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Some More Thoughts on the Debate

RNC Chair Reince Priebus, who partnered with CNBC to put on this debate, is crapping on CNBC big time for putting on a terrible debate. I thought it was a terrible debate. But I was a little unclear why Priebus thought it was so terrible from a GOP perspective. That became a little more clear after I saw the breakdown of how much each candidate got to talk. Carly Fiorina, who is barely in the running, got more time than anyone else. Jeb Bush got the least by a significant margin - less than Rand Paul, Huckabee, Christie, people who aren't even really in the race. Priebus is clearly getting hell for that.

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Jeb Is Just Sad

In this post-debate interview, CNN's Dana Bash tells Bush he seems frustrated. (Never a good question to get ...) Frustrated? I'm not frustrated. Not frustrated. Then he goes on to list the reasons he's frustrated.

Some Initial Thoughts on the Debate

As I said in my previous post, this was a pretty poorly run debate. But that's media criticism. The real question is how it will affect the race. Jeb Bush needed to get back into this campaign. And he absolutely didn't do that. I thought his attack on Marco Rubio was pretty strong. But after that, I'm not sure what happened to him. Maybe he took a nap. I'm not sure. It's really hard to see how he can hold on to any level of confidence from establishment Republicans at this point. He just doesn't seem to have it in him. Not that he was a leader of the pack in the first place. But he really needed to change the equation. He didn't.

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Why Is This Debate So Bad?

As everyone is already discussing, CNBC probably shouldn't be allowed to run a debate again. Aside from the expertly prepared John Harwood, the moderators were bad and poorly - almost embarrassingly - prepared. There's also the CNBC bubble - which makes some of the questions seem odd even for a Republican debate. What about onerous personal helicopter regulation?

But why else? I think part of it is that Carson appears at least to be the nominal frontrunner at the moment. When Trump was the frontrunner, that gave a focus to the debate: attack Trump. Can Trump keep his momentum? Will others take him down? But Carson is such a vague and insubstantial figure, he doesn't give focus to the debate. Like is he or his personality the dominant force in this debate? He seems like a vague and distant presence. And that makes the whole debate lack a certain focus.

10:20 PM: Huckabee: Let's face it, everyone up on this stage sacrificing is awesome.

Debate Live Blogging #57 (who knows?)

9:47 PM: On guns, it's a classic Trump answer. Either this was the answer of an aphasic and complete word salad or was it a brilliant answer? Not sure.

10:02 PM: To give you a sense about CNBC, one of the commercials a few minutes ago in New York city was for an app you can use when you're ordering your next helicopter.

Debate Live Blogging #3

9:11 PM: CNBC is so weird. You notice that in this debate some of the most probing questions are about expertise or lack of ability to maximize investment profits? It was a damning line that he had to pay a bunch of money as tax penalties for early withdrawal of retirement savings. Like poor personal investment and tax management is almost disqualifying.

9:16 PM: A question so dumb, Ben Carson manages to hit it out of the park.

9:17 PM: Ben Carson: The American people need to realize we are not each others' enemies. The liberals are the enemies.

9:25 PM: "Where did I hear that?" Worst moderator comeback ever?

9:30 PM: The CNBC debate really is more rooted in the right-wing id and the bubble of extreme wealth than the Fox debate. By a mile.

9:34 PM: John Harwood must be a bit embarrassed to be up there with these other joker moderators.

9:45 PM: Terrible CNBC moderator gets shamed by Twitter over her huge prep-fail and even the recovery is pretty bad.

Debate Live Blog #2

9:02 PM: CNBC is so weird. That Jim Cramer question was classic. Maybe the GM people should have gone to jail. But like Cramer is still so flipped about people wanting to send Wall Street executives to jail that he's making this "Oh yeah, how about this?" argument about GM. Like he's still upset about this? Only in the CNBC debate.

Debate Live Blogging

So John Kasich wonders why Republicans are so weird and keep saying crazy things; Ted Cruz is going to offer you a ride home when you're kind of tipsy and vulnerable.

8:37 PM: Curious what people think of Rubio's answer here. Does not strike me as a good one ... "You should be showing up for work." ... And yet he keeps drawing big applause lines. But that's still my take. What's yours?

The gist of Rubio's answer was a) I'm missing so many votes because the country needs me that bad and b) a bunch of Democrats missed votes too.

8:46 PM: Cruz seems to be dodging at least on the first take. But I've been waiting for the the new budget deal to get injected into this race. I would have thought Cruz would want into that question big time. But he's ignoring it.

8:49 PM: This is where the intersection of the primary and the Capitol Hill chaos gets interesting. And Paul, unlike Cruz, is not shying away from it.

8:55 PM: I'm endlessly fascinated by Huckabee on Social Security. He manages to have a position that is both freakishly rightwing and also fairly progressive.

Pre-Debate Blogging

CNBC doofus tells us he's not convinced all the students at Boulder are that liberal since they have aspirations and want jobs.

8:08 PM: It's interesting. We think Fox News is the gold standard right-wing news channel. And rightly so. But I'm reminded how, in many ways, CNBC is even more right wing than Fox. With Fox, though the key people are clearly conservative, there's at least some self-awareness that they're parroting one side's lines in the greatest domestic partisan war. But CNBC folks are part of the hyper-laissez part of the Wall Street culture where lots of basic conservative assumptions are considered to be not only right but all but uncontested. It's a bubble that is far more profound.