In the third GOP debate, the ideological hostility was painstakingly obvious. As Peggy Noonan writes in the WSJ, the browbeating and interruptions were meant to throw candidates off course.
Since Chris Christie has called climate change undeniable, asked Mr. Harwood, what would he do about it? Mr. Christie said his solutions would not be the usual Democratic ones involving more taxes and more power to Washington.
“What should we do?” Mr. Harwood pressed.
“What we should do is invest in all types of energy, John—”
“You mean government?” Harwood interrupted.
Christie: “I got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude.”
The CNBC moderators seemed intent on trivializing the field. Here’s how Ted Cruz pushed back at John Haywood’s obnoxious tone:
The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match. And if you look at the questions—“Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?” “Ben Carson, can you do math?” “John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?” “Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?” “Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?” How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?”
He continued, over a moderator/interrupter: “I’m not finished yet. The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, “Which of you is more handsome and why?”
Again he barreled past an interrupter: “Let me be clear. The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate.”
Pressed to answer the original question, Mr. Cruz said he’d be happy to. But Mr. Harwood turned to another candidate.
“So you don’t want to hear the answer, John?” Mr. Cruz challenged.
“You used your answer on something else,” said Mr. Harwood, curtly.
Read more here from Peggy Noonan, who urges future moderators to be tough, to be incisive, “but don’t be a high-handed snot, don’t wear your bias on your sleeve.”