The Debates - Reality TV


It is hard to know where to begin when talking about the Republican debates.

I guess a good place to begin is acknowledging these “events” are not really debates. I think they are little more than unscripted episodes of reality TV.

Last night was more of the same, only in a larger and LOUDER dose - a non-informative cage match. We have seen and heard all the charges, claims and resulting insults before beginning with “debate” number 1.

I finally got bored after an hour and began reading a book on fly fishing. Really.

This morning I have been treated - not - to film clips of the most notorious/loud exchanges of claims and insults and the mouthpieces/talking heads representing each candidate claim their guy had a great night and won.

It is my understanding that next week there is to be yet another cage match. That’s right, we now have this crap weekly - I guess these cage matches are so entertaining the various networks are scrambling to make them part of regularly scheduled TV.

IMHO - this sh*t is embarrassing. But, I guess the quality of the race matches the quality of those people whose votes the candidates seek. We are watching these weekly wrestling matches taking on the form of the lowest common denominator - the sharp, insulting, street fighting elbows of Donald Trump.

In the final analysis, I think it won’t matter much - it will almost certainly be Trump versus a Democrat to be determined in November. The voters have justifiably decided they have for years been getting screwed/ignored and they have understandably decided it is going to take lobbing a grenade into the pit of power to change that - the grenade being Donald Trump.

For me, November can’t get here soon enough.


In my opinion if it takes a grenade then so be it. The GOP has to learn that we aren’t going to take it anymore. I don’t watch the debates because of the reasons you listed. I did like sean hannity’s interview with trump though.


Yep, I watched it too.

Bottom line: blame Donald. He came out angry, bombastic, grabbed attention and the media (especially CNN) ate it up and promoted him, he is now the run away leader based on this approach. What other options do Rubio and Cruz have? Should they present their policies and ideas as Carson and Kasich are doing while they remain in the dweller?

The answer everyone will give is “we are mad that is why we are voting for Donald”. He has stated basically everything possible, almost daring people to NOT vote for him. He said he could shoot someone in the street and still have his supporters vote for him, he has offended everyone possible and is doing better in the polls than anyone. He is not a conservative and he is winning. He has played this as a game show and he is winning. He turned a presidential campaign into a gameshow, turned this into a contest he could win. He wants to win…for himself.

Kasich wants to stay in for the hope of being a VP, Carson is staying in the race due to him feeling beholding to his supporters, Rubio and Cruz are the only two who have a chance of beating Trump but neither will concede so that the other can compete 1 vs 1 and turn these debates into substantive discussions.

This con job by Trump was known from day one, I knew as soon as CNN covered him with great fervor. So it is what it is. He probably loses to Clinton and maybe it’s for the better quite frankly. They share the same economic policies and opinions on free trade, so really as long as we aren’t going to have WW3, she is the better alternative.


As a testament to how seriously I take these “debates” anymore, I’m not even embarrassed that I didn’t even know there was a debate on last night.

You’re right, Mike; they’re a sheer embarrassment. Only thing I may disagree w/you on is that I’m not so sure that they ARE unscripted.
However, you’re right about the mood of the voter. I wish Cruz could articulate his message better because, if he could get his message across, voters would realize that he’s offering nearly the exact same as Trump; only maybe even better. Thing is, whether deserved or not, people are seeing him as a Washington insider.


I don’t watch “debates” much…just occasionally and only for a few minutes. I KNOW what each candidate stands for. What they have to say about their opponents is meaningless.


I agree with you. My wife had to remind me it was on TV last night. Even then, I channel surfed a good deal during the broadcast.

While I sometimes did not agree with Cruz’s strategy in the Senate, I thought his style of “finger-in-the-eye” of the Repub congressional leadership coupled with his steadfast adherence to constitutional principles would allow him to prevail over Trump in both the primaries and eventually the Dem candidate in the general election.

I was dead wrong!!

I think he has done an “OK” job of articulating his message. I just don’t think many people are any longer paying attention; all of these candidates are up against the VERY strong “presence” that is Donald Trump - I think Cruz’s campaign was fatally crippled by his own campaign staff and Cruz’s decision to not take immediate corrective action - the Carson fiasco in Iowa and the photo-shopped Rubio picture in So Carolina served for some as an indication he had too much in common with the other professional politicians in DC. I don’t agree with that view, but I think it undeniable the unforced error contributed to his lack of positive movement.

Going forward, I think it utterly impossible to predict the outcome of the general election. Unfortunately, I think this entire Republican fiasco has ensured the White House is once again up for grabs in spite of the fact Democrats are promising to continue along a path of perpetual pain.


The debates, themselves, are meaningless. What they’re supposed to bring to the fore is how each candidate would address a situation they all agree needs addressing.
It’s my guess that college debates are held with more decorum than these frooh-ha-ha’s.

People have been suggesting for some time that the RNC - or maybe even the candidates, themselves - hire Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, or a host of other conservative talk-show hosts to host a debate. One person I wouldn’t mind seeing on the panel would be Laura Ingraham.
It’s most likely too late now, but the chances of them holding a formal debate not purposely scripted to turn it into a fiasco were pretty good.

On the one hand, I can see the candidates’ need to be there. OTOH, I want to scream at them to quit falling for it: Lucy is NOT going to quit yanking the football!


I don’t know about that in the modern college environment…


Not sure what you think of as “The Carson Fiasco”, Doc. While it was portrayed as a “dirty trick” by Carson, Trump AND the media, it was NO SUCH THING. CNN reported that Carson had said he was going back to Florida–before the Iowa results were even announced–and a Cruz aid (properly, in my opinion) thought that meant that Carson was on the verge of dropping out, so encouraged their workers to encourage Carson voters to switch to Cruz. The only thing that was a “fiasco” about it, was how it WAS portrayed as a “dirty trick” by Cruz’s opponents–including the media. As far as the Rubio thing is concerned, Cruz DID take immediate and decisive action and fired the guy responsible for it.


I’m not going to once again prosecute the facts of what took place in Iowa. If you want to think Cruz’s campaign exercised good judgment in Iowa, then so be it.

The important point concerns public PERCEPTION. FACT - many folks PERCEIVE the Cruz campaign pulled dirty tricks. It is no coincidence that his campaign has been slowed, if not destroyed, by this perception that was begun in Iowa and reinforced with the photo-shopped image of Rubio that the Cruz campaign has admitted to producing and distributing.

IMO - whether this perception is justified or not is unimportant at this point in the race. If people believe he practiced dirty tricks, it is real in its consequences. One consequence is that it appears clear a significant number of people have withdrawn their support of Cruz.


It changed my perception, but not in the way some may think.

Whether purposeful ‘dirty tricks’ or not, whether handled properly or not, is almost beside the point. From where I sit, it made the whole Cruz campaign appear terribly disorganized, and very sloppy.
So, if Cruz can’t even control his own campaign…??? It left me w/the impression that maybe, just maybe, he’s in over his head.


But it’s NOT a “point” that any clear-thinking person would form their opinion about Cruz around, Doc. And that’s the point that I’M making. The truth of what happened MATTERS. People’s perceptions are important, but no one knowing the TRUTH considers what the Cruz campaign did a “dirty trick.” Some folks HERE thought Cruz was wrong not to immediately fire the aides responsible in Iowa–but I never did because I knew the TRUTH about what had happened. You don’t fire someone because of someone else’s “perception”. You fire them for wrong-doing…which Cruz DID in S. Carolina.




Cruz isn’t good at handling the media - he never was. Though I can recognize that this lack of skill can cost him the nomination, I wouldn’t fail to vote for him over it. Clinton isn’t exactly a media wizard herself.


2 Facts not in dispute:

1st - Dana Bash’s (CNN) comment that Carson was returning home and not going on to the next state was in NO WAY a clear statement of Carson’s intention to drop out.

2nd - Based on that unclear statement, Cruz campaign staff contacted his precinct leaders and had them inform caucus goers Carson was leaving the race.

Apparently, it dawned on none of his staff that if that information they distributed, information based on a very nebulous comment by Bash, was not correct Cruz’s campaign could be harmed. Apparently none of his people thought it odd Carson would travel the nation for 18 months, seek and spend millions in contributions and at the very last minute drop out, leaving his volunteers standing around playing pocket pool.

Sure enough, the conclusion drawn by Cruz staff was not correct and the situation blew up when Carson understandably cried foul and the news media quite logically picked up the story.

I find it stunning that anyone would not conclude the Cruz campaign exercised extremely poor judgment, at the very least.

At that point Cruz could have salvaged the moment/minimized harm to his campaign and looked strong by firing the individual responsible. He chose not to do so. He apparently failed to see the potential harm this mistake posed to his campaign. It was an error in judgment by Cruz - so when the photo-shop picture of Rubio was distributed the perception by many voters of dirty tricks further solidified - a condition he has not and likely cannot overcome.

A leader has to surround himself with competent people, has to be in control and has to set the correct tone for his organization/staff.

In spite of my lessened level of enthusiasm for him, I understand people, including Cruz, are not perfect - we all make mistakes. That said, I voted for Cruz during the early voting period in Texas. I still think he offers the most sound/predictable constitutional alternative in the race for the nomination.


I’m not of a solid opinion on the issue of Cruz’s honesty or competence. But whatever the case is, I would in any event rather have a President who’s in over his head and has America’s best interests at heart than someone who is competently nefarious.



What “Donald Trump tells us with his hands” is he gives us all the middle finger…period.


I tuned in once to the CNBC Republican debate. Maybe it was that particular network, but they were just horrible. Questions not about policy, but things about fantasy football and whether or not Trump is a comic book villain.

The only person I’ve seen this election cycle host an actual debate was Anderson Cooper on CNN. PBS was horrible, CNBC was horrible, and Fox was horrible.


Anderson Cooper is a jack*ss and his questions were tinged with sarcasm.
Now with this last debate, one thing that came to the fore was the real Donald Trump, petty, bitter, insulting and not all that smart. He has no solid responses to rebuttals and resorts to character assassinations. When He first burst on the scene a couple of years ago I did think he was a breath of fresh air, but the air has turned stale—no rancid. I am tired of his theatrics, and bombastic approach. Frankly I am not too crazy about Rubio, but it took Rubio to overtly show the Trump character. I sincerely do not believe Trump will do anything that he says he will. Donald Trump is so much like Hillary, the people are a means to an end and that end is power. That is all those two want.