According to Webster's, that's the dictionary, a 'debate' is: '...a formal contest of skill in reasoned argument.'
So, is that what the Republican candidates for president had in Boulder, Colorado at their most recent get together?
CNBC 'Chairman' Mark Hoffman called his cable channel's version of Republican candidate musical podiums a 'historic one-off.' Unfortunately it was neither historic or a one-off. There are more to come and there in lies the rub. Is it too much to ask that we, the voters, the public, the interested parties, the stake holders, actually get some information out of these 'debates' or is that too nuanced for television and politics?
CNBC's effort was neither better or worse than those that have gone before. The disappointment, albeit on a small scale, is that it could have done better. A niche business channel with a loyal but small audience it carries with it a certain amount of expertise and gravitas when it comes to discussing the stock markets and world economies. It promised a debate about 'Your Vote, Your Money' or some such promotional phrase. And question number one was? Exactly.
And then there was the magic 'fantasy football' moment and Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush trying to eat each others' young. There was a 'money' question in there every now and then but did we learn anything more about the potential fiscal policy of any of these candidates than we knew before?
So who's fault is it? There really isn't any 'fault', except maybe in terminology. The candidates got what they wanted, more exposure and posturing, CNBC got what it wanted, at $250,000 a throw for some of its :30 spots it just might be 'historic,' and exposure for some of its lesser know 'talent.' Whether that last part is good or bad we'll see. Jim Cramer as a 'moderator', Joe Kernan asking Donald Trump who he thought '..did well tonight..'. Really? And who were those people on the 'pregame' show?
The real problem here is in the title, debate. Let's just call it what it is. A reality TV show. Hold it, I thought NBC said Donald Trump couldn't appear on reality TV anymore. Oh that's right, this is cable. So Fox Business News you're up next. Call it whatever you want, just don't call it a debate.