One of life’s unwritten rules is a real big one for those in the public eye – “Never get in a fight with a guy who buys ink by the barrel.” I don’t care how big you are, or how mighty you may consider yourself to be; since the beginning of time a razor-sharp newspaper editor has cut many a political candidate or losing football coach into tiny pieces. The newspaper would win every time, and the relentless attack was heightened by the fact the intended victim – with no newspaper of his own -- had no way or no “ink” to fight back.
So put me down as one who was both amused and embarrassed this weekend when the Republican National Committee, in a rather haughty fashion as those people are wont to do, unanimously approved a resolution to block both CNN and NBC from hosting its 2016 presidential debates. That is the dumbest thing these misguided morons have done since our local and state GOP leaders became a laughing stock across Tennessee after coldly snubbing the President of the United States during his recent visit to Chattanooga.
To begin, any politician who can take one breath and has an active pulse knows the news media is the main conduit for delivering the message. The late baseball Barnum, crafty Joe Engel, used to say “Whether they say good things or bad things means nothing to me – just as long as they say things!” I guarantee you Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican circus, has just blundered mightily if he thinks he is going to push around CNN or NBC.
The huge television networks can now employ the most ruthless trick in the game. They should write this Einstein a letter that would read, “Mr. Priebus, Thank you so much for allowing us to skip your party’s Presidential Debates. They are boring, expensive and totally useless. The Committee’s decision will allow us to focus on other news topics, featuring people we like. One other thing, Big Britches, you ain’t got a network, much less two. Have a happy life.” Signed CNN/NBC.”
What do you think would happen if CNN and NBC, as is their right, greatly reduced air time for the Elephant party hopefuls? At a time when the conservative voice is noticeably gasping, the network bullies could very easily make Priebus and his fellow Republicans extremely sorry for being so blatantly stupid. And when air time is now counted in 15-second increments, the very last thing the GOP needs to do is get out the brick-and-mortar, building a huge wall that the other media giants would delight in huffing and puffing to help and blow down.
Believe this, the GOP has very few friends in media circles and part of the problem is the party leaders are constantly goaded into fights, squabbles, and snarling conflicts with news reporters who find great sport in antagonizing. Look on the Internet on any given day and you’ll see it's true, from Washington D.C. all the way tiny-town politics. The new flash word in the Republican camp is “entitlement” but take a hard look at any one of them. Mercy.
The latest NRC tantrum centers around the idea that NBC and CNN are going to do some documentary, or mini-series, on the Democratic darling, Hillary Clinton, as she angles to follow Barack as President. The Republican haters fear the ministries will become an info-mercial. So what? Rather than complain, the RNC should gladly offer to help!
The NRC Christian library is chock full of Hillary tidbits and should offer them to the networks for free. Rather than fuel the fire of foolishness, the Republican leaders should realize that no conservative is going to vote for the dame, much less offer her a ride in a driving rain. Why get in a fight you don’t need, knowing you can’t win? What are these people thinking?
The Republican National Committee is up to its flappy elephant ears in problems. The Tea Party, from all I can tell, is mainly composed of miffed Republican soldiers. The other day there was a story about 20 conservative groups who want Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander to resign. With over $3 million in his war chest and absolutely no challenger in the primary or the general election to date, the belief is Lamar hasn’t had such a belly laugh since he beat Jake Butcher for Governor back in ’78.
But the more ominous point is that the Republican Party is badly fractured from within. There are now at least 20 factions we can easily identify who don’t like what is going on with Senator Alexander or the party itself. Rather than worry about CNN or NBC’s plans, the far smarter course would be for Capt. Priebus to straighten out his own Ship of Fools. A calm, steady hand is needed – not an arrogant stance towards the networks or anybody else when individual votes is what you’re after.
In the resolution adopted by the RNC, one reason given was “Whereas, Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, contributed the maximum amount to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Campaign Committee, contributed $25,000 to Obama’s 2012 Victory Fund, and this year contributed $10,000 to the Democratic National Committee … blah, blah, blah.”
Let Mr. Greenblatt be whoever he wants to be and do what he wants with his money. You can’t change people with a threat or a misguided slur. The Republicans instead should change the mindset of the nation, leading Congress out of its quagmire for all to see. Regaining respect, the party should then set about attracting young people, Hispanics, African-Americans and others who now laugh at their antiquated antics.
There is a real good reason Barack Obama is in his second term as president. The Republican Party has lost the last two elections, no matter what any detractor or believer might have to say.