Rightbloggers Plan Big for GOP Success: Less Debate Coverage, 10 New Constitutional Amendments, and the Guy from Duck Dynasty
Every so often rightbloggers look at their cause and their Party and chart a new course of action to guide them back to victory. Though their efforts have of late been about as successful as those of Wrong-Way Peachfuzz, you can't say they're quitters, nor that they aren't willing to try bold ideas to reverse their electoral stasis.
Last week they got excited about these: Improving their messaging on a national scale by excluding two major networks from their 2016 primary debates; amending the Constitution to undo the damage done by voters; and running a guy from Duck Dynasty for Congress.
The Republican National Committee last week moved to exclude CNN and NBC from Republican Presidential debate sponsorship if the networks didn't cancel plans for shows about 2016 Democratic front-runner presumptive Hillary Clinton. (CNN's is a documentary; NBC's is a made-for-TV movie starring Diane Lane.)
The RNC resolution says the networks' planned Hillary programming "amounts to little more than extended commercials promoting former Secretary Clinton" meant to "put a thumb on the scales for the next presidential election," and demanded the networks "cancel the airing of these political ads masked as unbiased entertainment," or no Republican debates for them.
This isn't as nose-cutting nor face-spiting as it looks; some observers have noticed that the GOP leadership, having seen the negative effect of dozen of debates featuring loony second-tier candidates during the 2012 campaign, has been trying to limit the number of intra-party debates anyway, and this is a good excuse to do so, with the added benefit of sticking a thumb in the eye of the Lieberal Media, which the GOP base enjoys -- as demonstrated by the reactions of rightbloggers.
"Agree with this and glad we're doing it," said The Right Scoop. "It seems as if the [Party chairman Reince] Priebus and the RNC have decided to take of the white gloves and go 'mano a mano' with the Democrats and their cohorts," said Javier Manjarres of The Shark Tank. "Score one for the Republicans."
At FrontPageMag, Arnold Ahlert explained that "the RNC's spinelessness" in 2012 allowed Democratic operatives Jim Lehrer of PBS, Candy Crowley of CNN, and Bob Schieffer of CBS to cover for Obama on such pressing issues as
Quemoy and Matsu Benghazi.
"It's time to get beyond these [liberal network] moderators' attempts to embarrass, to create gaffes, to suggest that the Republicans are far too extreme for the American people," said Tim Graham of NewsBusters.
"It needs to be made clear to all of the serious candidates that what Reince Priebus and the RNC is doing resonates with a very large swath of the Republican party," demanded Moe Lane at RedState. "The Media went gunning for the GOP in 2012 with those debates. They did everything that they could -- which turned out to be a lot -- to savage our candidates."
Reading this, it seems amazing Republicans have gone along with the MSM-moderator gag for so long, and that Ronald Reagan was ever elected President -- not to mention reelected in a landslide, even after ABC aired the political loaded nuclear-holocaust movie The Day After in 1983.
As described by Rachel Alexander of Right Wing News, though, the Hillary shows are even worse than that: "NBC is producing a miniseries called 'Hillary,' featuring the beautiful actress Diane Lane playing Hillary, no doubt selected to portray the frumpy Clinton as attractively as possible," Alexander reported. Also, in 2012, "the partisan media brought up questions about contraception during the Republican primary debates in order to make it appear to be a real issue," instead of something that only concerns women. The convincer: "Andrew Breitbart was investigating the possible collusion between the media and the Democrat Party before he passed away."
Actually, this looks like something people might want to watch.
At National Review John Fund complained that in 2012 "Crowley stepped out of her role and took Obama's side in a heated moment in the debate," and that other moderators asked Republican primary candidates embarrassing questions about contraception and the death penalty -- NBC's Brian Williams, for example, "asked [Texas] Governor Rick Perry about the criminals executed in the state of Texas," a subject no one had associated with Texas until that moment.
Some thought the RNC wasn't going far enough. "Who thinks that ABC and CBS, which are still good to go, are appreciably less biased against the right than the now-banned NBC and CNN are?" asked Allahpundit at Hot Air. "Wasn't it George Stephanopoulos, an ABC anchor and former Clinton apparatchik, who kicked off the 'war on women' garbage last year by asking Romney that out-of-left-field question about contraception?" Allahpundit's "compromise" solution: "Let CNN run its dumb Hillary hagiography on the condition that Jake Tapper gets to moderate the GOP debate." (Tapper is rightbloggers' current strange-new-respect holder.)
"Too often in 2012, moderators asked the candidates loaded and offensive questions with the veiled (or explicit) purpose of embarrassing them," said Daniel Doherty at TownHall. "...Why, then, should Republicans needlessly give Democrats extra fodder for the general election when they obviously don't need to?" The clear solution, then, is something more like campaign commercials in colloquy format. Then the conservative vision will have a fairer presentation, if a smaller audience.
Getting more control of the means of message production is only part of the plan, though. The message itself has to be a winner. What have rightbloggers got? Complaints about Obama, who will not be running, and calls to overturn Obamacare, which may have grown stale over time. This has led some of the brethren to contemplate new solutions... or at least solutions that are new to you.
"I have dedicated my time to helping elect conservatives in an effort to ensure that at least one political party represents our constitutional form of government," wrote Daniel Horowitz at RedState. "But even as I sweat and toil for this endeavor, I have realized that elections are not enough to restore our liberty... What if we are not successful in electing more Constitutional conservatives?"
A possible solution, suggested Horowitz, is contained in a new book by conservative radio host Mark Levin called The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic. Horowitz listed 10 new Constitutional amendments proposed by Levin, among them the end of direct election of Senators ("so that the power of states is not diluted"), a balanced budget amendment, another requiring voter ID, another "Defining the Commerce Clause," another putting term limits on Supreme Court justices, another...
So, then: it's a wingnut wishlist, written into the Constitution so that elections, which haven't been going their way lately, won't matter so much. "Now I know some of you thumb-sucking conservatives out there will pessimistically dismiss this as an impossible pipe dream," said Horowitz; "the same people who scoff upon our ability to throw out terrible Republicans in primaries... until we successfully do so." Just ask Senators Joe Miller and Christine O'Donnell!
As we've noted before, every so often rightbloggers will get excited about amending the Constitution in their favor, but this time they seem to have more traction, at least among fellow-travelers: at this writing Levin's book is #1 on Amazon.
"Levin admits these amendments are unlikely to win congressional approval because in Washington power is not willingly relinquished," explained Cal Thomas at NewsBusters. "That's why he proposes the states bypass Congress, as the Framers provided, and pass these amendments themselves." Clever! The progress Republicans have lately made in creating bulletproof majorities in some state legislatures makes this prospect more tantalizing -- particularly if they can do it quick, before voters catch on.
"A bold, provocative manual for restoring the American republic and righting the balance of powers," raved Michelle Malkin. "Roe v. Wade might have been overturned by three-fifths of the state legislatures had Levin's [Supreme Court] amendment been in place in January of 1973," marveled Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator. "...a serious work of restoration and reform." "A good use for the book would be to bring it to Town Hall meetings this summer and get your Representative -- Republican or Democrat -- to commit to where he or she stands on these principles," advised William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection. "Just hold up the book as you start to ask your question, and watch the faces of the politicians grimace, because they know what's coming." They won't be the only ones.
John Hayward at Human Events summed it up beautifully: "If you want to bring the ship of state into drydock, instead of slightly adjusting its course, The Liberty Amendments provides an excellent set of schematics," he said. He meant it positively.
Having a new message -- that America is ruined for voting, and must be rebuilt from the inside by rightwing activists -- and enough control of the message delivery that no countervailing RINOism may dilute it, it now remains for conservatives to find the right sort of candidates to lead the charge. At the Presidential level they have interesting challengers like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. But their crossover potential -- assuming, that is, Republicans still need to win elections after those Liberty Amendments pass -- remains to be seen.
Rightbloggers have been on the hunt for fresh horses, and last week it seemed as if they had a keeper: One of the guys on Duck Dynasty.
"'Redneck millionaire' and 'Duck Dynasty' star eyed for Louisiana House seat," reported the Washington Examiner, referring to the hunting call CEO Willie Alexander who, with his equally hirsute brothers, has a hit reality TV show.
Conservatives have been praising Duck Dynasty as a touchstone of conservative values for a while now. "Duck Dynasty has very little to do with ducks or duck hunting," said David Vickers at PJ Lifestyle, "and everything to do with traditional American values and the current American condition... Duck Dynasty reminds us that a huge majority of gun-owning Americans use firearms responsibly and don't need to be controlled, that the American dream still comes true if you only follow the formula, that you really can 'build that' on your own, and that each days ends a little better when we return thanks to the One who provided it, and for the ones who make it worth living."
Well, at least they're not the Bushes.
Fox News' Laura Ingraham was delighted that the Alexanders pray in every episode. "How often today do we see families in prayer on entertainment television?" she said, according to a Mediaite report. "As families have disintegrated in America, as our culture has become hyper-sexualized, as kids are losing their innocence at younger and younger ages, I think it's undoubtedly a welcome relief to many TV viewers to just watch a program that doesn't offend their core values."
The Right Scoop got a kick out of it when one of the Duck Dynasty boys, mistaken for a vagrant in a New York City hotel, called himself a victim of "facial profiling." (Obviously he's on the right side of "urban" issues.) "Is it any wonder America is in love with the Robertsons?" gushed PJ Media's Paula Bolyard. "Strong marriages, family values, faith. All the things missing from nearly everything else on TV these days."
But mainly rightbloggers seem to like the show because they imagine liberals don't. Its success "has got to make miserable the dainty, little, progressive crowd who are trying legislatively and culturally to peel America away from the pro-God-and-country values that the cast of Duck Dynasty showcases with hairy-chinned hilarity," speculated Doug Giles at Clash Daily. "...America has voted with their time and with their cash that they would rather watch the Duck Commanders move through their day than watch the cultural chum slick that Hollywood dishes up, ad nauseum, et infinitum." Unless there's a game on, or Sharknado.
So the idea of running the guy from Duck Dynasty thrilled many of the brethren. "As CEO of Duck Commander, star of A&E's wildly successful Duck Dynasty show and author of several books, Robertson is worth millions, money he could use to quickly fund a campaign," said Brad Jackson at RedState. "...who can forget a certain former actor who became one of the greatest Presidents in our nation's history, Ronald Reagan... Personally, I would love to see Congressman Willie Robertson."
"The family's faith is brought to center stage with a prayer at the end of every show," said Jake Tapper. "...Yes, the Twitterverse is echoing calls for duck commander CEO Willie Robertson to fill the congressional seat left vacant this year by Louisiana representative Rodney Alexander."
"If I was a voter in his district, I'd definitely be interested in hearing what he has to say," sighed Emily Hulsey at the Independent Journal Review. "After all, he's the rare mix of a millionaire, CEO and TV star who has managed to retain his dignity and self-respect despite his material success." "Someone who believes in God, guns, and freedom?" said Joshua Riddle of Young Conservatives. "I say we need many more like him. I want to start the Might Ducks chant right now: 'QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!'" Plus, said T. Kevin Whiteman of Liberty Unyielding, "Robertson is popular with pro-life advocates for his open and ardent support of both adoption and foster care versus abortion." He's all that and a bag of chaw!
The boomlet added some excitement to rightblogging, certainly ("With everything from the EEOC to Duck Dynasty to Jimmy Carter, you know it's going to be an interesting discussion!" East Coast Conservative sadly pimped its podcast). But alas, finally Robertson went on Fox's The Five to talk about his alleged ambitions ("He attributed the show's immense success to a combination of its family values and being funny," squeed Fox News Insider), and was not encouraging -- "I'm kinda busy right now," he told his hosts.
But he didn't say no, either. And even if he does, there are plenty of potential New Reagans on reality TV for them to work with. Snooki from Jersey Shore has the right politics and the common touch. And several of the Real Housewives would probably be able to get behind a flat tax, if only retroactively.
And come to think of it, has anyone found out the politics of Sharknado? Maybe Sharknado can run for something. Or does the Constitution say candidates have to be human beings? If so, maybe Mark Levin can take care of that. For every problem, as H.L. Mencken said, there is a solution... with some stipulations.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter