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Republican Candidates Diminish Themselves When They Follow the Media’s Debate Script

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.

Amen to That

"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." RV (above)

Amen to that. The head-butting in these debates leaves you believing that they have no unity on any issue, and that the most opportunistic among the slate of candidates (Santorum, Huntsman, Romney, Bachmann) think the whole thing is a 'how many angels can dance on the head of the constitutional pin' moment. In other words, bash the other guy if he isn't you.

At the end of the day, other than removing regulations and giving the global super-companies a tax break, I haven't heard any real jobs plan from the GOP, including the ones with all the 'private economy' experience. And I'm disappointed that when Perry was asked about the hispanic kids getting in-state tuition his answer wasn't "We're trying to create thousands of future Marco Rubios, rather than MS13 bangers." Had he said that, which is the truth, he would have turned it around and made the point he wanted to make. It's not an immigration issue, and he wasn't effective in making the point. It's a human capital issue.