The first part of CNN’s Republican debate was an embarrassment that was televised around the world. The American people deserve an apology for this showcase of Republican crazy.
The four candidates on stage begin by introducing themselves, which is good because according to polling nobody knows who they are. The first question of the debate was about Donald Trump, and Bobby Jindal tried to muster up the fire to repeat his same claims that Trump is an unqualified narcissist.
The second question of the debate was about Trump, and Rick Santorum offered a weak defense of Trump. The third question was about Trump. The fourth question was from Hugh Hewitt, and it was about Trump. George Pataki has enough and called out the absurdity of the Trump questions, and said that Trump will not be the Republican nominee.
The debate finally moved off of Trump for a second and moved on to immigration where Rick Santorum did his best Trump impression by falsely claiming that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens. The debate turned into the typical Republican slap fight over who hates immigrants more.
Pataki demonstrated why he had no chance of being the Republican nominee by opposing birthright citizenship and sending immigrants back. Lindsey Graham said that immigrants need to speak English and said that he has never met an “illegal Canadian.”
Graham and Santorum got into the most interesting argument of this debate over Rick Santorum’s 2006 immigration bill. Santorum: “I had a bill.” Graham: “It went nowhere.”
Bobby Jindal blamed Obama for the Syrian refugee crisis. Graham blames Obama for pulling the troops out of Iraq. Graham then wanted to use ground troops to fight ISIS. Graham tried to get the other candidates to commit to US ground troops and was met with silence.
Jindal made the gaffe of the night when he said that the 14-year-old Muslim student should not have been arrested, but he was glad that the police were vigilant.
The topic moved to Kim Davis, who Rick Santorum compared to the girl who stood up to the gunman at Columbine. Pataki proved that he was the only sane person at this debate by saying that he would have fired Kim Davis and that people have to follow the rule of law.
Santorum responded by comparing Kim Davis to Martin Luther King.
Bobby Jindal tried to play the Washington outsider, but he was reminded by Lindsey Graham that he was in Congress. Jindal wanted the Senate to use the nuclear option to pass the Iran disapproval resolution, defund Planned Parenthood, and shut down the government.
Graham responded by calling Jindal out for being dishonest and then told Republicans the way it really was. Graham said I am not going to shut the government down and tank the Republican chances of winning in 2016.
CNN televised this disgraceful debate to people all around the world. Republican candidates on the stage made several horrifying statements. If people in another country knew nothing about American politics, and just saw this debate, they would come away thinking that the United States is full of crazy people.
Four candidates who are not going to be elected president participated in a debated that was a national embarrassment. CNN should be ashamed of their ratings grab. The cable news network owes the American people an apology.
Winners and Losers:
George Pataki – Pataki might be a loser with the Republican rank and file, but to non-Republicans, Pataki sounded like the only almost sane person on the stage.
Lindsey Graham – Sen. Graham could not contain his bloodlust for a new war in the Middle East, and he couldn’t restrain himself from telling Republicans to stop hating Hispanic people. Graham demonstrated why he was polling at 1% or less in the polls.
Rick Santorum – Santorum still thinks that he was running in 2012. Many of his answers sounded almost exactly the same. Santorum shouldn’t be on any stage. His presidential campaign is a waste of time.
Bobby Jindal – Jindal couldn’t decide if he was the angry Trump hater or the evangelical crusader. His claim that Kim Davis going to prison for breaking the law was the same as a 14-year-old Muslim teen getting arrested for bringing a clock to school was stunning. Jindal represents much of what is wrong with the Republican Party.
CNN – From their obsession with Donald Trump to the horrible candidates on the stage, the CNN first debate was a total loser.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association