What part of “We do not consent” do the Republicans not understand? This week the Progressive-leaning Commission on Presidential Debates sucker punched the Romney-Ryan Campaign and the Republican Party by selecting four (out of four) representatives of the mainstream media as the moderators of the three Presidential and one Vice-Presidential debates.
There was barely a whimper from the Republicans. No outrage, no pushback, no suggestions for alternate moderators. The Republicans passively accepted the decision of this Washington inside-the-beltway group.
The commission’s nine-member board include Antonia Hernandez, a former president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Eduction Fund and a member of the progressive American Constitutional Society. Another member is Howard Buffett, the son of billionaire Obama-booster Warren Buffett, and an active member of a number of environmental organizations.
John Jenkins, C.S.C., the president of Notre Dame who invited Obama to speak at the university in 2009 despite a firestorm of criticism from orthodox Catholics, also is a member of the commission.
The commission’s members also include Dorothy Ridings, president of the progressive-leaning Council on Foundations, and Newton Minow, the progressive-leaning former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Mr. Minow was a prominent supporter of Barack Obama‘s candidacy for President of the United States. Minow recruited Obama in 1988 to work for his law firm Sidley Austin LLP as a summer associate, where Obama met his future wife Michelle Robinson.
The token Republican members of the board are both social liberals, former Sens. John C. Danforth and Alan K. Simpson. Danforth, an ordained Episcopal priest, wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times critical of the Republican party. The article began: “By a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians…”.
Simpson is an outspoken former senator from Wyoming who most recently chaired the Simpson-Bowles National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform with co-chair Erskine Bowles.
The Romney-Ryan issued this wimpy statement through spokesman Ryan Williams, “Debate moderators are selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates. You should check with them for questions.” That’s it. No outrage, no questioning, no ultimatums. Are they prepared to roll over to Obama’s allies both on the commission and in the media without a whimper?
Let’s look at the moderators, all of whom have solid gold credentials with the Progressives. The Commission turned to old-standby Jim Lehrer from PBS. Lehrer has moderated Presidential debates for some time and had vowed not to do another one. He had this to say about his accepting the commission’s invitation, “I believe an invitation from the Commission on Presidential Debates is similar to a draft notice — a civic responsibility. Even so, it was a difficult decision, because I have previously said I would not do any more debates.”
Lehrer will moderate the first Presidential debate, followed by Candy Crowley of CNN. You will recall that Crowley quoted unnamed Republicans as thinking that Paul Ryan’s selection by Mitt Romney was a “death wish” ticket.
The third debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News on Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla. Martha Raddatz of ABC News will moderate the vice presidential debate on Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky.
So who is conspicuously absent from the mix. Let’s start with the deliberate exclusion of anyone from FoxNews:Britt Hume, Brett Baier, Megyn Kelly or Carl Cameron. The highest rated cable news network in the United States and nada, nothing, zilch. Not to be outdone, the commission also excluded NBC News who must be smarting from this direct insult. After all they have more viewers than CNN and PBS combined.
Where are the representatives from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times or National Review? Well, they’ll be home watching the Presidential Debates like the rest of us.
Quote honestly, the Romney-Ryan Campaign should quietly notify the Commission on Presidential Debates that they do not consent to their selection of moderators and unless dramatic changes are made, they will not participate. We shouldn’t be forced to buy the rope that the progressives can hang us with.
Well, at least they didn’t select someone like Gwen Ifill who was writing a book about the 2008 when she moderated one of the debates. It’s name: The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.
Richard Billies is founder and purveyor of AllThingsPoliticalToday.com and a frequent contributor to the SNSPost. The opinions expressed in this article are those of Mr. Billies and not necessarily those of the SNSPost or its staff.