RNC Chairman Reince Preibus admitted on ABC’s This Week that the threat to ban CNN and NBC from the Republican primary debates is a scam, because Republicans are afraid of debates.
Transcript from ABC News (Bold is mine):
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I think you got a standing ovation when you called for this resolution saying that there would not be any Republican debates on CNN and NBC if they continue to go forward with these documentaries and films about Hillary Clinton.
One notable dissent came from Mitt Romney’s former senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom; he had this tweet right here.
He says, “It’s bad optics for the RNC to block CNN and NBC from sponsoring presidential debates. Attacking the media is a loser’s game.”
PRIEBUS: Well, I don’t know if that Etch A Sketch’s on tilt, George. I’m not really taking advice from Eric Fehrnstrom right now. I’m trying to build a party that’s year-round. I’m trying to fix a data and digital operation, I’m trying to get a hold of a primary process and a debate debacle that, as you know, I’ve called a traveling circus.
The fact of the matter is I’ve got to protect this party and our nominees. We don’t want a whole lot of 23 debate rounds like we’ve had before. And I would just say that entities like NBC and CNN that are moving forward with four-part miniseries about Hillary Clinton are not going to take part in our debates.
Look, if you’re not going to have 23 debates, these guys are making it a lot easier for us to pare that down to a reasonable number in front of people and entities that actually give a darn about the future of the Republican Party.
Translation: The whole ban thing is just a cheap attempt to get out holding debates that will be moderated by non-conservatives in 2016. Priebus doesn’t get that setting up a Republican only debates will result in a nominating process that rewards the most extreme conservative candidates. It is like the RNC chairman is intentionally trying to devise a system that will make the Republican nominee completely unelectable. The type of system that would help Rand Paul/Ted Cruz type candidates, while penalizing moderates like Chris Christie.
This whole debate ban fiasco has been a scam from the beginning. A poorly thought out, childish, and very obvious scam. What Priebus called a circus in 2012 was a process that allowed the voters to get to know the Republican candidates. It was valuable to the voters that Mitt Romney was put into a format where he couldn’t always hide his true beliefs all of the time.
However, Priebus and the Republican Party view hiding their beliefs as their only chance at victory in 2016. Debates and transparency are a threat that must be avoided. The RNC and the Republican Party are afraid of holding honest debates moderated by non-Republicans because they don’t want to the rest of the country to know how far out of the mainstream they really are.
The Republican Party is scared of Hillary Clinton, scared of the nation’s changing demographics, and most of all they are terrified that you will find out what they really stand for.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association