TPM Reader CS …
Having listened to (much) of the debate last night and read your commentary, I am struck by the fact that we seem to have become perfectly comfortable with moderators that are actively, openly, and aggressively trying to undermine a single candidate.
I go into the GOP debates fairly unbiased (more accurately, equally frightened of the prospects of a Trump, Cruz, or Rubio presidency), but was floored with the extent of the follow-up to Trump’s answers, given none of the other candidates were pressed on any issue. Don’t get my wrong, I loved the follow up on Trump’s tax “plan” (and wish we would see more of this in the debates), but where was that type of follow up on any subject with any of the other candidates. Trump saw multiple slides on how his tax plan math doesn’t add up, yet this was immediately followed up with a question to Cruz, where he is able to claim that he will be able to eliminate the IRS and enforce tax law with a mailbox at the Treasury Department, and there was absolutely no follow up. And almost worse, none of the post-debate commentary seemed concerned that the debate questions were so one sided.
I realize my expectations for Fox News should be very low, that these debates are sponsored by the Republican Party, and that Trump may very well be the worst of the bunch (as well as the current leader), but it does scare me a bit that one of the few forums designed to let people compare the candidates side by side saw the moderators so aggressively trying to dictate the outcome.