Thursday, September 8, 2011

The ultimate oxymoron: MSNBC’s GOP debate

All the reviews of Wednesday nights debate have just about expired, and focus has turned towards picking apart Obama’s speech this evening. However, I did take note of one question that continued to permeate throughout today’s analysis: whose bright idea was it to have MSNBC and Politico host a Republican debate at the Reagan Library? Seriously. Out of the gate, the ridiculousness of the questioning, particularly the way they were set up, but also their execution, lacked the focus on issues that Republican voters, or Americans in general, care about in these critical economic and unprincipled times.

It’s no secret that Brian Williams enjoys badgering Republicans from his liberal leanings, so it came to no surprise that although he started with the right topic, he set up the blame-Bush decorum out of the gate…

“…we’re going to start with jobs and the economy. The numbers from our new NBC/WSJ poll this week are candidly jaw-dropping. The country thinks the economy is going to get worse before it gets better, a majority of people in this country now believe the Republican policies of the first 8 years of the past decade are responsible for the economic mess we’re in, and we should quickly add, a majority don’t believe the current Democratic president has set the right policies to fix the fix we’re in. The question is, really, who can?”

…proceeding into the first question asked of Rick Perry, in which the governor was obliged to correct Williams’ accessment of Texas job creation, informing the uninformed host that 95% of the jobs created in Texas were indeed above minimum wage…



We also saw in last night’s debate a theme that we’ve become accustom to viewing: antagonizing hosts. It becomes more apparent with each debate, that the hosts’ ideas regarding the concept of a debate are not to thoroughly cover the important issues at hand or that the viewership is most concerned about, which could fuel a substantive debate, along with coverage of overall defining principles – case in point, one can see the contrasts with what the Palmetto Freedom Forum had to offer – but rather, there’s a concerted effort to simply see if they can either catch the candidates off guard in gotcha moments prescribed by the hosts or coax the candidates into arguing amongst themselves. And as with the last debate, Newt was the first to voice that he wasn’t having any of that…



As Rush would say, “Right on, right on!” This provided one of the more notable moments of the night.

Nonetheless, some sparing is par for the course. And the hosts made it apparent, as was expected, that their focus would be on the two frontrunners in the race, Perry and Romney, so they proceeded to instigate the ensuing spars, and the candidates were obviously willing to oblige…





Now of course they should differentiate themselves, but not for the glee of liberal reporters. And that was in part, one reason for Newt’s response to Politico’s John Harris. So it came to no surprise when Brian Williams found himself befuddled and appalled that a GOP audience would overwhelmingly support capital punishment…



As Matthew Sheffield of NewsBusters described, “Far from being the celebration of death and killing that the contemptuous Williams implied it was, the audience’s reaction was more of spontaneous protest vote against the holier-than-thou anti-execution crowd which has for decades tried to shove its minority viewpoint onto the vast majority of Americans who disagree. The fact that many of the same crowd doing this shoving also is fond of insisting that conservatives should refrain from “legislating morality” on other issues such as abortion or gay rights makes the audience response all the more understandable.”

And Rush of course had plenty to say about the debate, but started off by asking ‘his good friend’ Brian Williams a question: “Are you having trouble sleeping at night? You and your network have supported Obama's inept budget-breaking, failed economic policies. Your network has supported, encouraged, applauded, defended Obama's assault on the American way of life. Brian, how are you sleeping at night? I'd like to know.”

The effort was pretty clear last night, which was the other part of Newt’s point: to keep the man behind all the chaos, who's quadrupled down on unemployment and deficit spending with debilitating and absolutely destructive policies over the past 3 years, out of the crosshairs, making sure he was discussed as little as possible. And their lies the ultimate oxymoron of a MSNBC GOP debate.

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