RNC boots National Review from co-hosting debate after “Against Trump” issue

posted at 10:41 am on January 22, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

The message from the RNC seems clear enough: media outlets that want to engage as debate hosts have to remain uncommitted in the race. “A debate moderator can’t have a predisposition,” RNC spokesperson Sean Spicer said as he confirmed that National Review had been disinvited from the February 25th debate in Houston after publishing its “Against Trump” issue yesterday:

The RNC announced it had disinvited the National Review from a GOP debate the magazine had been set to co-host on Feb. 25 after its latest issue — called “Against Trump” — featured essays slamming the real estate mogul from leading conservatives including Glenn Beck, Erick Erickson and Russell Moore. …

Trump has faced accusations both of being too extreme, risking moderate voters for a GOP ticket, and of being a fake conservative with a long history of liberal views.

The National Review’s attack issue is perhaps the most visible example of conservatives struggling to take down the billionaire, who holds a prohibitive lead in national polling, as well as in the first primary state of New Hampshire.

The Houston debate has had a rocky history already. The RNC stripped NBC  from the debate earlier this week, an aftershock of the October 30th debacle on CNBC. The event will now be broadcast by CNN, with Salem (Hot Air’s parent company) as the broadcast partner.

Maybe the city of Houston should watch its step, eh?

National Review’s publisher Jack Fowler told BuzzFeed News that he had hoped to discuss this with the RNC first, and that the decision will be a “deprivation” to voters:

The publisher of the conservative National Review suggested on Thursday that the Republican National Committee is “depriving” its party by disinviting the magazine from hosting a debate because of an anti-Donald Trump symposium it published.

National Review publisher Jack Fowler told BuzzFeed News in an email Thursday night that he was not surprised that the RNC had rescinded its invitation to the magazine to co-host a GOP debate next month. “That said I would argue that the RNC should have waited for someone to complain, if someone was going to,” Fowler said. “The presumption is that our moderator / participant would not have asked an intelligent / fair question.”

“But maybe the RNC based the decision on something along the lines of — you guys just crossed a line (for a debate participant). I’d like to see their statement, if / when it comes out,” Fowler said. “After all, it’s their party and they can deprive [it] if they want to.”

Well, it didn’t take long for the complaints to come, at least on Twitter. Trump unleashed several broadsides against National Review before and after issuing this statement calling the publication “a dying paper”:

The symposium of writers published by National Review probably wouldn’t have triggered the RNC action. It’s well worth reading, too, as it includes a number of long-time conservative thinkers, including our own Katie Pavlich. Guy Benson summed up my thoughts on this yesterday, though:

The RNC probably felt it had to act because of the in-house editorial announcing NR’s opposition to Donald Trump rather than the collection of individual essays, and the NBC fight may have something to do with that, too. The CNBC debate showed an almost explicit contempt for the GOP candidates on the stage, especially Trump, which is why Reince Priebus cut them out of the remaining debates this cycle. He needed to show voters that he means to protect Republicans from media bias. Having done that, how could the RNC not follow through when one of the other debate partners explicitly and institutionally declares itself opposed to one of the party’s frontrunners?

Nevertheless, Fowler won’t regret the decision. The fight will raise NR’s profile, especially among conservatives who care about policy, and more importantly sets a marker for the future if and when it comes to a Trump presidency. Trump gets one more bête noire to target on the Right. The RNC gets to underscore itseven-handedness as a referee when it comes to dealing with debates and the media. In this case, everyone can claim a victory.

And … that has already begun:

Matt Welch’s response at the libertarian Reason is worth pondering, too:

There’s one thing this dispute symbolizes, aside from the ongoing (and long-running) battle for the soul of the modern Republican Party. And that is this: Many or even most of the people who make a living working in politics and political commentary—even those who think of themselves as outsiders, such as nonpartisan libertarians—inevitably begin to view their field as one dedicated primarily to ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth, and NOT to the emotional, ideologically unmoored cultural passions of a given (and perhaps fleeting) moment. Donald Trump—and more importantly, his supporters, who go all but unmentioned here (Ben Domenech is an exception)—illustrate that that gap is, well, yuuge.

Yes, Trump is nobody’s conservative, but it’s not at all clear that many voters really care about such things. His rise is a rebuke to the stories that political commentators have long told themselves, and to the mores they have long shared even while otherwise disagreeing ideologically with one another. You can despise Donald Trump (and oh Lord I do), and appreciate National Review’s efforts here, while simultaneously wondering whether his forcible removal of a certain journalistic mask might also have some benefit.

To some extent, it’s the same blinders that some in the GOP wore in 2012 about Barack Obama’s enduring appeal, too. This time, they have a head start on figuring it out.


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This Trump getting his demands met. I love him more each day.

Just say, “No!” to the Foxtwats and their ilk!

(Yes, you read it here (almost) first! I first coined “Foxtwat” on Brietbart within the last hour, but I give it as a gift to all of you for your creative use to spread far and wide through the internet just as I coined “copsucker” which is now in common use all over the internet.)

earlgrey on January 22, 2016 at 1:25 PM

https://youtu.be/PytWoOvzBhA

Yep, disgusting Kelly clan

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2016 at 1:26 PM

She’s not just “employed” by GS.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2016 at 1:00 PM

What is she?

Neitherleftorright on January 22, 2016 at 1:37 PM

I burned a copy of National Review and flushed it down the toilet.

Then I celebrated in the street and passed out candy to all my neighbors.

On Election Day, I will pull the suicide lever inside the voting booth for Donald Trump.

I shall enjoy my reward of 72 Sarah Palins in heaven afterward.

FlameWarrior on January 22, 2016 at 1:45 PM

You all need a reminder and I mean both sides.

In 2008 after the convention McCain with Palin now on the ticket was now leading in the polls. Then a few weeks later something happened and stupid McCain put “HIS” campaign on hold, but the other guy didn’t. This cost the Pubs the White House.

dougmva on January 22, 2016 at 11:27 AM

No, what cost McCain his lead was that he made a big show of how he was going to Washington to save the country from this crisis, when 90% of the country was pleading with Congress not to pass TARP and only a lonely band of Rs in the House were opposing it. But instead of rallying to their banner, McCain decided that he would save the country from this crisis by stomping on the opposition and giving the middle finger to the voters, coming out in favor of TARP. Sarah Palin was wonderful and she saved us from total humiliation in the general election, but there was just no helping McCain after that.

joe_doufu on January 22, 2016 at 1:46 PM

11:01 AM

Nothing says outsider quite like Goldman Sachs.

Dick Richard on January 22, 2016 at 11:08 AM

Donald Trump has attacked Ted Cruz roughly a billion times over the last week for having taken out loans from Citibank and Goldman Sachs. Like most everything Trump says, his attacks are short on facts and even shorter on making sense. He claims somehow that Cruz attempted to hide the loans, even though he openly disclosed them on public filings (just not the right ones).

Here he is, in fact, saying that Cruz is “worse than Hillary, if you think about it,” because of the loans:

He’s made the nonsensical claim repeatedly that Ted Cruz can’t “protect people” from Citibank or Goldman Sachs or whoever, because he has taken out loans from them or personally guaranteed loans to his campaign from them.

lovingmyUSA on January 22, 2016 at 1:47 PM

What is she?

Neitherleftorright on January 22, 2016 at 1:37 PM

Heidi Cruz was a member of a Council on Foreign Relations task force that wrote the plans for a North American Union.

But this is somewhat ironic since Cruz’s wife, Heidi, an investment banker, was a member of a Council on Foreign Relations Task Force, which in 2005 developed a plan for a “North American Community.” The recommendations of this panel included a multi-billion dollar North American Investment Fund to pull Mexico out of poverty, a North American Border Pass to facilitate travel between the countries, and expansion of “temporary worker programs.”

Joseph K on January 22, 2016 at 2:01 PM

This “witless ape” will eat you all.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2016 at 2:02 PM

What’s interesting is, in many cases from these pundits, either a complete lack of effort to castigate the GOPe for it’s feckless collaboration and enabling of the progressive agenda in the past 14 months. Or if they do castigate the GOPe in Congress, it’s a polite chiding as opposed to vehemence and denigration directed at Trump and anyone who is a supporter.

The GOPe hardly demonstrated, acted, or stood on ‘conservative principles’ in the past 14 months. This is what sparked the schism in the party – along with the nonstop contempt from the GOPe towards the conservative base that has only gotten more caustic in the last decade.

NR and the rest of the GOPe sycophants can throw their tantrums. They can keep getting more and more caustic and denigrating. But it’s hilarious to think that the tactics that sparked the civil war will now bring the ‘rebels’ back into the fold. Only establishment apparatchiks, sycophants, and shills lack principles worth standing on to that extent.

Athos on January 22, 2016 at 11:26 AM

Well said.

oryguncon on January 22, 2016 at 2:08 PM

Joseph K on January 22, 2016 at 2:01 PM

Thanks, but I meant what is her position within Goldman Sachs.

Neitherleftorright on January 22, 2016 at 2:12 PM

I have just donated $25 to NR for their stance.

https://nationalreview.fundraise.com/national-review

pendell2 on January 22, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Yes, Trump is nobody’s conservative, but it’s not at all clear that many voters really care about such things.

That doesn’t follow. The career of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Mark Steyn and many others show rather convincingly that a lot of people — ergo, voters — do care about such things. Greatly. Even the career of the more-populist-than-conservative Bill O-Reilly contradicts that statement.

I’d say it’s more a question of what people will accept instead of conservatism. I’m afraid for some of the people on the right, it’s a lot more who Trump is attacking than what Trump actually stands for.

And the question is not just, “Are there many that care about conservative issues?” but “Are there enough?”

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 22, 2016 at 2:22 PM

The publisher of the conservative National Review suggested on Thursday that the Republican National Committee is “depriving” its party by disinviting the magazine from hosting a debate because of an anti-Donald Trump symposium it published.

All you had to do was wait 5 days, and use the debate to your advantage.

nobar on January 22, 2016 at 10:49 AM

True, but it’s probably better this way. If the issue immediately after NR co-hosted the RNC debate had been a pile-on of Trump, you know every bit of the debate would have been analyzed by people looking for bias.

Of course, as it is, every bit of the debate will still be analyzed by people looking for bias.

So I guess the only real gain here is that NR was at least up-front about their opinion of Trump, rather than keeping their opinion hidden until after their debate.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 22, 2016 at 2:26 PM

If Trump has a lick of sense, he’ll push the RNC to re-invite them.

(“I may disagree with them, but that’s one of the great things about America…the right each of us have to our own opinion”)

It would make him look like the adult in the room.

lineholder on January 22, 2016 at 10:51 AM

I’d be very surprised. If you pay attention to every controversy Trump is in, he never argues the substance of an attack, but dismisses the person. The moment things went sour between him and Cruz, he was out there suggesting that Cruz was a “nasty guy” that “nobody likes.” And he’s dismissing NR as “a dying paper.”

I suppose that’s one reason some people love him. Absolutely no platitudes about respecting his opponent, just straight to the attack — relevant or not. (For example, NR being “a dying paper” obviously says absolutely nothing about whether they are right or wrong.)

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 22, 2016 at 2:34 PM

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/690585875365756928

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2016 at 1:06 PM

Oh, awesome. Beck will be crushed:-)

bluefox on January 22, 2016 at 2:37 PM

NR has always been elitist. Buckley was an elitist. he never got a driver’s license because you don’t need one when you have a chauffer and a limo. The essayists are no different. They believe decisions should by in the hands of conservative intellectuals from exclusive eastern colleges, not people from Central Michigan University or Brownsville High School.

bw222 on January 22, 2016 at 10:56 AM

Hmmmm. I don’t think the facts support that statement.

“I would rather be governed by the first 2000 people in the Manhattan phone book than the entire faculty of Harvard.”
― The elitist William F. Buckley Jr.

Didn’t Buckley live in New York City? Isn’t it common in New York City to not have a vehicle?

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 22, 2016 at 2:41 PM

naaahh……

no difference whatsoever.

Garyinaz66 on January 22, 2016 at 11:21 AM

That is conservatism? That sounds like Establishment to me.

bluefox on January 22, 2016 at 2:53 PM

The publisher of the conservative National Review suggested on Thursday that the Republican National Committee is “depriving” its party by disinviting the magazine from hosting a debate…

National Review’s publisher Jack Fowler certainly doesn’t lack hubris!

RJL on January 22, 2016 at 3:19 PM

I read it and it brought to mind a single thought.

Conservatism is dead. Long live libertarianism.

People are tired of social conservatives and GOP establishment panty waists giving up in every single fight against the left. For more than two election cycles the Republicans have been handed victory after victory, control of the house, Senate, and state governments too numerous to list.

Yet despite all of these victories they have elected to fold like a cheap suit rather than fight, vote against or even merely verbally challenge any leftist legislation whatsoever.

The GOP has spent the last twelve years telling the base that they must support a moderate. The base found a moderate with pizzaz, and the establishment now wants to preach “true conservatism”.

What a joke. Intellectuals my a$$.

PoliTech on January 22, 2016 at 3:28 PM

I’m sure its been said before but this is the NR(O). They supported Romney, they’ve fired or let go many of their best writers like Steyn and they support gay marriage and salon.com’s pedo pals.

What are they conserving? Their commentator jobs I guess. Hey, Rich, Jonah, Glenny Beck et. al, I’d subscribe but my health insurance premiums went up $1200 total this year. Guess I just won’t be able to afford that NR Cruise this year. Bummer.

Its sad to see Thomas Sowell buy into this nonsense. Might want to go back to just economics Tom.

oryguncon on January 22, 2016 at 3:31 PM

The boys of NRO

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2016 at 3:41 PM

The GOP has spent the last twelve years telling the base that they must support a moderate. The base found a moderate with pizzaz, and the establishment now wants to preach “true conservatism”.

What a joke. Intellectuals my a$$.

PoliTech

Bingo.

xblade on January 22, 2016 at 3:46 PM

This.

Trump won’t even have to pivot to the general after storming to the nomination. NRO just did it for him.

Center-Right Middle America reclaims the country from the eggheads & purists.

Nicole Coulter on January 22, 2016 at 1:15 PM

So, are you saying Trump represents the triumph of the moderates?

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 22, 2016 at 3:54 PM

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2016 at 3:41 PM

I did not know that. So I did some Binging, and what do you know … it’s completely true.

All of the NRO signatories on the Trump hit piece were quoted in 2009 singing the praises of Obama.

I’m not only not surprised, I’m glad to have some proof that I will use elsewhere if’in you don’t mind Schadenfreude.

PoliTech on January 22, 2016 at 3:55 PM

Heidi Cruz was a member of a Council on Foreign Relations task force that wrote the plans for a North American Union.

But this is somewhat ironic since Cruz’s wife, Heidi, an investment banker, was a member of a Council on Foreign Relations Task Force, which in 2005 developed a plan for a “North American Community.” The recommendations of this panel included a multi-billion dollar North American Investment Fund to pull Mexico out of poverty, a North American Border Pass to facilitate travel between the countries, and expansion of “temporary worker programs.”

Joseph K on January 22, 2016 at 2:01 PM

Oh noes, she wrote a PAPER for the council…horrors

lovingmyUSA on January 22, 2016 at 4:22 PM

The publisher thought the RNC should have waited until someone complained before ousting them?
Well, let me be among the first. Trump may not be the best candidate; he’s my second choice (if that matters).But he’s darn sure the front runner, and for NatRev to spike the punch before the party is shabby and biased.
At least they’ve established what they are. Good to know.

orangemtl on January 22, 2016 at 4:24 PM

Joseph K on January 22, 2016 at 2:01 PM

Meanwhile Chump was giving money and heaping praises on Shillary, and getting LOANS from Goldman Saks…but that is ok…right?

lovingmyUSA on January 22, 2016 at 4:30 PM

The Establishment is the R/D Uniparty

Join in the destruction.

Against The Establishment

It’s a pretty sad day when Joy Reid of MSNBC makes more sense to me than National Review.

Check out her diagnosis (which mostly comes from moderate Republican turned liberalish independent Bruce Bartlett) at 6:45.

It’s accurate — the establishment/elite has been selling lies to everyone outside the donor class for years. They use their power to enact their own priorities into law, while telling the rest of us “it’s too hard” or “it will scare the moderates.”

And for years we went along with this.

Well, as she notes, the issue of immigration has caused this bargain — the elites get their actual agenda, everyone else gets lies and empty promises — to break down, probably forever.

You know, for years, I felt it was my duty to sell these shit sandwiches to readers for the Greater Good of winning elections.

I didn’t like doing it, but I thought that, for example, the War on Terror was too important to risk a rupture over other questions.

Although I’ve come to hate politics and I just despise reading the news now, the one good thing is that I’m liberated from splashing some ketchup on Sandwiches Made of Actual Shit and trying to sell them to people as tasty and healthful.

I feel liberated. I serve no “Greater Good,” as I don’t know that there’s a Greater Good to be served anymore. So I can just say exactly what I think.

And what I think is that the establishment has to be destroyed.

We will not be ignored, we will not be condescended to, we will no longer accept broken promises and lies as our payment for our service to the GOP.

And if it requires destroying the GOP and electing a Democrat to teach the establishment this lesson, to chastise them and to humble them, then we shall do just that, and do so happily.

You will either come to terms, or you will be destroyed.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2016 at 5:03 PM

A) Trump signed a pledge to support the eventual candidate. Why don’t the GOPe return the favor? Oh yeah…loss of their power…bast*rds.

B) I’d subscribe just so I could cancel my subscription.

As for all the “Trump used to be….” nonsense: Trump “evolved” as did Obama on gay marriage. People get to evolve, sorry GOPe.

ProfShadow on January 22, 2016 at 5:09 PM

http://blackrepublican.blogspot.com/2016/01/national-black-republican-association.html

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2016 at 5:10 PM

It is official. GOPe / NRO are dumbass traitors.

GOP struggles to get 5% of black vote, ignore/condone illegal alien invasion, condemn Trump.

Trump’s #1 issue is immigration, gets black GOP endorsement.

Hillary will be in orange pantsuit during next debate, and with a Socialist beating her like a rented mule donkey, Biden is getting fresh new plugs for his announcement he will rescue Democrats.

Am I dreaming that I am watching a Hollywood political fantasy flick?

MORE POPCORN!!! EXTRA BUTTER!!!!

(spoiler alert – the movie ends with Trump in all 58 state sweep;
followed by Germany, Sweden, France, et al, voting to quit EU and become new states; next hot stock is American flag company that has patent on flag with 67 stars)

fred5678 on January 22, 2016 at 5:40 PM

How many shocked people will there be if we wake up to President Bernie on November 9th?

Neitherleftorright on January 22, 2016 at 6:04 PM

It’s simple enough to know that a “moderator” can’t be actively campaigning against a participant. RNC was magically correct this time.

Not all of the media understands that they lost their “immunity idol” with Trump. Every other republican has to take whatever they say on the chin. In Trump’s case, he gets vicious, particular and personal. But it’s working. He had Roger Ailes crying to him over Kelly’s behavior, Hugh Hewitt had a little meeting about their “understanding”.

NR thought that the old rules of dropping bombs from the air would be fine, but the Trump campaign against them now puts them in company with the Union Leader and the Des Moines Register. And it will get more petty and personal if they keep it up.

Not saying this is great civics, just observing that to fight the media attacks you can’t just bemoan them generally, you have to be specific and call out individuals, or the outlets see nothing negative to balance their positive ratings.

Commentary and punditry is one thing. Campaigning is something else.

virgo on January 24, 2016 at 6:10 AM

The RNC probably felt it had to act because of the in-house editorial announcing NR’s opposition to Donald Trump rather than the collection of individual essays, and the NBC fight may have something to do with that, too.

Had to read all the way to the middle to find this gem.

It’s my opinion that conservative media does a disservice when it chooses candidates.

I detest much of Trump, but he deserves a fair game.

Speaking of which, did anyone notice what happened in the last Democratic debate, in which one of the candidates certainly got shafted by the moderators? It looks like the fix is almost in.

unclesmrgol on January 24, 2016 at 8:36 PM

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