The GOP Presidential Debate hosted by NBC and Politico at the Reagan Library should be the last time Republicans agree to a debate run by anyone remotely associated with MSNBC. When Brian Williams and John Harris weren't rephrasing far left talking points into "gotcha" questions, they were asking some variant of "Why do you want to unseat the greatest President ever?"
To their credit, most of the candidates - read "everyone but Ron Paul" - did a good job of turning the questions into opportunities to attack Obama and his failed Presidency. There were a few times when the candidates took some shots at each other, but they basically stayed on message throughout.
The weirdest part of the night came when Telemundo journalist Jose Diaz-Balart was introduced to ask the candidates questions about immigration.
It was puzzling. Diaz-Balart wasn't seated at the table with the other moderators. The moderators stopped asking questions and made a little production of introducing him as the guy who would be asking about immigration. What was that all about?
Are white talking heads like Williams and Harris not qualified to ask questions about immigration in the United States? What exactly did Diaz-Balart bring to the table that couldn't be handled by the official moderators? Why pull this stunt? Did MSNBC and Politico think they could throw the candidates off by having a latino ask them about immigration policy?
If that was the plan, it failed. Again, all the candidates stayed on message and gave the standard answers: Lock down the border first and then deal with the illegal immigrants who are already here. Well, almost
all the candidates - Ron Paul started talking about the border fence being used to keep people in the US and thankfully his time ran out before he could complete the thought.
From my perspective, trotting out the token hispanic was really patronizing. "We're going to turn to immigration. Oh, hey! Jose, you're hispanic aren't you? Why don't you ask about illegal immigrantion and see what these non-hispanics have to say about it?" Really, was it more than that? A little pat on the head to the hispanic media and then a "Thanks, you can leave now, Jose" when he was done?
Leftist outlets like MSNBC are obsessed with race. They see everything through that prism. You'd be hard pressed to go a day without them working the race angle into at least one news item. We've seen them create race issues where none exist (I'm looking at you Ed Schultz). It's a constant drumbeat.
This obsession with race and the overzealous desire to seem inclusive and tolerant actually makes them come off as gimmicky and desperate. Whatever MSNBC was hoping to accomplish with this stunt failed. And I say this as an hispanic myself.