A couple of video specials for your Sunday consumption, each dealing with precisely how hot we would like the fire outside the frying pan to be this primary season. The first is a brief stop at Greta’s show on Fox this week where Reince Priebus was asked about the tone of the competition thus far.
I believe in Reagan’s 11th commandment. I think as a party, we have to keep our eye on the prize … and the prize that we need to be keeping our eye on is Hillary Clinton. I’m tired of the name-calling from everybody — and I think it needs to stop from whatever source, from every place. The name calling needs to stop and we have to be united as a party.
Reince wasn’t about to drop “The T Word” in the middle of the interview, but it’s pretty clear that he was making reference to the back and forth surrounding The Donald and various comments about people being a jackass or a loser. It’s a lovely sentiment if you see your job as being the referee, but it’s a particularly hot summer of heated passions this year and candy and flowers aren’t selling with the primary voters just now. (Look no further than the CNN and NBC poll numbers we covered earlier this morning.)
But I don’t knock Reince for doing this. No matter how you view the situation (or the party establishment for that matter) he actually is doing his job. Priebus is supposed to be working to get Some Republican elected as the next president. He’s not supposed to be taking sides as to which one it is. Granted, if you’re in a particularly antiestablishmentarianist mood, you are free to suspect that he’s pulling for Jeb or Christie or whoever the perceived Establishment Candidate du jour is supposed to be, but in the end the Chairman is just supposed to make sure the winner isn’t a Democrat.
The second video is from CNN and it’s a roughly two minute cut from the phone call between Jake Tapper and Donald Trump which I mentioned earlier today. First Trump reacts to the new poll numbers which don’t seem to surprise him at all. But then Jake asks him about the third party bid idea and if he was “dialing that back” and getting along a bit better with the party. The Donald actually has some nice things to say about Reince. (The transcribed portion below is at roughly the one minute mark if you want to fast forward.)
Well, I’ve had some great conversations over the last few days and they’re terrific people. I’ve known Reince for a long time… he’s a terrific guy and the group in there is really good. But they view me as an outsider I guess, and now they’re starting to view me as not an outsider because I’m leading in all the polls. Not just yours. And I think they’ve been really nice over the last few days and they’re starting to see what’s happening. There’s a movement going on. This is more than me. There’s a movement going on.
Take from that what you will. Unless we see some pushback from the RNC (highly unlikely IMHO) we need to take Trump at his word. Is the RNC home office making an effort to play nice now that the numbers are showing Trump to be the real deal? Perhaps a better way to put it would be to say they’ve stopped going directly after him. And if Trump is getting an olive branch from Reince, he may be willing to take a bit more civil tone with the party leadership, but that doesn’t mean that any of the individual candidates (Bush, Perry, Rubio, etc.) will be getting any bouquets of flowers from Donald.
Still, if we are to assume that Trump is in it to win it, it’s a fairly smart business move on his part, no? Sooner or later the primary is going to end and no matter how rich he is, he can still benefit from the fifty state campaign structure which the RNC has. They’re going to have to work together next summer and Trump no doubt knows this, so making peace with Reince early on is probably a savvy move.