Fox Falling Apart? NH GOP Pulls Out Of Debate, O'Reilly Melts Down--Again

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 19:22


The New Hampsire GOP has withdrawn as co-sponsor of the FOX News debate.

The Union-Leader reports:

Manchester - The New Hampshire Republican Party has quit "with regret" as a co-sponsor of tomorrow night's nationally televised GOP forum on FOX News.

The 8 p.m. event at Saint Anselm College -- the last debate before Tuesday's primary -- became controversial when FOX refused to include Ron Paul.

In a press release, state Republican Party chairman Fergus Cullen said, "We believe all recognized major candidates should have an equal opportunity to participate in pre-primary debates and forums. This principle applies to tonight's debates on ABC as well as Sunday's planned forum on FOX. The New Hampshire Republican Party believes Congressmen Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter should be included in the FOX forum on Sunday evening. Our mutual efforts to resolve this difference have failed."

FOX News issued a one-sentence statement this afternoon from its vice president of news, David Rhodes: "We look forward to presenting a substantive forum which will serve as the first program of its kind this election season."

Given that it's Fox, probably the only program of its kind this election season.

In other Fox News News, Bill O'Reilly had another meltdown, this one notable for the fact that it happened off-air, and within striking distance of a presidential candidate--Barack Obama, no less.  The Secret Service was not amused:

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly got into a confrontation with an Obama aide after O'Reilly started screaming at him as he tried to get Barack Obama's attention following a rally here. O'Reilly eventually did chat briefly with Obama and asked him to be a guest on his show....

The incident was triggered when O'Reilly--with a Fox News crew shooting--was screaming at Obama National Trip Director Marvin Nicholson "Move" so he could get Obama's attention, according to several eyewitnesses....

O'Reilly grabbed Nicholson's arm and shoved him, another eyewitness said. Nicholson, who is 6'8, said O'Reilly called him "low class."

....Secret Service agents who were nearby flanked O 'Reilly after he pushed Nicholson. They told O'Reilly he needed to calm down and get behind the fence-like barricade that contained the press.

Is this all part of a larger rightwing meltdown???  Consider Glenn Greenwald's look at Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Reynolds getting all hepped up about "social unraveling" if Obama should lose...

Paul Rosenberg :: Fox Falling Apart? NH GOP Pulls Out Of Debate, O'Reilly Melts Down--Again
Glenn writes:

Over at National Review, Jonah Goldberg has a "theory" about what might help Obama win in the general election. After noting that Obama will be "the first serious mainstream black contender for the White House," Goldberg warns (emphasis added):

  I think it's worth imagining a certain scenario. Imagine the Democrats do rally around Obama. Imagine the media invests as heavily in him as I think we all know they will if he's the nominee -- and then imagine he loses. I seriously think certain segments of American political life will become completely unhinged. I can imagine the fear of this social unraveling actually aiding Obama enormously in 2008.

Greenwald goes on to note:

Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds helpfully fills in the gap, approvingly quoting and praising Goldberg's warning ("He's right"), and then adding that if Hillary "outmaneuvers" Obama to win, "that'll probably alienate a lot of people and cause them to stay home in November." Just to make sure the meaning is clear, he then links to one of his own prior posts warning that a Hillary win might anger "black voters" and cause them to abandon the Democrats.

And then, naturally, draws attention back to the GOP staffers riot in Miami-Dade which shut down the vote-counting there in November 2000, and points out:

By stark contrast, those "certain segments" of pro-Obama supporters about whom Goldberg and Reynolds are warning had their own Florida protests over actual voter suppression in the 2000 election, and those were peaceful and lawful.

And Greenwald further notes:

But if Obama is really the nominee, and is the one standing in the way between the Right and ongoing control of the Government, the idea that there's going to be civility and respect is pure delusion. Rush Limbaugh's continuous race-based mockery of Obama and the types of "warnings" issued here by Goldberg and Reynolds of the social unrest "Obama supporters" will cause is but the tip of the rancid iceberg....

Now, there is really nothing new about any of this--except for the sheer intensity.  (And we've only had one primary yet!)  But intensity could make all the difference.  It's not just Obama they are trying to keep down.  It's Obama, and Huckabee, and Edwards, and Paul, and everything's getting just a wee bit too out of control with a very, very long road in front of them, and a huge turnout differential betweens the Dems and the GOP in Iowa, and nothing whatsoever to make the movement conservative feel secure.

Soooo... this leads me to the most optimistic scenario surrounding an Obama win I've ever been able to plausibly imagine, which is that the movement conservatives suffer an absolute nervous collapse, start openly spewing their racist bile (my bet's on Limbaugh as the tipping point, but I could very easily be wrong), and driving away their base in droves, as the facade of conservative faux tolerance gets torn away in a lava flow of erupting white male id.

End result: With a 70-seat majority in the Senate, Obama actually can create major change, and in fact, his supporters actually demand it.

I have to say, this scenario would make me pleased as punch to have Obama be the nominee.

Hey, a fellah can dream, can't he?


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Haha! (0.00 / 0)
The best part?
Democrats in general really don't have to do anything -- simply turn out.

Something tells me the conservative coalition is going to catch fire and crash down a lot harder than the FDR coalition did.

What happens after that?
Americans get represented?


Not True! (0.00 / 0)
Democrats in general really don't have to do anything -- simply turn out.

We have to buy popcorn.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
And lots of Goobers for the other side (4.00 / 1)
One should always be magnanimious in triumph. It is, of course, the finest way of rubbing it in.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
I'd rather it be Limbaugh, (4.00 / 1)
but don't count O'Reilly out of it.  He's already on record as defending the "White Male Powerstructure" in this country, plus his little Harlem restaurant loveliness.

The great thing is Fox might make the mistake of backing him to the hilt for a week or so, completely destroying the credibility of the entire network.  If Obama drives one or more elements of the right-wing noise machine to spontaneously self-combust, he could take the rest of his presidency off and still be our most effective progressive president since FDR.


Yup (4.00 / 2)
The beauty of an Obama nomination and presidency is less about his policies, which I believe are quite progressive, even if they're not progressive enough for many progressives' taste (witness the ongoing anti-Obama meltdown over at DKos), let alone his "message of hope" style (although when was that bad IF there was something real underneath), than about what this does to the decades-long right-left conflict, and the overall center of balance of power between right and left. Because he represents nothing less than a fundamentally transformative agent in this scenario, on the order of a Lincoln or FDR.

If he can bring non-wingnut Pubs and right-leaning idies into a dominant progressive ruling coalition (the way that Reagan brought conservative Dems and centrist indies into a till-now dominant conservative ruling coalition) AND wreak havoc on the always inherently unstable conservative coalition that has held the GOP together for decades, then who cares if he's not a progressive as Edwards, Kucinich, Kennedy, or the ghost of Paul Wellstone, because the political power that he will shift towards our side will make passing a progressive agenda far easier than it would be under a more progressive president who did not have as clear and large a mandate. This doesn't mean that this WILL happen, just that it becomes that much more achievable under such circumstances. And to me, it's always been about the agenda, not the people who make it happen. But if Obama is more likely to create the political and ideological in which serious progressive advancement is most possible, I can forgive him his lamentable behavior over the past couple of months.

And in case he lets all this get to his head or otherwise fails to follow through on advancing a progressive agenda, we will be those Roman slaves of old, standing right behind him and whispering into his ears "Glory is fleeting, Barack, so get up off your ass and make universal health care happen". This goes for all other Dems, of course.

Assuming that he does win, smarter progressives will ride his wave and "use" it to advance a progressive agenda, rather than complain about its insufficient progressivism and sit it out on the sidelines, sour grapes-style. Joining doesn't mean submitting. One can be a loyal and effective member of the team without being an uncritical cultist, as opposed to the other side. Where called for, we should absolutely criticize Obama (or whoever gets elected) and come down hard on him (or them). But where we can work together to make good things happen, why the hell not? That's how things get done in politics--when they get done.

And so what if Broder & Co. approve? Having been placated into submission after years of making a living out of trashing the left, I'm quite content having them coo approvingly and being less of a nuisance than they've been. We have more important things to worry about.

Of course, all of this is quite premature. Let's see how the next month or so unfolds.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


This Is All Highly Hypothetical (0.00 / 0)
The thing that irks me no end about Obamaphiles is the large holes in their logic.  If pigs had wings, well, then, we'd be all set.  (You have very little of that about you, but the echoes, Kovie. Still, there are echoes.)

But the reality is, there was never any clear indication that he would outperform Edwards, nor that he would actually fight for a progressive enough agenda--and by that I simply mean one that is actually scalled to the magnitude of problems we face, so that the GOP can't readily pull itself back together again and defeat him in 2012.

One of the problems with such persistently weak arguments, is that they put you to sleep.  You stop thinking about different quirky alternatives that might happen, well beyond the imaginations of the true believers.  This was something that had been gnawing at me for some time.  It's what interested me about the "Theory of Change" article by Mark Schmitt that I wrote about two weeks ago.  But now I actually think I see how something more plausible--in one sense (the "then" part of an "if/then")--could work.

But it's still hard to say how plausible the "if" part is.  I can certainly see it happening.  But, it's not really something that Democrats can control.  And in 2004 we totally blew things that we could control.  So I'm not sure where that leaves us.  But at least it leaves me in a more imaginative place.  Which is good.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
I think its ploy to help Sununu... (4.00 / 1)
The NH GOP is doing whatever it can to disassociate itself from the national GOP, Bush, and from the scandals relating to the the phone-jamming electoral fraud schemes in 2002. In 2006, Voters rejected both of NH's incumbent Republican members of Congress and Democratic Governor John Lynch sailed into victory.

NH is trending very Democratic and the NH GOP knows that the only route for saving Republican Senator John Sununu in 2008 would be to embrace the grassroots appeal of Ron Paul. Attracting ideological libertarians and the many independent voters in the state is probably the only way to overcome the immensely popular Democratic candidate, Jeanne Shaheen, a former Governor well ahead in the polls over Sununu.

Rejecting Fox would be sacrilegious for Republican voters in most states, but NH has its own distinct voting habits. Just as it took crushing defeats for the Democratic Party to wake up and embrace candidates with online appeal and peer-to-peer enthusiasm, the NH GOP has defeat in recent memory and will position itself the best way possible to help Sununu.

Remember that Sununu, knowing that a well planned media spectacle could change popular opinion about his ties to the Bush administration, was the first Republican in Congress to call for the resignation of Gozales. Shrewd politicians are just as capable of orchestrating this stunt with the Fox News debate though the local party office.


I'm Puzzled (0.00 / 0)
Either I agree with 100% (the state party's health and Sununu's reelection chances can hardly be distinguished from one another) or I'm utterly flabbergasted (you're suggesting that somehow Sununu was responsible for Fox's shutting out Ron Paul in the first place).

So, which is it?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
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