’s prejudices.
What a bizarre scene. Imagine what viewers in other parts of the world thought.
Give Ohio Gov. John Kasich credit for beginning this comedic romp through Politics, GOP-style by angrily shouting that what other candidates were offering America is “just fantasy, folks. We’ve got to wake up.”
Some of the gibberish espoused by Ben Carson & Co. is “a joke” and “empty promises,” Kasich said. He clearly believes experience in government actually counts, that rank amateurs cannot simply walk into the White House and magically turn everything around.
Those trying to talk common sense were drowned out or given little or no time for detailed explanations. If you’re not a loud, angry and skilled 30-second debater, you don’t stand a chance in this venue. Jeb Bush, an accomplished Florida governor, is the prime example.
The night belonged to the slick and quick-witted. Ted Cruz, a champion college debater and darling of the tea party, shined. Marco Rubio had rehearsed his lines extremely well and delivered them in machine-gun rapidity. Chris Christie, when he could get a word in, showed he will tell it like it is.
Was any of this presidential? Not by a long shot.
That includes the terribly inept work of the CNBC questioners, who had been primed to stir controversies and high ratings, but instead ended up as targets of hostile responses from the candidates.
Beating up on the press proved popular Wednesday night, so many of the candidates chimed in, drawing loud cheers from the audience.
At times it felt more like a televised, staged wrestling match than a presidential debate.
Serious voters in early primary states must be perplexed.
They’re being asked to vote for a man who wants Mexico to pay to build a 2,000-mile wall on the U.S. border (fat chance), another who wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service (do we pay our taxes on the honor system?), another who wants a flat income tax rate that leaves a trillion-dollar deficit, another who wants to eliminate practically the entire federal government, etc., etc.
No Time for Explanations
When are we going to give candidates the time to set forth concrete, detailed explanations of their domestic and foreign policies?
Or are Republicans supposed to vote on the basis of who gives the best one-liners, who comes up with the most outrageously appealing schemes or who can get the loudest audience cheers?
The media insists on turning this presidential campaign into a televised horse race filled with colorful and captivating moments sure to draw high ratings. They don’t want a discussion of issues. That’s too dull. It’s not entertaining.
When it comes time to vote next year, though, that’s not good enough.
American voters need to hear informed, intelligent discussions from the candidates, not insults and shouting matches.
Otherwise, the Republican Party could be heading toward an epic train wreck. That’s not good for democracy, the country and especially for those who care about the GOP.