With Republicans Like These, Who Need Enemies?

Posted: Nov 05, 2015 12:01 AM

Hillary Clinton lies to the country for 11 hours, and the Democratic Party rallies around her while she declares victory. None of the Americans murdered because of her incompetence were brought back to life and none of the families lied to about a YouTube video were comforted, but still she turned that into the best week ever.

Republicans, on the other hand, had a golden opportunity and they blew it.

After the CNBC debate and the bias it laid bare, the field was united. The party was united. There was an opportunity to change, maybe even revolutionize the debate process.

Then Republicans acted like Republicans again.

The greatest opponent Republican candidates face is not the media, nor the Democrats. It’s themselves.

Had the field held together for more than 20 minutes, we could’ve been looking at some serious debates focused on issues. But that didn’t happen.

Rather than focus on the big picture and make changes, the GOP field became Van Halen demanding the vanquishing of brown M&Ms. Actually, Van Halen had a damn good reason for the brown M&Ms rider in its contract; the GOP was simply being stupid.

The unified field didn’t even last long enough to form a coherent demand. What emerged was drivel.

They wanted control over the info boxes that appear on screen. They demanded the temperature be set at 67 degrees. They wanted…who cares? When you’re arguing over the temperature of the venue, you’ve lost sight of the reason you’re in your super-secret meeting in the first place.

Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina both said they’d debate “anywhere at anytime.” Great, congratulations. Jeb Bush and John Kasich refused to sign on to anything. Donald Trump said he’d negotiate his own deal with the networks. Yeah, helpful.

None of those moves were smart. Nor surprising.

Unity could have brought about an agreement on topics, changed the tone, kept the focus on the media’s bias. Instead we have bickering campaigns looking for an advantage.

Nothing wrong with that, necessarily. That’s what campaigns do. But for the love of God, couldn’t these people wait a few days?

That the also-ran candidates were more than happy to agree to anything wasn’t a surprise, especially given their well-received performances in the first two debates. And their public calls for two panels of seven were transparently self-serving. But what were the others thinking?

Christie and Fiorina want to be seen as unafraid, like they’re the only candidates willing to take on the media no matter what. That and $2.50 will get you a cup of coffee.

Kasich and Bush are, well, Kasich and Bush.

And Trump. Donald Trump will do whatever it takes to win which, were he a principled conservative, would be an admirable and reassuring quality. As it stands it’s worrisome considering the ease with which he contradicts himself and his past statements, something within the same interview.

I’ve kept my powder dry for the most part when it comes to the GOP field. I prefer to keep my guns pointed at the other side, not down the line in my own trench. But this is one of the dumbest weeks of the campaign.

A real opportunity was had and lost because these adults couldn’t come together around a couple of coherent and valid points. Insisting on gamesmanship over principle, they’ve squandered the momentum for change the CNBC debate presented.

As the Democrats coalesce around Hillary, she’s spending her time attacking Republicans. Rather than returning that favor, Republicans are fighting with each other about temperature and other worthless insignificances.

Only people who pay attention to politics a year from an election will remember how awful CNBC was, and they’re already aware of the bias in media. The wider window of public consciousness is closing. Thanks to GOP squabbling, the story has moved on.

It’s dumb, it’s unfortunate, and it’s the one thing at which Republicans excel.