So now that the RNC has run away from the next debate, which was to be held on NBC, the slot has been taken by Democrats unafraid of tough questions, and the cowardly GOP suitably chastised by President Obama, Glenn Beck has seen a chance to make himself relevant again.
That’s right. Glenn Beck, the man who has brought the art of self-delusion to new heights, wants to host the next debate.
The Blaze announced yesterday that Beck sent an open letter to Reince Priebus at the RNC “requesting to Host a ‘New Kind of Debate’ If Beck gets his way, TheBlaze TV will host the ninth scheduled GOP presidential debate on Feb. 26, 2016.
According to Beck,
The Republican National Committee has been forced to watch candidates and voters being shortchanged in the first debates. Traditional mainstream media has treated the debates as comedies, as propaganda, and as ratings and revenue opportunities, even as they mock conservative candidates. It’s an outrage, and we know you feel the same way.
So now asking questions and – expecting cogent answers – is “mocking.” Well, when you give the answers you give…
Yet according to Beck, speaking to Bill O’Reilly last night, the debate isn’t fair unless the moderators would actually vote for one of the candidates on the stage, because if they wouldn’t do that, it means they can’t relate to the people they are asking the questions of.
Yes. Beck said that. And no. It makes no sense at all. Because Beck.
With that in mind, Beck told the RNC that his network is “prepared to produce a new kind of debate, in both substance and distribution.” Enough with the pretense of neutral moderators! Beck promises to invite the “greatest new conservative thinkers and media voices” in the country to question the candidates:
Our plan is straightforward. Rather than being moderated by journalists who ask all the questions, I will host, and I will invite the greatest new conservative thinkers and media voices in America to prepare and ask questions live and by video. Our panel will offer the candidates an opportunity to discuss substantial issues of importance with authentic answers that are thoughtful and elevating to the entire party.
And no sound bites on Beck’s debate: “We know all of the candidates, for example, broadly support Second Amendment rights,” Beck wrote. “We don’t need to hear sound bites reaffirming that.”
And why ask pesky questions that might bring up such unsavory subjects as gun violence?
Somehow, Beck thinks airing the debate on TheBlaze TV will make the GOP a big-tent party again, that this is a process that has taken place against their wishes:
It’s no secret that my audience and I want to see the Republican Party once again live as the “big tent” for conservative ideals, and we have felt at times excluded from that process.
Well, self-delusion springs eternal.
Beck promises Priebus that “Our body of questions and responses will become a digital library of conservative thought to guide voters as they make critical choices in the months ahead.”
As though other debates are not. The only real difference is that nobody will be asking any hard questions in Beck’s debate. Sound bites? The debate promises to be one prolonged sound bite.
And guess what? Bill O’Reilly agrees, telling Beck on The O’Reilly Factor last night, “I Hope You Get It … I Hope They Do It.”
GLENN BECK: Bill, we wrote a letter from The Blaze today offering to do the ninth debate in February. We’d like to do it in a very, very different way. First of all, we are all — almost all digital, and so this is would be one that would appeal to the millennials. It would go all — you know, all digital, all online. We also have the network, radio, and television that we could cover. But I want to — what I want to do is, I want to bring people — and I say like because I haven’t asked him — but people like Peter Thiel or Elon Musk to ask questions about the future of the economy.
BILL O’REILLY: All right, so you would bring in some people, but you, Glenn Beck, would moderate it —
O’REILLY: And I hope you get it. I hope — I hope they do it.
No doubt Bill sees himself as one of those great conservative minds to be invited by Beck to question the candidates. From inside the echo-chamber of Republican politics, this no doubt seems attractive.
It is difficult to see, however, how any of this could make the Republican Party look good. Running away from questions is not inspiring. Sure, the new format would be “safe” if Beck keeps his promise, but we already know the base is going to vote Republican. The new format will do nothing to sway independents and may actually turn off moderates.
And it will make the GOP more of a laughingstock than ever before, if that is possible.
According to Beck in his letter to Priebus, a debate on TheBlaze TV means it will be “meaningful, thoughtful and responsive to the issues of … all Americans.”
No doubt Priebus will be at least tempted to seize on this fiction of concern for “all Americans” rather than the fragile egos of Republican presidential hopefuls, as a way out of the dilemma the GOP has created for itself. The have spent the past few days, after all, on Fox and elsewhere, casting themselves as the victims because their ill-thought-out extremism, completely divorced from reality, just doesn’t sell.
How far divorced from reality are they?
We’re about to find out, America.