GOP Debate an Exercise in Somnolence

Rick Moran
A bottle of No-Doze wasn't required but would have come in handy.

The Republican debate in Des Moines yesterday was test not of the intelligence of the candidates but of their stamina in being able to stay awake given the
format and moderator:

Appalling. Extraordinarily frustrating. Alternately an uncontrolled circus and a banal snore-fest. Some of the questions were extraordinarily stupid – “is it more important to have a nominee that is socially conservative or fiscally conservative? What New Year’s resolution would you recommend for one of your rivals?” And what was with the video snippets of each candidate? What, each guy is going to get too much time with nine guys on stage?

This was a disastrous format, with insane time limits on candidates, all mismanaged by a brusque, snippy moderator who seemed to think Iowans did not want the candidates to finish their sentences. She seemed to want to ignore Alan Keyes, and when he was skipped over, he piped up and complained, and she allowed him to go on at length after that. It would have been better to not invite him. Because the Des Moines Register included Keyes, and is not including Kucinich (on a technicality) nor Gravel on the Democratic side, I have to conclude that this was a bad faith effort to make the Republican candidates look bad.
Geraghty thinks Thompson won the debate thanks to his now famous refusal to play stupid games designed by the school marm-moderator Carolyn Washburn, editor of the Des Moines Register.

You knew something was wrong with this debate when, right off the bat, Washburn announced that Iraq and immigration were not going to be discussed. In other words, the most important issue of the campaign (Iraq) and the biggest plus issue for Republicans (immigration) were sidelined by this obviously partisan hack of a moderator.

One wonders; will they take health care and the economy off the table at the Democratic debate today?

Washburn supposedly prepped for her role in this debate for almost a year reading candidate's books, position papers, and sitting down with them for extended interviews. And then to have the format so constrictive along with inane videos of what the candidates have said about an issue in the past only added to the somnolent nature of the event.

Most analysts actually gave the debate to Romney and why not? It was a "talking points" debate and Romney is most at ease in that kind of format. And since there was no interaction between the candidates, Huckabee got off scott free with nary a glove laid on him despite a week of revelations regarding many stupid things he's said and done over the years. Guiliani and McCain barely registered while Thompson shined - easily his best public performance to date.

And then there was the curious inclusion of the most unserious of all candidates Alan Keyes. The fact that the Register invited him makes one suspect they really did have it in for Republicans.

All in all, a disappointing day for all. And I have a feeling that candidates will think twice in the future about taking part in a debate sponsored by the Des Moines Register.
A bottle of No-Doze wasn't required but would have come in handy.

The Republican debate in Des Moines yesterday was test not of the intelligence of the candidates but of their stamina in being able to stay awake given the
format and moderator:

Appalling. Extraordinarily frustrating. Alternately an uncontrolled circus and a banal snore-fest. Some of the questions were extraordinarily stupid – “is it more important to have a nominee that is socially conservative or fiscally conservative? What New Year’s resolution would you recommend for one of your rivals?” And what was with the video snippets of each candidate? What, each guy is going to get too much time with nine guys on stage?

This was a disastrous format, with insane time limits on candidates, all mismanaged by a brusque, snippy moderator who seemed to think Iowans did not want the candidates to finish their sentences. She seemed to want to ignore Alan Keyes, and when he was skipped over, he piped up and complained, and she allowed him to go on at length after that. It would have been better to not invite him. Because the Des Moines Register included Keyes, and is not including Kucinich (on a technicality) nor Gravel on the Democratic side, I have to conclude that this was a bad faith effort to make the Republican candidates look bad.
Geraghty thinks Thompson won the debate thanks to his now famous refusal to play stupid games designed by the school marm-moderator Carolyn Washburn, editor of the Des Moines Register.

You knew something was wrong with this debate when, right off the bat, Washburn announced that Iraq and immigration were not going to be discussed. In other words, the most important issue of the campaign (Iraq) and the biggest plus issue for Republicans (immigration) were sidelined by this obviously partisan hack of a moderator.

One wonders; will they take health care and the economy off the table at the Democratic debate today?

Washburn supposedly prepped for her role in this debate for almost a year reading candidate's books, position papers, and sitting down with them for extended interviews. And then to have the format so constrictive along with inane videos of what the candidates have said about an issue in the past only added to the somnolent nature of the event.

Most analysts actually gave the debate to Romney and why not? It was a "talking points" debate and Romney is most at ease in that kind of format. And since there was no interaction between the candidates, Huckabee got off scott free with nary a glove laid on him despite a week of revelations regarding many stupid things he's said and done over the years. Guiliani and McCain barely registered while Thompson shined - easily his best public performance to date.

And then there was the curious inclusion of the most unserious of all candidates Alan Keyes. The fact that the Register invited him makes one suspect they really did have it in for Republicans.

All in all, a disappointing day for all. And I have a feeling that candidates will think twice in the future about taking part in a debate sponsored by the Des Moines Register.