Donald Trump did not dominate the debate stage in his usual way.
Ben Carson may have put a few people to sleep.
Former GOP heavyweight hopeful Jeb Bush was badly bloodied by the counter punches of Kid Rubio.
Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina were lost in the crowd and held scoreless all night.
John Kasich yelled too much and Rand Paul continued his slow disappearing act.
But the biggest losers at CNBC’s Republican debate Wednesday night - in an embarrassing landslide - were not running for president.
They were CNBC and its three argumentative, biased and incompetent “first-string” moderators.
On Thursday morning the Drudge Report nailed it in four words when it put the headline “Shame of the Nation” under a photo of Becky Quick, Carl Quintanilla and John Harwood.
The trio and the entire debate was so pathetic CNBC’s corporate parent Comcast should quietly pull the plug on its failing business cable channel at midnight tonight, change its call letters and start showing infomercials for Snuggies 24/7.
No one would notice CNBC was gone for weeks.
Except for second-stringers Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer, the moderators’ questions were often dumb and snarky, starting with the first doozy of the night by John Harwood.
He snidely listed some of Donald Trump’s notorious campaign promises before asking, “Let’s be honest. Is this a comic-book version of a presidential campaign?”
In addition to their bad and apparently often factually challenged questions, the moderators couldn’t manage the flow of the debate or control the debaters.
They often seemed more interested in enforcing time limits than asking follow-up questions. And they quickly jumped from one issue to another after hearing from only one or two candidates.
Making it even worse, they couldn’t tell when the debate was actually producing real information about the candidates’ plans for reforming Social Security or taxes.
The liberal bias of CNBC’s moderators was no surprise.
It was a micro-example of the political bias practiced by the mainstream national news media for the last 50 years.
Harwood’s dislike of Republicans and conservatism was so obvious everyone on stage, in the audience and in living rooms across America could smell it.
Ted Cruz, Trump, Huckabee, Fiorina and Carson took advantage of the moderators’ blatant leftward tilt. They racked up easy points by slamming and shaming them, CNBC and the mainstream liberal media in general.
The big co-winners of the night for the GOP were clearly Cruz and Chris Christie. They both never swung and missed and hit several home runs.
Rubio was close behind, thanks to how easily he wiped the floor with Jeb Bush after Jeb went after Marco for his poor attendance record in the Senate.
After Rubio came Trump and then the rest. The Donald did himself no harm by being a kinder, gentler candidate and being nice to all of his fellow Republicans except ex-Ohio Governor Kasich.
Like his co-winner Christie, Cruz had his best debate yet. If before you had trouble liking Cruz, after last night you had to love him.
He earned his biggest cheers with a spontaneous rant criticizing the moderators for their gotcha questions and for trying to get the candidates to fight with each other while ignoring serious issues.
CNBC set a new low for televised political debates incompetence and biased moderators. But at least it did one thing right Wednesday night.
It did for Republicans what they have not been able to do for themselves so far this primary season. It actually unified the Republican Party, on and off the stage.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter