Does Anyone Really Believe Reince Priebus Is In Control Of The Clown Car

Filed in National by on November 2, 2015

No way. No how.

Via TPM:

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Monday morning said that the committee still has control over the Republican presidential debate process despite reports that the Republican campaigns want to reduce the RNC’s role.[...]

Stephanopoulos asked if the RNC expects candidates to propose changes other than demands for opening and closing statements, equal number of questions for candidates, and approval of graphics.

In response, Priebus said that the RNC won’t make changes to the debate contracts or schedules going forward.

“The ability to sanction or de-sanction a debate is with the RNC. And the candidates want that to be with the RNC because we’ve got the leverage to make that happen,” he said.

He said that he will communicate with the campaigns and “fight for what the candidates want” when they reach a consensus.

“When we started this process, we only wanted to do a few things: One, we wanted to set a reasonable calendar. We didn’t want 23 debates,” Priebus added. “We wanted some say over who the moderators were. And we did all that.”

Which is it? The RNC won’t make changes to the debate contracts or schedules, or the RNC will “fight for what the candidates want” for the debates? Or is he saying that the RNC won’t make any more changes once these yet unknown candidate conditions are implemented?

Good luck with that. This appears to be the shiny new thing in GOPland. Contest everything and whine about how everything is a plot to make you look bad. Remember the skewed polls. This is the skewed debates. And if Republican candidates can’t succeed in an environment outside of their complete control then they have proven they are incapable of holding the Office of President. Can you imagine their memo of conditions to Putin? Stop picking on us! You’re breaking the rules! We’ll only meet with you if you agree to be nice to us and not make us look bad.

Now imagine the debate between whoever they pick as their nominee and Hillary Clinton. Sheesh, you’d think they’d want practice (all of them desperately need it). You’d think they’d want to get to hone their arguments and policies. And while I wasn’t thrilled with the CNBC moderators (Hardly surprising. Hello, it was CNBC – the birth place of the Tea Party) the idea that the questions asked weren’t policy driven was nonsense.

Don’t believe me? Read this from Vox:

 “The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” Ted Cruz said with considerable disgust. “This is not a cage match.”

Cruz ticked off the insults the CNBC moderators had lobbed Wednesday night at the assembled Republicans. “Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues?”

[...]

Cruz’s attack on the moderators was smart politics — but it was almost precisely backwards. The questions in the CNBC debate, though relentlessly tough, were easily the most substantive of the debates so far. And the problem for Republicans is that substantive questions about their policy proposals end up sounding like hostile attacks — but that’s because the policy proposals are ridiculous, not because the questions are actually unfair.

Let’s look at the questions that led to Cruz’s rant:

Take the question to Trump. He wasn’t asked if he was a comic book villain. He was asked why his policies sound like “a comic book version of a presidential campaign.” And the question was specific. Moderator John Harwood asked, “Mr. Trump, you have done very well in this campaign so far by promising to build another wall and make another country pay for it. Send 11 million people out of the country. Cut taxes $10 trillion without increasing the deficit.”

Trump declined to explain how he could cut taxes by $10 trillion without increasing the deficit. Instead, he appealed to another CNBC personality for support. “Larry Kudlow, who sits on your panel, who’s a great guy, came out the other day and said, ‘I love Trump’s tax plan.'”

As for the wall, Trump didn’t get very specific there, either. “A politician cannot get them to pay. I can.” That is … not an answer.

It most certainly wasn’t an answer. Not even close. And what about the claim that the moderator implied that Ben Carson couldn’t do math? Here’s the exchange:

“You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes,” said moderator Becky Quick. “This is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I’ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this. If you were to take a 10 percent tax, with the numbers right now in total personal income, you’re gonna bring in $1.5 trillion. That is less than half of what we bring in right now. And by the way, it’s gonna leave us in a $2 trillion hole. So what analysis got you to the point where you think this will work?”

The ensuing exchange is worth quoting at length:

CARSON: The rate — the rate — the rate is gonna be much closer to 15 percent.

QUICK: 15 percent still leaves you with a $1.1 trillion hole.

CARSON: You also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. You also have to some strategically cutting in several places.

Remember, we have 645 federal agencies and sub-agencies. Anybody who tells me that we need every penny and every one of those is in a fantasy world.

So, also, we can stimulate the economy. That’s gonna be the real growth engine. Stimulating the economy — because it’s tethered down right now with so many regulations…

QUICK: You’d have to cut — you’d have to cut government about 40 percent to make it work with a $1.1 trillion hole.

CARSON: That’s not true.

QUICK: That is true, I looked at the numbers.

CARSON: When — when we put all the facts down, you’ll be able to see that it’s not true, it works out very well.

The question was extremely substantive. Carson’s answer was laughably vague. The problem here isn’t that Carson was asked whether he can do math, but that he couldn’t show that his tax plan was based on sound math. And that’s because it isn’t.

Can anyone make sense of Carson’s answer? If you can, please show your work.

Moving on…

Meanwhile, Cruz himself was also asked a substantive question. The moderators asked why he was opposing a bipartisan budget deal that would avert a debt ceiling crisis, a Medicare crisis, and a Social Security Disability Insurance crisis. Rather than answer that question, he attacked the moderators for refusing to ask substantive questions, during which he pretended a slew of unusually substantive questions were trivial political attacks.

Cruz’s strategy was smart, and he was arguably the debate’s big winner. But it bespoke a deeper weakness. Republicans have boxed themselves into some truly bizarre policies — including a set of tax cuts that give so much money to the rich, and blow such huge holes in the deficit, that simply asking about them in any serious way seems like a vicious attack. Assailing the media is a good way to try to dodge those questions for a little while, but it won’t work over the course of a long campaign.

Can someone explain how the eventual Republican nominee plans to survive the Presidential debate where their whining will be shown as the weakness it is? Do they (the nominee and The RNC) actually think they’ll be able to pull this nonsense against the Dem nominee? Are they really this clueless?

 

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Comments (6)

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  1. Jason330 says:

    A compelling price of evidence that the RNC has lost control over the Republican debate process is that the chairmen needed to release a statement claiming that the RNC still has control over the Republican debate process.

  2. “QUICK: 15 percent still leaves you with a $1.1 trillion hole.

    CARSON: You also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. You also have to some strategically cutting in several places.

    Remember, we have 645 federal agencies and sub-agencies. Anybody who tells me that we need every penny and every one of those is in a fantasy world.

    So, also, we can stimulate the economy. That’s gonna be the real growth engine. Stimulating the economy — because it’s tethered down right now with so many regulations…

    QUICK: You’d have to cut — you’d have to cut government about 40 percent to make it work with a $1.1 trillion hole.

    CARSON: That’s not true.”

    ————

    Cutting 40% of the federal gov’t would avoid it falling into a $1+ trillion hole. But he also wants to “stimulate the economy” whatever the hell that means. Typically, economic stimulus in this country has been in the form of tax rebate checks mailed to taxpayers, or increase spending on social welfare programs. Both of which utilize tax money. So cut 40% to avoid going into a hole, then cut MORE to do another round of economic stimulus. So he’s vaguely proposing to slice the federal gov’t in half, put ~1.5 million people out of work (+ however many contractors would find themselves unemployed) and somehow stimulate the economy?

    What the actual hell?

    GOP still bad at the maths.

  3. bamboozer says:

    The Republicans are stuck in Reagan World, where tax cuts are magic and provide “rocket fuel for the economy”. At some point nearly 40 years of a poor quality lie tend to catch up with you, over the top claims or not. As for Cruz I missed his bravura performance, so much the pity. The 2016 Republican primary strongly resembles the 2012 primary with a new assortment of clowns, they tried to avoid it and predictably failed. I admit I have not watched a single debate, and yet feel I have missed nothing.

  4. Jason330 says:

    Republicans? In spite of copious evidence that tax cuts are not the droids they are looking for, many Democrats continue to be fooled by the GOP’s jedi mind trick.

  5. Liberal Elite says:

    It’s actually pretty obvious what is happening here.

    There are candidates who want the debates to end.

    They plan to use the most recent debate as a straw dog for making ridiculous demands that will need to be rejected, or that, in effect, will destroy the debates.

    Since future debates will most likely diminish Trump and Carson, you should expect to see them to be leading the charge…

    Expect to see no more debates, or expect see a series of campaign speeches that mascaraed as a debate.

  6. mouse says:

    There’s not a republican policy, dogma or slogan that stands up to critical analysis