On the evening of October 28, Oklahoma recorded a Richter 7 earthquake centered in Ponca City. It was not caused by fracking but by me pounding the walls and stomping on the floor in delight at Ted Cruz nailing the moderators with 5 examples of their snarky questions just posed to the previous candidates. If I had been in attendance at the People’s Republic of Boulder, I would have waited for the crowd to stop applauding then stood up and said, “Excuse me, sir, but your ass has been nailed to the wall over there by Cruz. If you need assistance in getting it down, I have a wrecking bar you can use.”
What that incident convinced me was that Cruz does indeed have a genius memory to have recited the 5 snarks the moderators had dished out to someone else (in order!). Warning: Do not sit across from Ted Cruz in a negotiation or court case. Are you listening, Vladimir Putin?
Considering how well the other candidates then joined in the objection to stupid questions, I’d say the debate was a success for most of the field. Individual results may vary. Fiorina’s zinger on crony capitalism was great (Although I call gov’t-big biz partnerships Fascism which historically they are.). Cristie’s note that we have huge problems while they want to know about fantasy football was also terrific. Rubio’s defense of his missed votes got big applause, then Jeb was dumb enough to try to bring it up again. What nobody explains to the public, and you don’t realize until you follow legislation, is that 90% of the stuff they pass is 99-0 votes. To set aside April 2 as Charlie Daniels Day, to designate August as International Dog Poop Clean-up Month, etc. The big controversial votes are the ones your Congressman needs to show up for.
So, given that candidates got 30 seconds to respond to questions while the moderators took at least that long “framing the question” (Give their own biased speech) how would I organize a debate?
First use Republicans to moderate and instruct them to ask quick questions. Since these debates are really Q&A sessions for candidates, that is, each person gets separate questions, they've become more like a slap-dash interview while 9 others are in attendance. Why the media does it this way is beyond me. Could be because journalists are so dumb and unoriginal, they couldn’t get over 50% on my physics quizes in college.
So here’s how I’d organize it. People want to know the differences, character, style, persuasive ability, and stands of each candidate. Don’t even pretend it is a debate. Call it a forum. Have the moderators ask the same question repeatedly and give the candidates 3 minutes to respond and build a case for their solutions. Maybe 5 guys get the same question before going onto another--or all 10. And make it general enough that the folks watching can see what kind of approach each candidate takes.
Example: Moderator:“Let’s talk about the economy. Why is it so bad and what would you do to fix it? For 400 years America has created more new companies than the number which closed their doors—until the last 6 years.” Then for the second candidate, same first 2 sentences above but the third one will be: “Growth the past 6 years has averaged 1.5% whereas it consistently was 3+% for over 200 years.” Next candidate, same first 2 sentences, then “Since Obama began, US population has increased by 17 million but only 7 million new jobs have been created. 10 million have dropped out.” By quoting supporting statistics like this, the candidates would be encouraged to respond. Build their cases, exhibit what they will do. Thus by the end of the evening, listeners would be able to compare them much more thoroughly. Let 'em speak for themselves!
Same strategy with foreign policy questions, social issues, and all the rest.
Okay, CNBC moderators, what weakness do you have and how are you compensating? What say? You stayed up all night smoking joints with the Colorado news guys? And you do this because you have been depressed ever since flunking descriptive physics in college?