Like a litter of ravenous piglets, the Republican presidential candidates began squealing about the format of the CNBC debates and the questions asked by the moderators the second the session concluded.

“What it has turned into is a gotcha,” said Ben Carson. Fellow candidate Chris Christie promised to lower the boom on future debate moderators. “I’m not going to allow them to ask stupid questions,” he said. Marco Rubio denounced CNBC’s moderators as showoffs determined to embarrass the Republicans, and the Ted Cruz campaign immediately converted his debate performance into a campaign ad, excerpting the segment in which he accused the CNBC questioners of pitting the candidates again one another. “This is not a cage match,” he said in his nasal Texas whine.

What’s all this bellyaching? The rules and formats they’re complaining about were largely designed by the Republican National Committee, and the point was to make Republicans look good.