Sure, the RNC could have demanded more conservatives ask questions, but that in turn requires conservatives willing to help foot the bill for the debates. The RNC cannot actually tell a network shelling out a few million dollars that the network must turn over moderating to outsiders who haven’t paid a dime. And while I too would prefer more conservatives, remember how many conservatives asked questions in the 2012 debates? Yeah, me neither.
The reality is that no one will ever be pleased with the debates. There will always be some grievance. But we should not forget just how truly bad so many of the debates were in 2012 — so much worse than either the Fox News or CNN debate this year. There was one debate in 2012 that required an advanced cable package just to watch it and the whole thing was a farce then.
Yes, the CNBC debate was terrible. Yes, John Harwood should have been blocked as George Stephanopoulos was. Yes, NBC and its sister stations should never, ever host a GOP Primary debate again. But don’t deny that we’ve only had really one truly terrible debate this year compared to a few thousand in 2012. And don’t deny that there are more conservatives participating now than in 2012. And most of all, don’t deny that it has been to our candidates’ benefit that the RNC has told various left-wing networks to get lost when it would have been impossible for the individual candidates to do it.