GOP presidential debates only seem to be getting worse

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson meets with supporters during a book signing of his book, “A More Perfect Union,” on Oct. 19, 2015 at Barnes and Noble in Waco, Texas.

Riley Youngman

For those of you that spent your Saturday night indoors watching the latest installment of “Older, mostly white guys yelling at each other,” (uh, the GOP debate, I mean) then you happened to witness the greatest moment on the campaign trail thus far.

As I settled in for a long night of civil, constructive debate (hah), a greasy double cheeseburger in one hand and a case of PBR at my feet, I did not have to wait long for the entertainment to begin. In fact, I didn’t even have to wait for the debate to start before I had my first moment of genuine laughter.

The presidential hopefuls were set to enter the arena one by one following the loud speaker announcement of their names—a seemingly simple plan, or so one would think.

Chris Christie managed to take his spot without a problem, but Dr. Ben Carson blew his entrance in a spectacular manner.

Carson made his way backstage, but somehow didn’t hear his name called, and hung back just out of sight. The cameras found him and he gave a small wave, but he stood his ground.

Ted Cruz strode past Carson on his way out as the cameras caught a stage manager making his best efforts to usher Carson out.

Trump emerged from behind the scenes, but took a stand next to Carson before going on stage, even appearing to whisper “They messed up,” in an attempt to comfort the confused Carson. Rubio marched past the two, and Jeb Bush claimed one of his few victories of the night when he took his podium, giving Trump a pat, and a shrug as walked by, all with a boyish mischievous smirk.

Carson and Trump eventually found their way to the stage, but only after Dr. Ben Carson performed the best Dr. Ben Carson impression I have seen yet—a truly flawless performance.

The real kicker came with the moderators forgetting to call John Kasich. Had one of the candidates not asked to introduce Kasich themselves, he likely would have been forced to walk awkwardly to his podium unannounced—a subtle homage to Kasich’s current poll numbers.

I was in disbelief and joy. I had just witnessed an event that is supposed to help determine who the next leader of the free world will be start with what looked like the production value of a poorly directed high school play.

“I thought maybe you thought I already had dropped out,” Carson joked later, possibly jabbing at Ted Cruz coming after allegations Cruz wrongfully told Iowans Carson had dropped out of the race the night of the Iowa Caucus.

For a moment, I felt bad for Carson. It was one of those moments in which you feel simultaneously embarrassed and sympathetic for the man you’re watching.

The debate itself proved less entertaining, but there were still highlights.

Chris Christie came out guns a blazing—and I’m speaking strictly metaphorically, just to clarify (because you never know with this group)—and relentlessly tore into Rubio throughout the night.

Rubio was not prepared for the onslaught he encountered on stage, or at least, and he finished the night with losing the momentum he had been gaining since Iowa.

Perhaps the train wreck of an entrance is a fitting metaphor for the current GOP field, or perhaps an ominous sign for Carson in this week’s New Hampshire primary. With so much controversy surrounding the campaign, and the growing discontent with the current candidates across the country, the focus on this debate should have been on content. But it unfortunately it was not.

Even GOP leaders have admitted this current pool of contenders has its flaws. Between Donald Trump’s exuberant nature, Ted Cruz’s extreme views and Jeb “Please Clap” Bush’s failure to connect with the American people, the GOP is struggling.

As primary season rolls on, and the field of candidates grows smaller, the GOP can only hope the dust begins to settle and the party establishes legitimacy in place of the ridicule it faces now.

Maybe all of this was nothing but a small stage error and I’m looking way to hard into all of this. But what’s the fun in that? No matter what though, Carson is surely hoping his voters can hear their GPS directions on their way to vote for him Tuesday.

The opinions expressed in Youngman’s column do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff.

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