GOP debates leading nowhere


Welcome to the madness that is the Republican primary debates. Queue the studio lights, the snappy one-liners and the brash accusations. The New Hampshire debates have provided TV viewers with juicy entertainment. Content? Not so much.

With the lackluster economy, ongoing wars and failing government policies, one would think that the debates would be full of solutions and ideas. Instead, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich bickered over who-said-what on a TV ad. Rick Perry rambled about Obama’s so-called “socialist agenda” and threw in the Founding Fathers for gravitas.

Criticizing the candidates is all good fun, but the most disappointing aspect of the New Hampshire debates were the questions posed by the moderators. 

The first 13 minutes of debate on Jan. 8 were spent entirely on questions such as “Is Gov. Romney electable?” and “Who is the true conservative in the race?”

Only Ron Paul had the sense to say, “You know, I think this whole discussion so far has been very superficial… you’re talking about character, which is very important, but I feel we should deal with the issues as well.” 

As the debate continued, the simpering moderator David Gregory asked questions such as “Gov. Perry, what would you say or do to make Republicans uncomfortable?” and to Sen. Santorum, “What if you had a son who came to you and said he was gay?”

Even on the Jan. 4 debate, greasy-haired moderator George Stephanopoulos asked other ludicrous questions such as, “Gov. Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception?”

This is pure absurdity! Have the moderators lost their minds? As a voter, I want to walk away from the debates knowing exactly how each candidate plans to fix the economy, balance the federal budget and improve our public schools. Stop wasting time defending voting records and decisions that have been made years ago. 

Ideology has its time and place, but let’s be realistic. Americans don’t want to hear about the history of their work ethic. They want to know how they will get a job now. 

In both New Hampshire debates, topics such as gay rights, civil unions and what defines a marriage took up enormous chunks of time. 

Same-sex marriage is just as legitimate as traditional marriage and should have the exact same benefits. Let’s put the issue to rest by making same-sex marriage legal in every state. Only then will it stop wasting precious debate time. 

It is not up to the government, nor is it the president’s job to decide such personal choices, so why does it play a huge role in the primaries? 

Stephanopoulos’ final debate question won the prize for most pointless question when he asked, “So if you weren’t here running for president, what would you be doing on a Saturday night?” 

I don’t care if Rick Perry would be at the shooting range or that Jon Huntsman would be talking to his sons. I want to know how the candidates plan to deal with Iran’s nuclear weapons.

We certainly live in strange, nonsensical times. If during a debate you feel like smashing your TV with a hammer, please know that you are not alone.