GOP Candidates Frightened Away From Scary Debates They Can’t Control

The Republican field of presidential primary candidates are cowering together to formulate a new debate process that isn’t so darn frightening to them. Following the debacle on CNBC, they are taking steps to insure that such ghastly encounters are avoided in the future in favor of more friendly frolics through the political pastures of pussy willows and wingnut trees.

Republican Debate

The Republicans spent two hours Wednesday night whining about how the debate questions were framed. They had some justification, but they carried it so far as to dodge even the substantive questions, using their frothy indignation as an excuse. Immediately afterward they went into high hysterics over what they asserted was a fiendish plot by commie instigators to tarnish them and their party. But accusing the Wall Street defenders at CNBC of being ultra-liberal conspirators against these poor, dumbfounded conservatives smacks of severe mental breakdown.

Now the GOP contenders are planning to huddle together to come up with a new debate format that better suits their needs. They intend to address how they might take more control over the process, diminish the role of the Republican National Committee, and decide how the debates are conducted, including the selection of moderators. It’s an unprecedented initiative to transform what is supposed to be an open dialog that provides voters with an informative look at the candidates, into a PR vehicle that functions more like propaganda.

The RNC, which is taking some heat from the candidates, had already barred MSNBC from hosting any debates when they originally published their schedule back in January. That admission of fear has now escalated as the RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, advised NBC today that the one debate they had scheduled (Fox News has four), in partnership with Telemundo, has been “suspended,” whatever that means. So the RNC intends to punish NBC for the perceived wrongs committed by a separate unit of the Comcast/NBC family, And in the process they are also risking their only access to a minority audience, via Telemundo, that the GOP desperately needs to make inroads with. Will Republicans make demands as to who will moderate or what can be asked in order to lift the suspension? Well, Priebus is now saying that “Every debate on the calendar is going to be reevaluated, reset — look at the format, the moderators, everything,”

What really makes this whole phony controversy ridiculous is that it doesn’t benefit any political party to impose such strict demands. First of all, if they get their wish and appear before “friendly” moderators like Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh (as Ted Cruz actually suggested last night on Hannity’s show), they might find the questioning even more damaging. The rightist Taliban, as represented by Limbaugh et al, will be more likely to force candidates to stake out extreme positions which they will be unable to “Etch-a-Sketch” away after the primaries. The wingnut media are notoriously committed to the sort of ideological purity that voters find repugnant. What’s more, even if they got the sympathetic treatment they desire, it would only result in the candidates being woefully unprepared for the full-contact combat they will eventually encounter in the general election.

If Republicans go through with this dictatorial mission to force news networks to obey their commands, the networks must refuse to participate and decline to broadcast any such manipulated program. In fact, networks that aren’t directly affected should also boycott the Republican debates in solidarity with the independence of the press. It would be a journalistic atrocity to submit to such interference in the role of the media. If Republicans want a fully scripted television farce, let them buy the time like any other telemarketer.

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In the end, what Republicans are proposing now is not only hostile to freedom of the press, it is also horribly bad judgment with regard to their own interests. It will leave their candidates unprepared for debates with Democrats, and mired in ultra-rightist ideologies that will alienate voters. And if that weren’t enough, it also reveals them to be afraid of being exposed to the sort of tough questions that will occur throughout any political campaign. And if they can’t handle a few questions from reporters, how will they ever handle Vladimir Putin and ISIS?


10 thoughts on “GOP Candidates Frightened Away From Scary Debates They Can’t Control

  1. They really are as stupid as they look. Don’t their advisers know anything about debate? High school debates team know more of what’s effective than these trolls. What they want are questions that allow them to pontificate about their individual beliefs and they couldn’t care less if that’s not what serious voters want to hear. CNBC did a rather good job for the most part. I suspect Priebus and the RNCC made a mistake in planning so many debates. This crowd has really nothing more to say and none of them is clever enough to find new ways of saying the same old same old. I’ve watched the first half hour of each debate, just to gauge the tone and was nauseous and turn them off. I did the same with the Democratic debate but was proud of the showing that the top three made. The two who were cowed had not truly mounted campaigns of any substance and withdrew shortly after. But Hillary and Bernie done good! Notice how Democrats use first names with their top two; Repugnants don’t—you hear Cruz, Rubio, Trump, Carson, Huckabee, but you don’t hear Ted, Marco, Donald, Ben, and Huckster used praisingly. Interesting.

  2. In 2012 there were three post-convention general election debates, Dem vs. Republican.

    As far into the wingnutosphere as the GOP candidates have rocketed, do you really think the 2016 GOP nominee will even agree to debate the Dem nominee? Don’t bet on it. Today’s GOP doesn’t want Americans to see them as they really are; they’d prefer to show America a scripted, pre-approved puppet of propaganda.

  3. And when the Dems refuse to attend a debate on Fox, they accuse the Dems of being afraid. Other side of the coin, it’s just self protection or whatever it was RNC BS [ReiNCe prieBuS] actually said. Sure we can’t just keep them on Fox where they belong so none of us have to pay attention to them any more?

  4. CNBC’s moderators sucked. The obvious low point was when John Smallwood kept insisting Sen. Rubio’s tax plan wouldn’t benefit lower wage earners. Rubio pointed out that Smallwood had already been corrected on the details. Then there was the question about fantasy football. Chris Christie’s smackdown of that question was fabulous.

    • Rubio tried to reframe the question, which was about the middle class, to being about the poor, so he could avoid giving an answer he didn’t want to give. Fat bastard didn’t like the fantasy football question because of his ties to NJ gaming.

      • No, Gov. Christie disliked the question because the question was stupid. And thank you for reminding everybody how full of hate left-wingers are with your “fat bastard” name-calling.

    • The fantasy football question? Fair enough, that was a silly question. But what these candidates are doing is complaining that they got asked tough questions. I watched that debate and, fantasy football aside, it was pitched at about the same level as the Democratic debate. They’re complaining that the media is actually doing the media’s job and asking them hard questions. The hosts weren’t biased, the candidates actively want the hosts to be biased in their favor.

  5. Chickens one and all. If they cant handle CNBC how will they handle ISIS? Oh thats right theyll send other peoples kids!

  6. I don’t see why Republican candidates shouldn’t be allowed to submit the questions they will be asked during debates. Nobody in their right mind is going to vote for them anyhow.

  7. The first response of this group of conserva-fascists is to try and control the outcome. If they don’t like the questions THEN TOO BAD. No one is making them attend these debates; no one is making them run for president. Quit whining or shut up and go home.

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