Republicans have stopped personally attacking each other, and the result has been a debate that revealed a frontrunner who knows nothing and a political party with no new ideas. In other words, the CNN debate has been a different kind of disaster for the Republican Party.
The candidates are holding to an agreement not to personally attack each other, but instead of benefiting the establishment candidates who understand policy, the debate exposed the fact that behind the Republican rhetoric is the same old party who are largely sticking to the George W. Bush era policies that got the country into two wars, and nearly destroyed the US economy.
If the point of this debate is to expose Donald Trump as a know nothing, it is working. Ted Cruz is looking like a policy wonk next to Trump. The problem that this debate is revealing is the Republican Party has no new ideas. The Republican candidates, with the exception of Trump, want to privatize Social Security. All of the Republican candidates, with the exception of Kasich, lied and distorted Common Core. All of the Republicans want to cut taxes for the wealthy, and their anti-immigrant positions were on full display during the discussion on immigration.
The Republican Party wanted to demonstrate that they can be a serious party that can govern, but this debate is demonstrating why they should not be given back the White House. A vote for any of the Republican candidates on the Florida stage is a vote for a return to the failed policies of George W. Bush.
The circus of personal attacks in previous debates hid the fact that the Republican Party is intellectually empty. The Republican candidates argue for more war in the Middle East, and the return of American combat troops to the region. Viewers even heard the old Bush line that the president must listen to the generals.
The calmed down Republican debate has been a complete disaster. The GOP is still a party that is completely unfit to govern.