Friday, August 16, 2013

Reince redux...

As promised by chairman Reince Prieebus, the Republican National Committee has voted unanimously to not allow CNN and NBC to host presidential primary debates among hopefuls for the Republican nomination during the 2016 presidential primary season.

In an AP story, Priebus is quoted as saying, "Our party should not be involved in setting up a system that encourages the slicing and dicing of candidates over a long period of time with moderators that are not in the business of being at all concerned about the future of our party."

Ummm, Reince?

It is not the job of debate moderators to be "concerned about the future of" the Republican party, or the Democratic party, or any other political party. Instead, their job is to make sure that the voting public has an opportunity to learn where all the candidates from all the parties stand on the issues. The whole point of the debates, at least from this voter's point of view, is to show where the candidates stand on the issues so that the voters can make an informed choice when they enter the voting booth to cast their ballots.

What Reince and the RNC are really concerned about here is making sure that whoever ends up getting the nomination, and therefore all of the candidates running in the Republican party's primaries, are not asked any tough questions and are not embarrassed in front of a national audience. As far as I'm concerned, this is the responsibility of the individual candidates, who need to not say and do embarrassing things and instead make sure they are educated on the issues and are able to talk about their positions on those issues. This goes for the candidates of all parties, not just the Republican candidates.

The problem we have here is that Reince doesn't actually want Republican candidates to answer any questions about their positions on the substantive issues. All he cares about is putting a Republican in the White House. Which, I suppose, is his job. But...and this is a huge is not his job to game the system in order to achieve this. And that is exactly what Reince and the RNC are doing - attempting to game the system.

The vote today by the RNC is a big step in that effort, in that keeping CNN and NBC out of the debates is part of the effort to choose debate moderators who won't ask any hard questions of Republican candidates. But it isn't their only move in this process. This is also why debate audiences (and, in truth, it isn't just the Republicans who use this particular tactic) are packed with individuals who will only cheer anything any of their candidates say and, if audience questions are taken by the candidates, the questioners and their questions are vetted ahead of time to make sure that they serve the party rather than the voters. This is also why the Republican party has been introducing legislation in many states that attempts to do things like require voters to present photo ID in order to be able to vote, to limit or eliminate early voting, and similar measures that limit access to voting for groups - the poor, the elderly, students, and minorities - that traditionally do not vote Republican.

It's clear to me that the Republican leadership doesn't want to win elections fairly. Instead, they want to win by any means necessary, even if those means are unfair, dishonest, and against everything I was taught that the United States stands for.

The thing that makes me really angry and sad is that the RNC doesn't even seem to be interested in hiding the fact that they are attempting to game the system.

Instead they, and especially Reince Priebus, seem to be proud of what they're doing.

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