How To Stop Those Nasty Moderators

CNBC Republican Debate Lineup

In the last debate on CNBC, candidates were dared to answer where they stood on such petty, non-substantive questions as Donald Trump being asked “if he was running a comic book version of a presidential campaign?”

Jeb Bush was asked to explain why his campaign was going so poorly?

Carly Fiorina, why Americans should hire her when she was fired by HP?

Sen. Rubio was asked if he should slow down and get a few things done before running for president?

(My rhetorical answers are listed below.)

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the candidates were asked to outline their greatest weakness for the American people.

Holy Spiro Agnew! How un-American can media moderators get?

Were the CNBC Three (John Harwood, Betsy Quick and Carl Quintanilla) trying to make the candidates look bad with their nasty, biased, trick questions? Were the “gotchas” designed to portray the candidates as fools in a farce called a “debate?” As if they needed help after the first two Looney Tune episodes.

Well, there would be no more of this character assassination, mudslinging, below-the-belt- type questions in future debates, if Republican candidates have their way! As much as they respect free speech and an unfettered press, they are vowing to change the rules of engagement.

In their opinion, candidates should never be asked self-incriminating questions, such as where they stood on evolution, creationism, climate change, or anything else in the way of serious substantive questioning?

And, furthermore, in the candidates’ opinion, something has to be done about the moderators who are dishonest, biased, left loony liberals with axioms to grind.

Now I realize attacking the media is a Republican ritual. Candidates have been out to get the so-called liberals in the press at least back to Nixon and Spiro Agnew complaining about “the nattering nabobs of negativism” during the Vietnam War. Blaming the nattering media is a time-tested Republican trope, which may be carved in stone on the party platform.

Newt Gingrich showed today’s candidates how effective it was in 2012. Making the media the target inspired his main PAC-man, Sheldon Adelsons cough up another $5 million to keep in the race the only candidate who had a $250,000 line of credit for his wife at Tiffany’s, and the only candidate who favored establishing a colony on the moon, a place where they might transport all the illegals.

So it was no surprise that somebody in the Gang of 15 would blow the whistle on the media’s questionable nefarious trickery that might reveal something beyond campaign oratory. The winner of the Freedom of Information Medal this time was Sen. Rafael (Ted) Cruz, the only Canadian-born candidate who had questioned the legitimacy of Pres. Obama by reason of birthplace. Predictably, Rafael (Ted) won a standing O from the crowd of media haters.

This time the gaggle of free speech-loving candidates were meeting behind closed doors this past weekend to change the format and lines of questioning at debates, starting with stricter regulation about moderators.

The ideal moderator would be Larry King. In ye olde days at CNN “The Larry King Show” was the go-to place for candidates to announce they were running for President. The iconic talk show host was a master of not only throwing softballs at the candidates, but whiffle balls, which they could knock out of the ballpark. You could be sure that the suspendermeister would never ask something like, “You have a terrible record as governor, and you’re being indicted for larceny, what makes you think you should be elected president?”

What I would do is have the candidates who are so angry conduct an audition of possible moderators for the fourth and future debates. Make the possible moderators line up on a stage and have the wronged candidates fire questions at them to see if they can find perceived bias. A sample question: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a Republican?”

The other possibility is to do away with moderators and panels of journalists.

Where is it written that a so-called “debate “need a team of questioners?

That further begs the question why we have so-called debates that are actually glorified press conferences?

Why can’t there be an old-fashioned debate, mano y mano, Say, Bush v. Rubio, Cruz v. Paul, et al.

All leading up to what I think would be the ultimate championship debate of the western world. Yes, I’m talking about Trump vs. Sanders. A pay-per-view event on a Saturday night on HBO would be a blockbuster.

A two-person debate? Unthinkable! Completely outrageous! Come down from your Ivory Tower, Kitman, and smell the flopsweat.

It can never happen. Forget about it.

Well, I don’t know. I still remember Nixon-JFK in 1960. You really got a chance to study the candidates and reach your own decision who was better qualified without worrying about moderators pulling the wool over your eyes.

But that is ancient history. Why is a real debate impossible today? Politicians fear real debates. The problem is somebody can lose.

Kill the messenger is what Republicans always prefer to do. It will be writ on the Republican Party gravestone:

Here lies…
The Media dunnit.


Marvin Kitman
November 3, 2015

(Rhetorical answers to rhetorical questions above:
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes)

The writer ran for president in the Republican primaries of 1964. He lost.