A bunch of you watched last night's Republican debate last night with me — and there certainly seemed to be at least one thing that annoyed you: When Anderson Cooper got up from his desk, walked over to Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee, bound and gagged them, kicked them a little bit, then spent five minutes pointing and laughing at them. Okay, not really, but the lack of time given to any candidate other than McCain or Romney was definitely a sticking point for a lot of you. Understandable.
Here are the burrs under my saddle from last night's debate:
- Romney and McCain's clash over Iraq was handled very poorly. If Anderson had forced them to speak one at a time, perhaps we could have better parsed for ourselves whether Romney indeed supports a timetable for withdrawal, or if John McCain was indulging in the "dirty tricks" Romney accused him of by bringing it up. Instead, we got five minutes of nonsensical screaming about people "laying in the reeds."
- Now, I've decided where my vote is going next Tuesday, but this distinction still caught my attention: McCain said that Romney raised taxes in Massachusetts, Romney called them fees, and then further explained that he had raised prices on some services like highway signs that hadn't been raised in years, in order to generate funds for the state. It made me wish that there was more room for subtlety with Republicans and taxes. I don't mind giving money to my government, as long as they spend it frugally and wisely. Let's not make it such a litmus test of conservatism, please.
- The last question: Would Ronald Reagan endorse you? Anderson. Cooper. Go to your room. I know the debate was at the Ronald Reagan Library, but the question is so hypothetical, so pandering, and so irrelevant to the actual campaign that's happening right now, that I want my money back. It's fine to remember history and use past leaders as context, but come on. Ask about Reagan's policies, fine, but don't ask these men to put words in the mouth of a man who's not here to do it himself. And Anderson? I'm sending you my cable bill.
If you want to know the biggest groaner of all, read more.
What do you think? Was the debate mismanaged?