ABC News will not include an undercard contest during its Republican presidential debate in February, according to new criteria released from the network.
The decision threatens to cut the debate stage to as few as six candidates just three days before New Hampshire primary.
Candidates will have three avenues to make the debate stage. The top three finishers in the Iowa caucuses’ popular vote will punch a ticket to the stage, as well as any candidate polling within the top six in averages of recent New Hampshire or national polls. ABC News sources confirmed that there will not be an additional debate for those candidates who do not meet that criteria.
Well, now, this is only coming about five months too late. Heck, it's a year too late. This should have been the format all along. Anybody not in double-digits, or even mid-single-digits, in the polls after Labor Day doesn't make it onto the damned debate stage. Period. No blasted "kiddie table". At the risk of sounding like Trump, pandering to the whiny also-ran losers for this long is much of what has led us to the current Trump-induced clusterfark and Republican/conservative crackup. There's been this undercurrent assumption for the entire cycle that being considered a serious candidate and bequeathed a podium on debate stages is somehow an entitlement; hell, even being relegated to the mid-card instead of the main event has been the source of endless grousing and complaining and bitching and moaning. Here we are trying to resurrect the Constitution and the Old American Republic and we get stuck with an overpopulated mess of divas demanding their own dressing rooms.
For crying out loud, before this cycle there was never any such thing as undercard debates. Does that in and of itself not underscore how absurdly overcrowded the candidate field was allowed to get and that the RNC should have stepped in and restored some level of order and sanity from the beginning? To say nothing of how garishly unserious this entire ongoing fiasco makes the GOP look, above and beyond Trumpmania?
This is what makes me so incredulous that Jazz Shaw could write the following:
But it’s times like this when I have to remind myself that not a single vote has been cast yet. When ABC News hosts this debate there will only have been a hundred thousand or so votes cast in one of the nation’s smallest States. (Electorally speaking, anyway.) Should we be lopping a bunch of people out of what may be their best chance at some exposure to a public which is just waking up to realize there’s an election taking place?
YES!!! Yes! We! Should!, dammit. What in the blue hell business does Jim bleeping Gilmore have being on ANY debate stage? If Rand Paul (2.2%), Carly Fiorina (2.0%), Mike Huckabee (2.2%) and Rick Santorum (0.2%) haven't "broken into the top tier" by now, they're never going to, and should be shown the door in the forlorn hope that they'll finally, once and for all take the hint and get the hell out.
It's almost as bad as college basketball conference tournaments, where everybody makes the tournament plus loser's brackets, the sum total of which is to make it almost impossible for anybody to be eliminated. The next step is foregoing a single nominee in favor of a nominated team of aspiring co-presidents. Either that or everybody getting a "participant" trophy. Enough, already.
And remember, the only reason why "only" six candidates sounds like such a ruthless winnowing is because there are too damned many candidates in the first place. There would still be room for Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Carson, Bush, and Christie. and maybe Kasich, who for whatever crazy-ass reason has had a mini-surge in New Hampshire of late. And frankly that's twice as many candidates as are actually still serious at this point. It will be, frankly, the most dramatic loss of unneeded weight since I dropped sixty pounds in two months five years ago. And it will whittle down the formula for the myth of Donald Trump's dominance by opening up the "lanes" for Cruz and Rubio to rise above Trump's ceiling and most mercifully leave the loudmouthed jagov behind.
Allow me to tweak one phrase in that last paragraph; instead of "unneeded weight," I should have said "unwanted waste products":
What you’re seeing here, in other words, is the full realization of the sort of spite campaign that Bush is often accused of running in New Hampshire. Huckabee can wreck Cruz by splitting off some of his social-con support but he can’t personally benefit from doing so. In fact, watch the ad and you’ll see that no attempt is made to contrast Cruz unfavorably with Huck. Huckabee isn’t even mentioned. This is pure seek-and-destroy with Cruz in the crosshairs, and amazingly, it’s being done to benefit a candidate widely perceived as the least religious person in either field. [emphasis added]
And let's cap off that Cleveland steamer with this fetid nugget on top:
In an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday morning, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said that he had heard from other candidates “proactively” about attending the event that Trump will hold at Drake University at the same time as the debate…
Aides to the candidates did not respond to requests for comment. But Nick Ryan, a Republican operative who advises the “super PAC” supporting Huckabee, tweeted shortly after the Trump event was announced that candidates in the undercard debate, which airs before the prime-time one, should consider wandering over to Trump’s event afterward. [emphasis added]
I never liked Huckles in 2008 or Santorum in 2012. Both were single-issue socons and I don't tend to take single-issue candidates seriously, but they both seemed to go out of their way to rub me the wrong way. This is the kind of chickenshittedness that should tell you why.
Good riddance - or "LojmIt SoH qIp neH HeDaq Sa'Hut yInISQo''" in the original Klingon.
Exit quote: "Listen to Huck on the stump and you’ll hear endlessly that the way to make America great again is to install a true Christian believer who’ll fight for Christian morality as president — and yet, given the option to attack the Christian believer Cruz for not tithing or the chance to attack a guy who doesn’t know if he’s ever asked God for forgiveness and is seen as not terribly religious by a plurality of his own party, Team Huck oddly goes after … the former....Whatever happens, Huckabee’s political career is weeks, maybe days, away from ending. He might crawl on to South Carolina, convinced that a weakened Cruz will start shedding socially conservative support his way, but he’s kidding himself. He’s dying, and he’s resolved to take Cruz with him even if that means the guy who says 'Two Corinthians' ends up as nominee."