Given that Republican candidates, and even the Republican National Committee, have had it with debates and their formats already, it was only natural that some conservative somewhere would offer to host a debate. Super-neoconservative Glenn Beck stepped up and wrote a letter to Reince Priebus, the chairman of the RNC. He promises a fair, substantive debate where candidates can discuss policy – something they keep complaining isn’t allowed in the current debates.
Beck starts off his letter by playing to concerns that voters are the ones losing out with the current debate formats and questions:
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.
Because asking Hillary Clinton about Benghazi, or using the word “socialist” repeatedly when asking Bernie Sanders questions, can in no way ever be seen as mocking, by anyone. Right? Right.
We could argue that the networks do see the debates as ratings and revenue opportunities because they won’t broadcast them over the air, or on the Internet. This helps ensure that people who don’t have a cable or satellite TV provider have to rely on transcripts, video clips, and news reports later on to find out what happened. That is a major problem; these debates should be freely available over the air and on the web.
However, despite the fact that Beck knows and understands that, and even has a solution for it (The Blaze TV would broadcast its debate for free over the Internet, and provide full transcripts later on), we can’t help but be skeptical about Beck’s motives. He also said:
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.
Now Beck just wants to turn it into a circus show that panders to the ultra-right wing. Conservative thinkers, along the lines of those whom Beck respects, might be far harder on some candidates (like Donald Trump, and others they see as RINOs) than others. While this might make for an even more entertaining debate, it certainly won’t accomplish what Beck is saying it will.
Make no mistake, Glenn Beck is an extremist. An idiotic extremist. This is the guy that thinks the zombies in “The Walking Dead” represent ISIS and economic peril. We can watch “The Walking Dead” because we know the zombies aren’t real, but the premise behind the show is real, on his planet.
This is the man who thinks that measles outbreaks are hoaxes and that Rick Perry’s prayers are what ended Texas’ drought. Glenn Beck is insane, so how can we trust that he’ll actually manage to bring lucid conservative thinkers to a debate? These will be people who are likely Tea Partiers (and likewise insane), and also, likely, evangelical Christians (whose mouthpieces, like, oh, Glenn Beck, are insane).
Beck went on to make this promise in his letter:
And you need to know that we are committed to a fair and honorable production that will make every candidate, the party and our voters proud. But most important, at the end of our debate, voters will know not just where our candidates stand, but why, and how they intend to accomplish their goals. [emphasis mine]
These candidates have no way of accomplishing their goals. Many of them don’t even seem to understand what a president does. So in the event that Beck actually is able to put together this crack conservative moderation team that knows exactly what questions to ask, and how, we’ll probably hear the candidates moan, groan and whine afterward about all the “horrible” questions. “We’re not prepared for that! They expected too much!” they’ll scream.
You can read the whole letter here. Glenn Beck, and The Blaze TV, hosting a presidential debate, is one of the worst ideas in the long, sad history of bad ideas. We might tune in to watch just for the entertainment, but that’s all.