Public is debate loser

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pundits commenting on the results of the Aug. 6 FOX News Republican presidential candidate debates share some areas of wide agreement as well as areas of considerable disagreement.

Actually, what occurred at the FOX televised event on Aug. 6 was a forum rather than what any forensic organization would define as a debate, but common usage makes the term "debate" the accepted term for the event.

One area of widespread agreement is that Carly Fiorina earned a ticket from the lower tier debate group to the top 10.

There is no clear consensus on who will lose a place in the top 10 to Fiorina. Perhaps it will be Rand Paul, who put on a whiny performance. His criticism of Chris Christie hugging President Obama seems to be a throwback to an issue nobody cares about anymore, and never should have cared about in the past.

Paul has been described as libertarian in outlook, much to the embarrassment of actual libertarians. He panders to social conservatives, and is all over the map on issues of foreign policy and military spending.

Trump was his usual self-absorbed sociopathic self, probably not losing much, if any, of the 20 to 25 percent of Republicans who prefer Trump over anybody else, but solidifying the attitude of the 70 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of everybody else who despise him.

FOX News was praised for how the event was handled, although there was little of substance that was conveyed through the debate. Perhaps part of the reason for that was the mechanics of trying to hear from 10 people on a wide range of issues in two hours with commercial interruptions.

If the format has to remain similar in the future, perhaps the bulk of the debate time could be devoted to the issues voters care about most. Polls of Republicans, as well as voters in general, show that the overwhelming concern of the public is about economic issues, but that topic got very little time during the debate.