Forget the journalistic norms of objectivity and fairness. According to MSNBC’s Ed Schultz and his Saturday Ed Show panel, Reince Priebus’ campaign against the liberal media is all about a weak crop of 2016 GOP presidential candidates.
Schultz and guests railed against the Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman on Saturday’s The Ed Show, with Salon’s Joan Walsh concluding that Priebus is a “big cry baby” who’s trying to hide his “crackpot set of candidates in 2016.” Comedian Lizz Winstead agreed, describing the potential set of Republican presidential candidates as a “flotilla of fail.”
Schultz was up in arms over Priebus’ efforts to force a “dump” of the Hillary Clinton projects that NBC and CNN plan to air before the 2016 election. Schultz feigned outrage at Priebus, before bursting into laughter over a montage of debate highlights from the 2012 GOP primaries:
You know what Reince Priebus wants to do? He wants to take away your entertainment! [Laughing:] Who could want less of that?
Zerlina Maxwell, of the NBC-owned TheGrio.com, bemoaned the lack of “drinking games” she’ll be able to have without NBC- or CNN-led Republican debates:
Because I want more debates. I want a debate every day. It’s amazing. Maybe we drink probably too much from the drinking games that we play during the debates. But they’re amazing.
Joan Walsh, to her credit, went into the more substantive details of her bizarre theory after lobbing cheap jokes at Priebus:
Longer term, it’s a stupid political strategy. They have a lot of newcomers. They should be wanting to introduce them to the larger world. But they don’t. They want to be in their hermetically-sealed Fox universe talking to one another.
Hermetically-sealed? You mean, Ms. Walsh, like the very network you contribute to almost daily? Or perhaps the very segment you joined on Saturday, with a bombastic left-wing host and two far-left guests?
Then again, in the bubble that is the Lean Forward network, the only partisan media outlet on television is Fox News – which, by the way, frequently has liberal contributors on air to spar with conservatives. Maxwell topped off the segment with a final condemnation of Priebus’ efforts:
And I think that they’re afraid. Clearly they’re afraid. That’s why he’s having a temper tantrum on TV in August of 2013. Because he’s afraid.
I’m not sure what Maxwell and company think Priebus is afraid of. Many have argued that the GOP has a deep bench for the 2016 presidential race. Potential candidates include Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc.), and former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.).
Depending on who you ask, the 2016 situation may actually be more perilous for the Democratic Party. Even Politico’s Maggie Haberman admits that there is no Plan B for the Democrats if Hillary Clinton decides not to run.
Of course, the 2016 election is still far away from now, and no doubt that the presidential field will shift between now and then. But if Schultz and his guests think the GOP is already doomed in 2016, despite a strong field of candidates, they can just keep on pretending.
See the full transcript below:
The Ed Show
August 12, 2013
5:36 p.m. Eastern
ED SCHULTZ: You know what Reince Priebus wants to do? He wants to take away your entertainment. Who could want less of that? Joining me now is our Rapid Response panel. Author Lizz Winstead, The Grio contributor Zerlina Maxwell, and also Joan Walsh of Salon.com. I mean, this is just depriving us of entertainment, isn’t it?
JOAN WALSH [laughing]: Bring it on. We need it.
ZERLINA MAXWELL [laughing]: I want more debates.
SCHULTZ: Okay, obviously there’s embarrassment there, correct?
WALSH: Yes. There’s absolute embarrassment. He’s trying to hide his candidates. He’s going to have a crackpot set of candidates in 2016, just like he had in 2012, and he’s afraid of that. He’s a big cry baby and he’s playing to the base. He’s telling the base “oh, the horrible liberal media is after us again” and, you know, he’s kind of winning for now. He’s getting a lot of attention. It’s a slow summer, and he gets to look like a hero to the base when he’s not going to pull his candidates out of these debates. His candidates are not going to go along with it. He’s got pretty much no power to do it.
SCHULTZ: So, Zerlina, they’re wigged out pretty early on over Hillary Clinton, aren’t they?
MAXWELL: Well right. I mean, they have reason to be, right? He doesn’t have a good crop of people to choose from. But also, he needs to be a little more focused on his candidates and winning elections instead of trying the deprive us of our entertainment. Because I want more debates. I want a debate every day. It’s amazing. Maybe we drink probably too much from the drinking games that we play during the debates. But they’re amazing.
SCHULTZ: Now, Liz, I’ve seen you in action. The crowd always wants more, okay?
LIZZ WINSTEAD: Oh my god. Well it’s, I personally cannot believe it can get worse – I didn’t think it could get worse. Then you have Steve King thinking he can probably do it. The people who think they’re qualified to do anything that is going to consist of this flotilla of fail that will be the GOP nominees. It’s great. I need a beach house. I want more debates. That’s just the bottom line.
SCHULTZ: Well, is it a good political strategy? You know, there is conservative media out there that would sell the base, that would motivate the base. That would, in a sense, protect their candidates and put them in more of a safe haven. Could it possibly work?
WALSH: I think it’s a good political strategy for him right now because he’s getting to look tough. Longer term, it’s a stupid political strategy. They have a lot of newcomers. They should be wanting to introduce them to the larger world. But they don’t. They want to be in their hermetically-sealed Fox universe talking to one another.
WINSTEAD: Well, and it’s going to be a really sticky situation for him if it does turn out that the production arm of Fox is the one that’s going to be producing one of the Hillary Clinton things. Because then, it’s going on roll out to be the real thing, which is – CNN, it’s a problem. Yeah, CNN’s a news network. But when you have entertainment divisions of a network it’s very different. So then Reince Priebus has to be the one who explains, “well, Fox has a division of TV –
SCHULTZ: But on the political side, Zerlina, they’ve had a rough year. I mean, the war on women continues. The women’s issues, all on the state level of all the aggressive measures that have been put out when it comes to the right to choose, workers’ rights, equal rights, all of voting rights. I don’t think they want to talk about this stuff.
MAXWELL: They definitely don’t want a documentary or a movie about Hillary Clinton, who would be the person on the left running in 2016 that will be able to speak to all these issues and energize the feminist base of the left. And I think that they’re afraid. Clearly they’re afraid. That’s why he’s having a temper tantrum on TV in August of 2013. Because he’s afraid.