As we head into an extremely important midterm election that will decide who controls the Senate, CNN’s State of the Union decided that they would give an inordinate amount of airtime to the Republican Party. In the show’s last broadcast before Tuesday’s elections, host Candy Crowley spent the majority of the time interviewing Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and former Secretary of State James Baker. The entire first half of the program was devoted to an extended interview with Paul, despite the fact that Paul was also scheduled to appear on two other Sunday shows (NBC’s Meet the Press and CBS’s Face the Nation).
In what could only be described as a fawning tribute to Paul and his potential Presidential run in 2016, Crowley spent most of the time in her interview with the Republican Senator providing him with setup questions so he could make his case that he is a populist who is interested in transforming the GOP. While she would ask topical questions of Paul regarding Ebola and Ferguson, she didn’t really grill Paul. Instead, she allowed him to respond with prepared answers with nary a tough follow-up to be found. In essence, the ‘interview’ was nothing more than an extended campaign commercial for Paul and Republicans.
Showing her true colors, Crowley discussed the midterm elections with Paul. She asked Paul if he felt that the elections would be a referendum on President Obama’s policies and his general unpopularity if the GOP takes over the Senate. As one would expect, Paul felt that the elections were all about the President. Crowley then jumped in and agreed with Paul.
CROWLEY: Let’s talk about 2014. You have been out and about, more than 30 states, as I understand it. Will the Republicans take over control of the Senate?
PAUL: I think, in all likelihood, yes. I think the wind’s at our back. I think this election is going to be a referendum on the president. Even he acknowledged his policies will be on the ballot, and he will be indirectly on the ballot.
And there’s a great deal of unhappiness that feels like our country, that he promised he would be beyond things, that he was going to be a uniter, not a divider. But, you know, I called him a month ago, and I said, Mr. President, I will work with you on criminal justice. What I want you to do is try to help me bring American profit home, so we can create jobs here.
He voted for this in 2005, lower the tax rate, bring money home, create jobs. It’s a win-win for everybody, both parties. But I was disappointed that he chose to attack American corporations, attack American business, instead of saying, you know what? I will help you bring jobs home and we will do it together.
CROWLEY: You are right. Certainly, there are a lot of circumstances that, if you’re a Democrat, you’re looking at them and think, you know, unpopular president. History is generally against the party that has a president in a midterm that holds the Oval Office.
Later on in the interview, Crowley let Paul slide on a complete contradiction. While talking about his ideas in comparison with Democrats and liberals, Paul claimed that the high tax rates and “big government way” in the United States was leading to companies doing business in places like Canada and Europe. However, Paul and other Republicans have constantly railed against European Socialism, claiming that Obama has tried to lead the country down that path. Below is the exchange between him and Crowley.
CROWLEY: So, why did do you this? Why did you make such a big effort, if not to set up a presidential run?
PAUL: Well, I won’t deny that it would help me, if I do decide to run for president, to have traveled to 32 states and to be part of helping the Republican team on board.
But I also do it because, whether I run or not — and I haven’t decided — but whether I run or not, I do want the Republican Party to be bigger and more successful, because I think our philosophy will help the country more. I think we have tried the big government way. We have tried the big tax way. We have tried all these regulations, but we’re suffering now because companies are actually fleeing America.
It’s actually better to do business in Canada in many ways than America. It’s better to do business in Europe than America. We have to change that. And the Democrats have said oh, no, we don’t care. We’re just going to call American companies unpatriotic.
That, to me, is a disaster for us, and people should reject that wholesale.
Not one follow-up question from Crowley regarding his apparent contradiction regarding Socialism and high tax rates. Apparently, versions of Socialism are fine for Canada and European countries, since businesses are leaving the States to set up shop in those countries. At the very least, Crowley could have said to Paul, “Don’t those countries have generally higher tax rates and more liberal, socialized governments than we do?” Or even perhaps, “Does this mean you support universal health care, like in those countries, which is one reason companies move there?” Instead, nothing. Crowley just allowed Paul to use her show as free advertising for the GOP and his likely Presidential run.
Considering that she was going to devote so much time to Paul, you’d think that Crowley would have pushed for a Democrat or non-partisan guest to follow. Nope. The next guest was Baker, who served as Secretary of State under the first President Bush, as well as Chief of Staff under Bush and President Reagan. While Crowley seemed to have a more constructive and fair conversation with Baker, it still was telling that the shows one-on-one interviews, prior to a huge election, were devoted to Republicans.
The show ended with a panel discussion. The panel was fairly divided between Democrats and Republicans. However, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, a Republican, dominated the discussion, seemingly with help from Crowley. Watching the entire show, you got a sense that CNN and Crowley were pushing the likelihood of a Republican mandate in Washington and portraying the Democratic Party as floundering. Whenever you hear about liberal media bias, I always wonder where it’s at. Because I’m certainly not seeing it!
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).