A few words on last night’s unpleasant Republican primary debate

Republican debate moderators Megan KellyI watched the first 40 minutes and then stopped.  My problem was the moderators, who I thought were dreadful.  (Since I read my news and don’t watch it, I approached them with an open mind, since I had no idea what shtick each brought to the table.)  I wanted to hear substantive answers on pressing issues, and they were playing “gotcha.”  Watching the moderator/candidate interactions was unpleasant and, I quickly realized, a complete waste of my time.

I found particularly reprehensible the fact that they gave Rubio and Cruz only a minute to respond to those gotcha videos on immigration.  I prefer Cruz’s immigration stance to Rubio’s, but it was an insult to both men to force them to distill complex ideas and actions down to a single minute in the face of out-of-context video clips.  The tone of the debate was such that I expected to see everyone “perp walked” off the stage with reporters shouting questions at them about their future prison of choice.

The low, hostile, tabloid tone was especially disappointing because I’d hoped that Trump’s absence would clear the air and allow for a more substantive and meaningful debate.

Oh, and a couple of things since I’ve mentioned Trump:  I’ve begun to figure out that we’re wrong when we fete Trump as a man who is not a slave to political correctness.  It’s true that he has no time for political correctness, but it’s also becoming clear that he enjoys humiliating, demeaning, and insulting anyone who doesn’t bow down before him.  That many of his insults run counter to political correctness is refreshing, but just as many insults are gratuitous slaps that run counter to good manners and human decency.

Finally, since Trump is again raising Cruz’s Canadian birth, the fact is that Cruz has never had to apply for citizenship in America.  Under American law, he was an American citizen ab initio (that is, from the moment he was born).  That’s good enough for me.

And no, I’m not being hypocritical about Obama’s birth question.  My frequently stated feeling all along about Obama is that he was born in Hawaii, but that the father’s name on his birth certificate isn’t “Barack Obama, Sr.” or, possibly, he was born out-of-wedlock with no father listed at all — which isn’t a big deal now, but was a big deal then.  What bugged me is that I strongly believe that Obama pretended for years to be Kenyan born in order to take advantage of a so-called “exotic” background.  If indeed he did list on his college applications that he was Kenyan by nationality, that should have been a subject for debate.  Cruz has never claimed to be anything but an American.