Posted: 10/30/15 12:22, Edited: 10/30/15 12:49
by Dave Mindeman
During the GOP debate, there was a lot of back and forth criticism about the moderators and their questions. It has become a regular theme with the GOP candidates. Ted Cruz got special props for his rant about the media, but let's take a look at the question he got that prompted this....
Senator Cruz. Congressional Republicans, Democrats and the White House are about to strike a compromise that would raise the debt limit, prevent a government shutdown and calm financial markets that fear of -- another Washington-created crisis is on the way. Does your opposition to it show that you're not the kind of problem-solver American voters want?
Cruz never did answer that question. He was too busy giving his rehearsed media rant. But there was nothing wrong with the question...in fact, we should still demand that Cruz answer it. If he is going to go to Washington and expect to accomplish anything, then how he deals with the budget bill that passed the House is entirely relevant. His opposition requires an explanation and an alternative method for moving forward.
But Cruz ignored the question and critiqued the debate up to that point....
You know, let me say something at the outset. The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media. (APPLAUSE) This is not a cage match. And, you look at the questions -- "Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?" "Ben Carson, can you do math?" "John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?" "Marco Rubio, why don't you resign?" "Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?" How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?
People don't care about the US budget...or the debt limit...or a government shutdown?
But as for Cruz' characterization of the questions given to the other candidates, let's take a look...
Trump: The moderator outlined his past statements on "building a wall"; on cutting taxes $10 trillion without a debt increase; and his constant referral to the stupidity and incompetance of our leaders. The question closed with - "Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?"
Maybe the comic book reference was over the top, but asking about Trump's past statements was completely relevant and worthy of an answer....and to which Trump gave his usual non-specific bluster responses.
Carson: Here was his question....
You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes, and -- I've looked at it -- and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I've had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this. If you were to took a 10 percent tax, with the numbers right now in total personal income, you're gonna come in with bring in $1.5 trillion. That is less than half of what we bring in right now. And by the way, it's gonna leave us in a $2 trillion hole. So what analysis got you to the point where you think this will work?
A relevant question? I think so. The numbers do not add up. They don't. And Carson response was more rambling with changes to his answers and a lot of "estimates" about how this would all fit. If Carson thinks this is an economic answer of any kind, then we should be concerned.
Kasich: The moderator merely referred to statements that John Kasich had made on the previous day in which he said he was "fed up" with the statements of the two front runners. The moderator asked him:
"..you had some very strong words to say yesterday about what's happening in your party and what you're hearing from the two gentlemen we've just heard from. Would you repeat it?"
Asking the candidate to clarify and expand about a controversial statement would seem like a fair question. Especially when the people he is referring to have a direct chance to respond.
Rubio: In this case, the moderators were merely referring to a controversial newspaper editorial which called on Rubio to resign his senate seat for missing too many Senate votes. A legitimate question and one which Rubio was prepared to respond to. In fact, the question helped Rubio to put out any fire that editorial could have caused.
Bush: Asking Jeb Bush to respond to the flurry of media speculation about his falling poll numbers also seemed relevant. And Bush needed to address that publicly anyway before the speculation got out of control. His main problem is that his performance only fueled the speculation. But the idea that the question was the problem is ludicrous.
So that was the supposed substance of the Ted Cruz rant. The Republican audience gave him wild applause for his put down of the questioning.
But the reality of this is that what Cruz is really saying is that GOP candidates don't want to answer relevant questions about "substantive" issues....they only want to answer questions that allow them to give their own chosen responses.
The Democratic debate dealt with immigration, guns, budgets, women's rights, and foreign policy. Yet, Cruz insinuated that they were given preferential treatment by the "main stream media".
If you are going to take up all of your response time by criticizing the question, it doesn't seem to be productive.
By the way, Senator Cruz, how would you deal with the debt limit?