The New Hampsire GOP has withdrawn as co-sponsor of the FOX News debate.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