Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Republican JV debate wrap-up: Well, that was a whole lot of nothing

Well, that was terrible. Truly terrible. From the premises of the questions—frequent variations on why are you not popular—to the decision to stage the debate in a nearly-audienceless stadium with random photographers wandering in and out of shots, people behind the moderators paying no particular attention to the debaters, and so on, it was clear throughout that Fox News was only holding the junior debate out of obligation, not because they they had any interest in it. I expect Fox will be hearing from angry staffers within 30 seconds of the debate's close.
There were no newsworthy moments, other than the moderators asking questions about whether American mosques needed more monitoring or what the candidates would do about "illegals." In general the moderation was what you'd expect from a Fox News B-team, with questions about brown people, litmus test questions for candidates perceived as not sufficiently anti-abortion, and why Hillary Clinton was Bad.
Winners: Anyone who had the sense to bow out of this thing before it started. Did no harm: Rick Perry did not overtly Screw Up. Bobby Jindal was competent; Carly Fiorina was fine, Rick Santorum was Rick Santorum. The big losers were Lindsey Graham, whose stumbling reading of his own opening statement sounded like a frightened child reciting his big lines for the school play—and it only went downhill from there, to the point where by the end it looked like he was about to burst into tears and run offstage—and John Kasich George Pataki, who was the biggest recipient of passive-aggressive moderator ire for wasting Fox News time that could have been used for other candidates.

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