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Homer Ponders New Rules for the GOP Debates

Nov 2nd, 2015 | By | Category: Features, Front Page


Editor’s note: Homer is the author’s alter ego or fantasy nemesis or a distant relative.  We are not sure.

He couldn’t believe it. Homer was watching the third GOP candidates’ debate, and was shocked to see the CNBC moderators ask the presidential contenders one “gotcha” question after another. Did they have no respect for the distinguished people standing at their podiums? Trump, Carson, Bush, Rubio—no one was spared the ignominy of having to answer questions that were clearly meant to embarrass them. Why, oh why, couldn’t CNBC have trotted out a more respectable lineup of questioners?

Ted Cruz suggested that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin should moderate the next debate, or perhaps all future debates. Homer couldn’t agree more (or was it less?, he couldn’t be certain.) Hannity, Limbaugh and Levin (hitherto HLL) were thoughtful commentators, keen students of public policy and arbiters of the moral disputes that were tearing the country apart.

Not only that. HLL were neutral observers, devoid of any bias. They harbored none of the prejudices of the liberal mainstream media whose only goal was to trip up the Republican candidates while blowing warm kisses at the Democratic ones. (Homer noted that the CNBC debate had at least one salutary effect: Bush’s evocative phrase was now part of the political lexicon.)

Homer decided that only HLL could ask the kind of questions that GOP candidates deserved. While CNBC and the other networks may have sought to play up the differences among the candidates, HLL would deliberately show they were really all the same. The liberal media sought to divide, but HLL would seek to unite.

What kind of questions would be more acceptable to Cruz and Co.? It was not hard to fathom—any astute member of the vast radio audience of HLL’s talk shows knew instinctively what was important.

Take tax cuts, a policy that all the GOP candidates favored. The liberal media may have focused on the merits of the policy, including the likelihood that budget deficits would be greater as a result. But HLL would ask: How deeply should taxes be cut? And how soon can you do it?

On immigration, the traditional media would touch on the impracticality of building walls and deporting millions of immigrants. But HLL would have none of it. They would ask: Can you even talk about immigration reform before securing the border? And aren’t Islamic terrorists streaming in through our porous southern border? (The departure of Scott Walker meant that the subject of building a wall on the Canadian border was off the table. Pity, thought Homer.)

On abortion, too, pesky questions would be avoided. Why focus on exceptions in the case of the life of the mother, or rape and incest? The more important questions were: Will you only appoint Supreme Court justices who are certain to repeal Roe v. Wade? Do you promise to defund Planned Parenthood even if it means shutting down the federal government?

Many questions, thought Homer, could simply be answered Yes or No—the debates could be wrapped up in 15 minutes instead of lasting for two hours. What a waste of time that was!

Questions on gay marriage, teaching of evolution, climate change, the right to bring guns into schools, outlawing sharia law—they all would follow a similar format. Agree—or not? There was no need to waste time on details when a straightforward response would do.

Oh, what a great debate that would be! Homer could hardly wait.


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