To me, “Reince Priebus” sounds like a vegetable that I don’t like. But in fact, he is just the head of the RNC. And although I don’t like him, he is entertaining. But I only say that because I’m not a Republican. If I were, I would feel the same way toward him as I did when Joe Lieberman said, “The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”
After weeks of whining about a couple of Hillary Clinton biopics, Priebus and his RNC voted unanimously to not allow NBC or CNN to host any Presidential primary debates in 2016. This is just silly. It is likely that Clinton herself is none too unhappy about these biopics that, regardless of how positive they are toward her, will bring up all kinds of negative history. So I would think that the RNC would wait to see what kind of portrait the networks produce before it goes nuts.
Just this morning, I wrote about how the Republican establishment is concerned about what is happening to the party. But if the RNC isn’t part of the establishment, I don’t know what is. And this behavior is over the top. Priebus sounds like a petulant school boy. NBC News reported this morning:
In other words, “We’re grabbing our toys and taking them home!”
Steven Benen’s analysis is exactly correct, “In case this isn’t already obvious, excluding major news organizations and replacing journalists with right-wing media personalities at debates is a great idea if Republicans intend to have a nice conversation with themselves.” The concern of the RNC is not entirely (or even primarily) about the sin of news agencies doing things they don’t countenance. There is a real concern that having the mainstream press involved in the primaries causes the candidates to pander to much to the middle and not enough to the conservative base of the party.
Look, I understand this idea. People in a political party should have the chance to vote for candidates who really represent their views and not just people who are considered viable in a general election. And this has been a problem for the Democratic Party for decades. But it isn’t a problem for the Republican Party. During the 2012 primaries, the debates became a bidding war to see who could be the most “severe” conservative.
What this whole circus illustrates is that the Republican Party has come full circle. After it lost the 2008 election, the most extreme elements in the party started pushing the idea that the party had lost because it was not conservative enough. This led to ridiculous statements like, “I think conservatism is a great idea; we ought to try it!” But after the pounding in 2012, even Reince Priebus was talking about change. In the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project report that he commissioned, it said, “The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself.” That was last December. So that idea lasted for 8 months and now he thinks it is best that the party go back to just talking to itself.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! Get your tickets for a once in two century event. Not since the start of the 1800s has anyone gotten to see the disintegration of a major American political party. Even the Civil War couldn’t do it! But now is the time. Watch as the Republican Party purges its apostates! Experience the Republicans turning inward and becoming the pure old white people’s party! Thrill to the GOP’s plummeting vote totals! But don’t wait. This rare event will be over before you know it and you won’t want to miss it. You’ll tell your grandchildren, “I was there when the Republican Party disintegrated!” And you’ll be right, if you step right up, ladies and gentlemen! Get your tickets…