Politico’s Glenn Thrush attacked RNC chairman Reince Priebus last Friday for Priebus’s threat to withhold 2016 GOP primary debates from NBC and CNN. Priebus was upset because NBC and CNN are planning to run a miniseries and a documentary, respectively, about presumed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Appearing on PBS’s Inside Washington, Thrush dismissed Priebus’s criticism as mere Hillary-hating: “[W]hat he’s doing, and what a bunch of these other ancillary Republican groups are doing, is they’re doing everything they can to sort of degrade her image, to get in early, so that you can – so it’s OK to criticize Hillary Clinton again.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Is it not okay to criticize Mrs. Clinton now? Thrush seems to be suggesting that she is above criticism. Why else would he complain that Republicans want to make it acceptable to criticize Hillary again?
Also, what is wrong with degrading a likely political opponent in an election cycle? It's par for the course in the game of politics and perfectly reasonable to expect from Democrats against Republicans, so why not the other way around?
Consider Thrush’s words again: “[T]hey’re doing everything they can to sort of degrade her image, to get in early...” That is a perfect description of what the Democratic machine did to Mitt Romney in 2012. The Obama reelection campaign began running ads against Romney before he even won the Republican nomination. They got in early and degraded Romney’s image by painting him as a greedy rich guy out of touch with the common man. But now that Republicans want to do the same thing to the presumed Democratic frontrunner, Thrush is crying foul.
Moderator Gordon Peterson challenged Thrush on the Republican criticism, asking, “Well, don’t they really have a point?” Thrush, however, swept the objections under the rug: “I think, like, this is not a serious criticism.”
Not a serious criticism? NBC and CNN want to give Hillary Clinton free publicity at a time when many believe she will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016. Priebus’s concern that the miniseries and documentary would serve as Hillary campaign ads certainly seems warranted. Even some left-wingers have expressed objections to NBC and CNN’s plans.
These planned series are likely nothing more than another liberal media attempt to burnish Mrs. Clinton’s legacy. Charles Krauthammer, the voice of reason on the Inside Washington panel, chimed in with his assessment of the planned series and its effect on Hillary: “I mean, you’re going to have... four hours on a network and expect that people are going to look at it and say, oh, this is just a historical document? Of course it’s to pump her up.”
You may recall that earlier this week, my colleague Ken Shepherd noted how Thrush recently took to Twitter to complain about how conservatives were making sport of Mrs. Clinton for a verbal gaffe in which she referred to the late civil rights hero Medgar Evers as "Medgar Evans." We'll keep an eye on Thrush to see how much he rushes to Hillary's defense in the future.
Below is a transcript of the segment:
GORDON PETERSON: Okay, here’s what the Republican chairman is angry about. NBC is planning a four-part miniseries about the life of Hillary Clinton starring Diane Lane. CNN – full-length documentary on Hillary Clinton. Priebus says if two networks do that, the RNC will host no primary debates – none. He argues that the miniseries and the documentary are nothing more than campaign ads, and free ones at that, Glenn.
GLENN THRUSH: Well, what’s interesting here is the Republican Party, what Priebus – you know, Priebus likely will not be around for the party in 2016, right? But what he’s doing, and what a bunch of these other ancillary Republican groups are doing is they’re doing everything they can to sort of degrade her image, to get in early, so that you can – so it’s OK to criticize Hillary Clinton again, who is arguably the most popular political figure –
PETERSON: Well, don’t they really have a point? I mean, at this stage –
THRUSH: You know, we just had this conversation about Bezos and The Washington Post. These lines are – these lines are getting blurred. I know Chuck Todd had an objection to it. But I think, like, this is not a serious criticism. I don’t think that they will be turning down these – maybe this is an idea that the Republicans have of cutting down the debates, which were – a crazy number of them last year.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER:– serious threat, because I don’t think they’re going to tremble about an absence of debates. But it’s a marker of a much more serious issue. The bias of the media is so obvious it’s not worth even discussing. It’s like the sun rising in the east, and I understand it. But this is jumping the shark. It’s August, it’s shark week. I mean, you’re going to have networks in hagiography -- four hours on a network and expect that people are going to look at it and say, oh, this is just a historical document? Of course it’s to pump her up. And it reflects the bubble that these people live in.