Reader Feedback: The GOP Debate

This morning I tried to defend the CNBC journalists who moderated last night’s GOP debate.  I told the GOP to quit complaining.  

Here are some responses to my post.

James L. writes:

I’m all for tough questions, but too many of the questions last night were either un-serious or “gotcha” questions (the equivalent of “When did you stop beating your wife?”). A number of decidedly non-conservative pundits have panned last night’s CNBC debate crew as amateurish–including Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, Adam Nagourney of the NYT, and even a contributor to Think Progress(!) I hope future debate crews do a better job.

Jessica P. writes:

I would think that the people who voted for Rubio are asking “why is the guy we elected to represent us not showing up at votes to you know…represent us?” That doesn’t seem like a biased or partisan question to me. Similarly, during the Democratic debate, Chafee was hammered (and deservedly so) on his voting record while serving the people of Rhode Island. His response was pretty lackluster. Whether liberal or conservative, we expect our elected leaders to show up and do their job. We also expect them (perhaps naively) to actually take the time to read and try to understand what they’re voting for. When an elected leader doesn’t meet those standards, it’s certainly fair to ask them why. Rubio’s attack on the media and refusal to answer the question made him look shady. Chafee’s response made him look like a doofus.

John H. writes:

I don’t know where this idea comes from that the Democrats weren’t treated similarly. Here’s some questions from last debate:

COOPER: “Secretary Clinton, I want to start with you. Plenty of politicians evolve on issues, but even some Democrats believe you change your positions based on political expediency.

“You were against same-sex marriage. Now you’re for it. You defended President Obama’s immigration policies. Now you say they’re too harsh. You supported his trade deal dozen of times. You even called it the “gold standard”. Now, suddenly, last week, you’re against it.

“Will you say anything to get elected?”

“Do you change your political identity based on who you’re talking to?”

COOPER: “Senator Sanders. A Gallup poll says half the country would not put a socialist in the White House. You call yourself a democratic socialist. How can any kind of socialist win a general election in the United States?

“Just let me just be clear. Is there anybody else on the stage who is not a capitalist?”

COOPER: “Governor Chafee, you’ve been everything but a socialist. When you were senator from Rhode Island, you were a Republican. When you were elected governor, you were an independent. You’ve only been a Democrat for little more than two years. Why should Democratic voters trust you won’t change again?”

COOPER: “Governor O’Malley, the concern of voters about you is that you tout our record as Baltimore’s mayor. As we all know, we all saw it. That city exploded in riots and violence in April.

“Why should Americans trust you with the country when they see what’s going on in the city that you ran for more than seven years?”

COOPER: “Secretary Clinton, is Bernie Sanders tough enough on guns?”

And so forth.

Thanks for such great comments.