Did Lindsey Graham steal the JV show last night?

That seems to be the consensus of what I’ve read about the undercard debate.

I wouldn’t know, of course, because CNBC wanted to charge me to watch, and the World Series was free, so guess what I watched? (This blog would have to pay a lot more than it does for me to buy cable just for blogging purposes.)

As for the big-table debate, from what I’ve gathered from various sources, the main points were:

  • Big night for Rubio and Cruz.
  • Bad night for Jeb Bush.
  • The candidates and other GOP types went on a Spiro Agnew media-bashing spree.
  • Trump and Carson were relatively quiet, except for Trump bashing Kasich.

Here’s a transcript if you want it. I don’t have time to read it right now.

Among those of you who saw it: Thoughts?

32 thoughts on “Did Lindsey Graham steal the JV show last night?

  1. Jeff Mobley

    All policy preferences aside, I think it’s even more clear than it already was that Marco Rubio would be very capable in a general election debate. You can bet he would be prepared for attacks, as he was last night.

    Cruz had his best performance yet by far.

    Unfortunately I didn’t see the 6 o’clock debate.

    I don’t really have any other strong impressions.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    I was still at the office after six, so I didn’t watch the first debate. However, even if I had been available, I probably would not have watched it.

    I had the second debate on in the background while I did other things. The questions were awful. I think an amateur blogger could have come up with more insightful and substantive questions than the awful moderators.

    Cruz’s moment where mentioned the awfulness of the questions was a big hit because…the questions were awful.

    When the awful moderator didn’t let Cruz actually answer the question because his digression had used up his time, and the awful moderator moved on to Senator Paul, I so, so, so wish that Senator Paul would have ignored the question and said: “I yield my time for this question to the Distinguished Senator from Texas.”

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, not having seen it, all I can say is that, if Cruz’ characterization of the questions is accurate, then they were awful.

      Of course, once again, people on the right misunderstand media types. They say “bias” when the word they should use is “stupid.”

      People always want to see a conspiracy when what there are really looking at is incompetence, or at the very least, a lack of depth. Which in my book is incompetence…

  3. Doug Ross

    Multiple online polls of viewer reactions show Bush finishing last or next to last. He’s done. Rubio and Christie both made him look bad. His only hope now would be to change his name to Jeb Trump.

    1. Jeff Mobley

      “Jeb Trump” by itself won’t be enough. He should maybe add a few exclamation points. I bet that would do the trick.

  4. John

    I saw part of the first debate but it was depressing so I turned it off. At that point the big winner as far as I could tell was pathos. All four of the candidates could make me feel that. When Sen. Graham spoke in the back of my mind I could hear John Stewart saying “as the Senator from South Carolina ah do declare….” I don’t actually remember what was being discussed by the real Senator at that point.

    The second debate was more interesting. I really wish the moderators had followed up on Ben Carson’s comment about about modeling taxes on tithing with something like “What??” instead of an implied “OK.” Also his comment about basing taxes on a percentage of the GDP was quite startling but not followed on. Re the moderators…any of their questions would have been fine for an interview. Many were not appropriate for a debate, and none explicitly asked candidates to discuss the justification for their plans differing from those of their neighbor.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      If pathos dominated the first debate, from what I’ve read, peevishness dominated the second one. From the Post’s Dana Milbank:

      Trump, the fading front-runner, was preemptively complaining about the way CNBC would conduct the debate. He had previously complained that the debates were too long and had too many people.

      Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been complaining that the Senate is too “frustrating” for him to go to the trouble of showing up. Jeb Bush, noting other “cool things” he could do, has been complaining that the campaign is too nasty. Ohio Gov. John Kasich complained about his rivals, saying “I’ve about had it with these people.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) complained that his own campaign was forcing him to do “dumbass” live-streaming of his activities. And Trump just complained that “evangelicals let me down” in Iowa. The campaigns even complained about the size and quality of their holding rooms at the debate facility.

      The Republicans seem to be testing a strategy of winning by whining. Certainly, voters are discontented and even angry. But do they want a leader who campaigns by kvetching?…

  5. Norm Ivey

    Missed the first one, and gave up on the second one. Between poor questions, worse answers and the cross-talk, I couldn’t take it anymore. Turned it off and put in the original Halloween DVD.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Reminds me of one of my favorite Knock-knock jokes.

      Who’s there?
      Silence! Vee are asking zee questions, here!

      Yeah, it’s corny dad-humor. Sue me.

  6. Juan Caruso

    “Did Lindsey Graham steal the JV show last night?”

    In a room with four politicians, including two lawyers, it is a safe bet that something was probably stolen stolen. Whatever may have been stolen, it certainly was not any of my time.

    The later debate was the best of the season so far, and I intentionally missed only the predictable last few minutes. The only annoying thing I recall was the woman who felt it necessary to talk over the candidates answers at length — rather than politely saying “you are out of time, (title).

    His donors have years of preparation and $100s of millions invested in Jeb; they are not about to allow him to drop out before April 30th, and perhaps not soon afterward.

    Local talk radio reported that Dr. Carson and Donald Trump each gave false answers to pointed questions of fact designed to trap them. Who wants to bet neither will drop out
    due to unreliable polling surveys?

    In my neighborhood I doubt that anyone still responds to telepone polls. When “JEB16”, for example, or 1 or two other political surveys a day calls, we treat them as potentially fraudulent (“private caller”, unknown name) nuisance calls answered only by the most naieve people, children, etc.

    Why? http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/opinion/sunday/whats-the-matter-with-polling.html?_r=0

    So is online polling any more reliable? Gee, have you ever considered the prevalence of online hacking, malicious data manipulation, or fraud?

    1. Bryan Caskey

      “’Did Lindsey Graham steal the JV show last night?’

      “In a room with four politicians, including two lawyers, it is a safe bet that something was probably stolen.”

      Okay, that’s really funny. Juan is hereby declared the threadwinner.

  7. Harry Harris

    I listened a while and thought the questioners were very bad and the format was worse. The questions were about personal statements and peripheral issues and stuff that’s been said about a candidate. Nowhere near a debate. Nowhere near informative. Mostly a temperament and zingers contest. I thought it was interesting to hear Rubio claim that the “mainstream media” was a Democratic superpack principally because they don’t attack Clinton the way the 24/7 Fox propaganda network does.
    Graham has become a hyperbolic tough-talk phenom trying to sound outrageous enough to get some attention from the jingoistic and macho leaning subset of Republicans. Easy to say we should be throwing punches when to aren’t even on the first team.

  8. Burl Burlingame

    Seems Lindsey stole the show the night before when got drunk in a bar and was massively entertaining to the patrons.

    So — next debate, get the candidates loaded.

  9. bud

    It’s interesting that the conservative talk radio take is that the MAINSTREAM media was biased and had it in for the GOP. A couple of points about that.

    First, CNBC is a decidedly pro-business network. That was quite evident for anyone who watched the discussions between the debates. I would hardly consider them part of the mainstream media.

    Second, the RNC was the one deciding who to moderate the debate. This was not forced down their throat. They apparently thought that by picking the very right wing CNBC they would get softball lobbed at their candidate. Frankly while the moderators were terrible they weren’t much worse than the Fox News moderators.

    Third, despite all the whining and griping this was manna from heaven for these guys. It was tailored made for media-bashing red meat for the GOP masses. I suspect that much of the complaining is nothing but crocodile tears.

    Finally, the utter nonsense of branding the mainstream media as a super pac for the Dems is really absurd. The whole e-mail/Benghazi assault completely disproves that meme.

  10. bud

    As for the candidates. It’s becoming clear that Jeb Bush is done. He doesn’t just have a fork stuck him in he has an entire serving set poking out. Just a couple of days earlier he said he didn’t want to be in a process that required him to go after his fellow candidates. So what does he do? He launches this predictable attack against his fellow Floridian Marco Rubio. And it failed big time.

    As for Rubio, he has been generally regarded as a big winner in the debate. And that proves something I’ve said ever since Dick Cheney “won” his debate with John Edward. In that debate Cheney clearly got his facts wrong but he did so in such a commanding fashion that it didn’t matter. Since it worked for Cheney, Rubio gave it a whirl and it worked again. The question regarded his tax plan. It was scored by most bipartisan organizations as a big windfall for the wealthy but would do little for the middle class. The moderator correctly pointed that out. But in a commanding rebuttal Rubio claimed his plan would help the POOR the most. That wasn’t the question at hand. Worse, he said that of course the wealthy would naturally get more dollars back since they are taxed based on a higher income. In fact their tax RATE would be lowered by more than the middle class. I’m sure Mr. Adelson is proud of his puppet.

    In any event Rubio, by virtue of his presentation was the clear winner with Cruz a close second. And that puts him well in the lead of the bud predictions:

    Rubio -50%
    Cruz -30%
    Carson -10%
    Trump -5%
    Christie -4%
    The professor and Mary Ann 1%

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I’d like to see a transcript of the meetings between the producers of the show and the agents representing Dawn Wells and Russell Johnson — the one that led to changing “… and the rest” to “the Professor and Mary Ann…”

  11. bud

    Bob Denver threatened to move his name to the end credits, as his contract allowed, unless Mary Ann and the professor were added to the opening credits

  12. Doug Ross

    A great summation of Jeb Bush’s performance at the debate from Deadspin:

    “The thing is, the candidates, too, were promised a stronger Jeb Bush than this; most of them—Trump, Carson, Kasich, Paul, Carly Fiorina, and Chris Christie, by my count— were banking on it. They’d premised their very participation in the campaign on the expectation that a stable, legitimate frontrunner would step forward in the early going, and then they could squeeze that frontrunner for a spot on the ticket or a cabinet gig or a policy commitment to satisfy whichever constituency or an excuse to bail with their brands enhanced.

    Jeb was supposed to be that guy, and now he’s dead. You could read the displeasure on their faces: Aw, dammit, this means I have to keep campaigning, doesn’t it? It’s like survivor guilt, only none of these sociopaths is capable of genuine guilt. Survivor pique. Survivor inconvenience. A funeral where the mourners weep for the brunch reservations they had to cancel for it. Jeb Bush is dead, and now all these fakers have to keep on pretending—keep furrowing their brows into stern expressions, scrunching up their mouths into tight frowns, and saying little-kid nonsense in their grimmest scolding voices— until their make-believe party decides which unelectable jackass it’ll pretend to judge qualified for the presidency. Bless their hearts.”


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