Sometimes it takes a few days for the truth of something you heard or saw to sink in, or to come out, and so it was with the Republican Presidential debate in Orlando, Florida.
I was thinking about why former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson’s line, “My next-door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this president…” worked and got Johnson so much buzz.
True, it was funny, but it was not THAT funny.
I concluded it worked because it was aimed at President Obama, not at one of the other Republican presidential candidates.
If Johnson had dropped a one-liner like that on Romney or Perry, everyone in the audience would have thought he was just looking to grab a headline by talking trash from the cheap seats.
But the truth of the matter is that’s what the media is really looking for -- one-liners about the other Republicans -- and each debate the script is pretty much the same.
Maybe snappy back-and-forth does make better TV, or maybe, just maybe, the national media thinks the best way to protect the status quo is to get Republicans to fight each other.
Unfortunately, in Orlando, the major Republican candidates stuck with the media’s “you fight, I’ll report on it” script and came away diminished in the eyes of many, if not most, viewers.
We've said it before -- this election will be won by the candidate who can credibly say they will govern from conservative principles AND demonstrates that he or she can defeat President Obama.
We are all for the candidates drawing factual distinctions between themselves and their opponents and talking about their records to demonstrate they will govern from conservative principles.
But staff-written one-liners trashing other Republicans in response to “got ya questions” from the media don’t tell us anything about a candidate’s conservative principles or record.
If Republicans want to win in November, it is time for the GOP presidential candidates to toss out the media script for the debates, stop diminishing each other and start articulating principled conservative solutions to the problems facing this country.