At the RNC meeting in Memphis last week, RNC General Counsel, RNC Committeeman from Tennessee, and RNLA Vice Chair John Ryder made a successful amendment to the RNC rules for the party to take control of the Republican Presidential Debate process in 2016:
Members of the Republican National Committee will start debating new rules — and potential penalties – they hope will give the party more control over the 2016 GOP primary debates during its annual spring meeting in Memphis this week.
“All this springs from a fundamental belief that hey, the Republican nominee ought to be chosen by the Republican Party,” RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields told reporters before the meeting started this week. “And we actually ought to say how in how that nominating process goes and how the debates go.”
This all stems from the RNC’s autopsy report after the 2012 election. The 100-page report said the party can better serve its candidates by stepping in to regulate these televised showdowns in 2016. Some Republicans complained of too many debates with moderators asking unfair questions that ultimately weakened the eventual nominee.
. . . “I think the party should have more control over who moderates, and we should have more control over the partners,” Priebus told TheDC. “And if we can come up with a mechanism to take more control over the debate processes, that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Ryder’s amendment is pure common sense and it had wide backing. RNC Chairman Priebus cited how all the current likely Republican presidential candidates backed the change, including Senator Paul who spoke later at the event.
The strongest endorsement may have come from a key candidate last time. Senior adviser to Newt Gingrich’s 2012 campaign, RNC Georgia Committeeman, and RNLA Chair Randy Evans spoke in favor of the amendment even though arguably no candidate benefited more in 2012 from the debate platform that Gingrich. Evans pointed out the debates will still be there in a strong fashion:
Randy Evans, a national committeeman from Georgia, said the party should still have rigorous primary debates to weed out weak candidates. Evans, an adviser to Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign that he said "lived or died by debates," also said these face-offs can help introduce under-funded candidates to voters.
"We want folks to be able to come from nowhere and have a chance to win," said Evans.
The other reason for the RNC taking a role in the debates was the Candy Crowley and George Stephanopoulos factor. From Crowley violating the basic rules of a moderator by taking sides to Stephanopoulos asking about the right to contraception from Democrat talking points, the Republican Party should have fair moderators at their debates. As John Ryder stated:
RNC committee member John Ryder said the party should have debates only with moderators who are Republicans or friendly to GOP causes, instead of "reading off talking points from (Obama campaign manager) Jim Messina and Obama for America."
"That's just not a good way to run a railroad or run a presidential primary," said Ryder, the Tennessean who introduced the change.
Lastly, it is important to note that the debates will have substance, more substance than when CNN asked Herman Cain his favorite pizza as RNC’s Sean Spicer said:
“The Party is going to have a greater say in our Republican primary debates,” Spicer said of the change at the meeting in Memphis. “For too long it has been the media that decided when we were going to debate, who was going to be in the debates, what questions we’re going to ask, what subjects were going to be covered … Frankly as we all know, the liberal media does not have the interests of the Republican Party at hand.”
“This has nothing to do with tough questions,” Spicer insisted. “Anyone who has not listened to your show, or read Breitbart, or The Daily Caller knows the conservative media is a heck of a lot tougher than the mainstream media with their focus on the issues that matter to conservatives and grassroots activists as opposed to just the left-wing liberals out there. And so one of the things we recognized is they have a voice in this process. And so we need to get people from NewsMax, people from The Daily Caller, people from the Washington Examiner, people from Breitbart, Townhall.com, National Review – legitimate conservative journalists to have a voice in questioning the candidates for the nomination.”
Thanks to John and Randy, Republican primary voters will be better informed and Republican Presidential candidates will be better off in 2016.