The curious “thinking” of Republicans continues

You might think, if you are a leader of a political party, that you would seek as much air time on television and radio as possible. You might also think that it would be beneficial to your party if your candidates were able to penetrate the airwaves that traditionally are filled with information from and about opposing parties.

The operative word in the sentences is “think.” At the risk of sounding too judgmental, it strikes me that Republicans frequently have trouble rendering decisions that require real thinking rather than impulsive action based on beliefs that are likely founded on little or no reason.

Looking for a report on recent Republican actions that is “fair and balanced,” we got our latest information from Fox News.

The Republican National Committee has voted to boycott any presidential primary debates primary debates planned by CNN and NBC if they proceed with lengthy television features on Hillary Clinton, widely expected to be a 2016 Democratic candidate.

Okay, if I have this correct, the RNC (Republican National Committee) is going to try to prevent Republican candidates running for president from participating in debates sponsored by either CNN or NBC because those two networks will be presenting documentaries or docudramas about Hillary Clinton who may or may not be the 2016 Democratic nominee for president. Or as Fox further reports:

The RNC claims that a Clinton-themed documentary and a separate miniseries — in the works from CNN and NBC, respectively — will put a “thumb on the scales” in the upcoming 2016 presidential election.

The draft resolution, obtained by Fox News in advance and later voted on by RNC officials, calls on CNN and NBC to cancel what it describes as “political ads masked as unbiased entertainment.”

There are several assumptions that the RNC makes that are highly questionable. First they assume that the programs on Hillary Clinton will be slanted favorably towards her. We all know that she has plenty of baggage in the closet and it wouldn’t take much for either or both of the television networks to go for the ratings by promoting the films as “tell-alls” about Ms. Clinton. The RNC potentially could be biting the hand that feeds it.

Secondly, both CNN and NBC have millions of regular viewers. They may not tune in to watch a Republican debate on Fox but would likely watch it on more mainstream networks such as these two. But Fox reports:

Even before the Clinton dispute, Republican leaders favored plans to have fewer presidential debates with more friendly moderators. They believe their 2012 presidential candidates spent too much time beating up on each other in last year’s months-long primary season, contributing to Mitt Romney’s loss.

“Our party should not be involved in setting up a system that encourages the slicing and dicing of candidates over a long period of time with moderators that are not in the business of being at all concerned about the future of our party,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told reporters.

The RNC may well be right that in the 2012 presidential debates Republicans spent too much time beating up on each other. But it is doubtful that such conduct had anything to do with the questions that were asked by reporters. The RNC may also be correct that the debate moderators are not concerned about the future of their party. However, the RNC fails to ask the obvious question, “Is it the job of debate moderators to concern themselves about the well-being of the Republican Party?”

Finally, it is not beyond the realm of possibility for a television network to incorporate a little bit of revenge into its decisions. Ideally CNN and NBC would not have any of their programming affected by a possible boycott, but it’s quite conceivable that anyone along the chain of command could work to shade these networks’ coverage as deliberately anti-Republican.

One of the key challenges for the Republican Party is to stop making decisions that actually sound like jokes and instead to actually be serious about public policy. They claimed that they learned a lot from their experiences in 2012 yet with decisions like the boycott, they make us all wonder.