SC GOP chairman doing what party chairmen do


That’s Matt Moore, second from right, with some other modern SC politicos and some fugitive from the early 19th century, at a political forum last fall.

You’ve probably seen this silliness:

COLUMBIA, SC — The chairman of South Carolina’s Republican Party says he will not allow CNN or NBC to broadcast debates of Republican presidential candidates in South Carolina unless the networks refuse to air a documentary on Hilary Clinton, a possible Democratic nominee for president.

NBC plans to broadcast a miniseries starring Diane Lane as Clinton, the former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State. CNN has also announced plans for a feature-length documentary on Clinton’s career.

Monday, Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent letters to NBC and CNN telling them he would ask the RNC to ban any Republican candidates from participating in presidential debates hosted by NBC or CNN unless the two networks agree to not air the programs.

Matt Moore, South Carolina’s newly elected Republican Party chairman, said he agreed with Priebus…

Matt Moore is doing what party chairmen do — inspiring ire toward the opposition (and, if you’re a Republican, toward media, which is perceived by the most ardent loyalists as the opposition), inspire the constituency to say “hell, yeah!,” and keep them giving money.

Making sense is not a job requirement.

It is extremely unlikely that I will watch either of those programs, mainly because the chief reason I have a TV is to have something to watch movies on. These programs do not seem to fit into the category of things I deem worth spending time on.

But it seems to me that given the far less interesting and compelling figures who have inspired docudramas in the past, Hillary Clinton certainly qualifies as legitimate fodder. I found it interesting to see what Emma Thompson did with the Hillary-inspired character in “Primary Colors” — a movie that, by the way, was far from laudatory.

People make too much of such things. And they ignore the fact that these things can do as much harm as good to candidates. I’m mindful of the how media overexposure (much of it on her terms) eliminated Sarah Palin from consideration for the presidential nomination in 2012, despite her popularity for a year or so after the 2008 contest.

People have always made too much of such things. I vividly recall the way full release of “The Right Stuff” was delayed to avoid charges that the filmmakers were boosting John Glenn’s chances in the 1984 Democratic nomination process.

If only they had been able to do so. If that awesome film (which never got the attention it should have, due in large part to its on-again, off-again release) could have gotten him elected or even nominated, I would have been much happier than I was with the choice available to us that November.

44 thoughts on “SC GOP chairman doing what party chairmen do

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Speaking of Sarah Palin and this sort of thing… I recently watched “Game Change” on DVD.

    It was interesting, if only to see Julianne Moore as Ms. Palin, and Ed Harris (who played John Glenn!) as John McCain.

    Not exactly a candidate for Best Picture of the Year or anything, though…

    1. bud

      Actually I thought is was very good and should be considered for some awards. Showed Palin for the unqualified person that she is and McCain for the stooge that he turned out to be. McCain has many great qualities as a man but sadly his instincts were terrible when it comes to qualifications at POTUS. Thankfully we didn’t have to find out the hard way. The USA is soooooo much better off with Obama as POTUS.

      1. Bart

        “The USA is soooooo much better off with Obama as POTUS.”….bud

        Sorry bud, but trading one incompetent for another one even less competent only makes matters worse for the USA. Finally, the US has proven capable of electing the least qualified candidates over the past few years, over and over again.

        The electorate won’t elect a truly pragmatic person to run the country and not no, but hell no, Obama is not pragmatic, he is a poor imitation of Peter Sellers in “Being There”. Problem is, Sellers character would probably do a better job.

  2. Bart

    Now you know why I refuse to join the Republican party. If a mini-series is the instrument by which Hillary Clinton will be elected in 2016, then this country has lost its damn mind – completely. For Reince Priebus, what a name, to send letters to networks threatening to deny them the right to broadcast Republican presidential debates is one of the dumbest moves ever.

    The networks with the exception of Fox has been and always will be Hillary friendly and there is no way around it. Damn it Republicans, throw away your “blankie and pacifier”, stop wearing diapers or “Huggies”, and grow up. Put something solid out there for anyone who can think for themselves to consider instead of mindless drivel like this.

    The chances that the Hillary mini-series would win a ratings war WAS minimal but now, with a “Dumb and Dumber” move by Republicans, the ratings should be pretty good.

  3. bud

    I’m mindful of the how media overexposure (much of it on her terms) eliminated Sarah Palin from consideration for the presidential nomination in 2012, despite her popularity for a year or so after the 2008 contest.

    Really? Seriously? Are you kidding? Palin was completely incompetent. She was totally 100% unqualified to be the POTUS. THAT and only THAT was what eliminated her for any serious consideration for the highest job in the land. NOT I repeat NOT some over exposure issue. PLEEZ Brad, you’re a smart guy, but sometimes you say REEEEEEEEEEElY dumb stuff.

    1. Scout

      But Bud don’t you think the overexposure had a lot to do with making her incompetence obvious to any that had previously missed it somehow.

        1. Silence

          seriously. What experience did Obama have? None as an executive. A few years as a US Senator, and a few years before that as an absentee legislator in IL. On any contentious vote, he voted “present”….
          At least Palin had been a mayor and a governor. I wonder if she was a strong mayor, or if she was mayor in a council/manager/weak mayor system?

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            So any executive experience trumps a Harvard Law degree and Senator?

            So the mayor of Pelion is more qualified?

          2. Silence

            Not saying that “any” executive experience trumps a Harvard Law degree, but she was governor of the largest state in the Union. Also, why hasn’t Obama released his college transcripts? If he did I think you’d find that his grades were well below what it would typically take to get into Harvard Law School…..

          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            That lack of experience was a reason why I didn’t support him over McCain.

            But he surprised me. I was particularly surprised at the quality of his executive decision-making when I read about how the bin Laden raid unfolded in the months before. I couldn’t imagine how he had the experience to make decisions of such quality. It would have been so easy to make a misstep — opt for bombing rather than sending in the SEALs, decide not to notify the Pakistanis, etc.

          4. Brad Warthen Post author

            But there is no question Obama was far, far better qualified than Palin. It’s simply a matter of intelligence. The difference is like night and day. Resumes are less important when there’s that kind of intellectual gap.

            Even when I disagree with him, it’s obvious to me that Obama is a smart guy. Nothing of the kind has ever been suggested by words or deeds of Sarah Palin.

          5. Silence

            Obama’s not as smart as he’s portrayed in the media to be. Palin is not as dumb/ditzy as she’s been portrayed. It’s part of a long history of the urban elite of stereotyping people from more rural areas as dumb, or slow, or backwards.

          6. Brad Warthen Post author

            Oh, come on! It’s not about “portrayal.” I’ve met the man. He’s really smart. I’ve not had the honor of Mrs. Palin’s acquaintance, but I’ve seen NOTHING from her at any time that made me think, “That’s a smart woman.” Her “sexy librarian wearing glasses” shtick doesn’t work in that regard.

            That “media portrayal” stuff is a dodge. You’ve seen enough of them unfiltered to make up your own mind, and it’s a stark, stark contrast.

            Hey, not everybody can be smart, just as not everyone can be good-looking. It’s not about your political opinions. There are plenty of smart conservatives — Charles Krauthammer, George Will. Dick Cheney, to take it out of the realm of punditry. My favorite “conservative” these days is David Brooks, but of course that’s because he thinks like me, and isn’t doctrinaire ANYTHING. He’s smart.

            But not Sarah Palin.

          7. Doug Ross

            I don’t think Palin is book smart but she is calculating and smart in the sense of being able to recognize and exploit opportunities.

            I’m not convinced Obama is much different in that regard. His “intelligence” is more a function of presentation than actual knowledge. I base that mostly on the fact that when he is forced to speak without notes or a teleprompter (for example in debates), he doesn’t go much beyond the talking points that he has been drilled on. Same applied to George Bush.

            In terms of raw intelligence of recent Presidents I’d put the order (highest to lowest) as:

            Clinton > Carter > Kennedy > Bush Sr. > Obama > Reagan > Johnson > Bush II

            and all would be ahead of Palin.

          8. Brad Warthen Post author

            You mean, like when he gave that excellent speech the other day about race?

            I’ve sat and talked with him, and had the chance to throw questions at him. I was impressed.

            You know who else impressed me when he came in to meet with us? George W. Bush. I was prepared not to think much of him — I wanted us to endorse McCain (this was the 2000 primary), and didn’t want to think highly of Bush.

            It was weird. He was so ON. Yeah, this was a high-stakes moment for him, and he probably had the adrenalin going. Also, it was early in the morning, which he had requested, and maybe he was hyped up on caffeine.

            But what impressed me was that he not only coherently and relevantly answered any question thrown at him, but he went beyond rote, memorized answers. He was able, on the spur of the moment, to explain how THIS issue related to THAT apparently unrelated one, exhibiting what appeared to be real understanding.

            I had never seen the man seeming so intelligent, articulate and erudite before, and I never saw it again. But during that hour or so, he impressed. He really nailed the interview.

            So you can say Obama fooled me for the length of an interview. But I don’t think so…

          9. Silence

            I’m not saying that Obama’s not smart. Obviously he’s intelligent. He’s been very successful, and amassed a large fortune. I’m still convinced that he wasn’t as well qualified as: John McCain, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney or a long list of other people. But that’s neither here nor there. We are stuck with him now for a couple more years. Here’s to hoping he does better in the next three than he did in the first five.

          10. Silence

            So, now Barack “The Brain” Obama thinks that Charleston, Savannah and Jacksonville are on the Gulf of Mexico:
            “If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, or Jacksonville, Florida —”


            If a Republican has said that it would be news…

      1. bud

        That’s too ridiculous to even comment on so let’s just give POTUS a report card.

        1. As promised our troops are out of Iraq. It took him a while so he gets docked for that. Still, I’ll give him a B.
        2. Inflation remains low in spite of all the naysayers who continue to predict (wrongly) that hyperinflation is just around the corner. A
        3. Interest rates are low, perhaps too low. But at least we don’t have 15% mortgages. B
        4. Unemployment. It has taken too long to come down but at least job creation has exceeded that of the previous administration, C
        5. The drone program and spying stuff is a problem area. At least overturn torture has largely ended. D-
        6. In spite of all the nattering by Fox News the ethics of this president is pretty good. A-
        7. Security at home and abroad as measured by Americans killed in terrorist incidents has been low, probably less than 1/10 of the previous administration. A

        Overall I’d give Obama about a B. Plenty of room for improvement but given where we were on Jan 20, 2009 I’m thankful for the positive direction we’re on.

  4. Mark Stewart

    Diane Lane as Hillary Clinton? I don’t think I could ever recover from seeing Diane Lane on screen as Hillary. I don’t know what it is about her that is so completely awesome; but my infatuation could never survive that. The GOP is right – for all the wrong reasons.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          OK, now that’s awful, but…

          The very first time I sent a reporter over to the White House (I forget what for) after the Clintons moved in in 1993, the first thing she told me (yes, I said “she”) was that she had seen Hillary in person, and that she had what would later be termed cankles. I had not asked for a physical description of the First Lady, but I got one. And from one of the most talented, hard-working, professional reporters who ever worked for me.

          But here’s a puzzler for you… Does not Diane Lane also have “cankles,” if we look at the root of the word?

          It’s a combination of “calves” and “ankles,” right? Usually, it means a woman whose ankles are as thick as her calves.

          But based on that photo of Diane Lane, she sort of has reverse cankles. Her calves are so slim — lacking in definition, even, if you’ll forgive the criticism — that they aren’t much more substantial than her delicate ankles…

  5. Bryan Caskey

    Who needs CNN and Candy Crowley anyway? It’s not like CNN endeared themselves to the GOP with that little episode. Decent moderators shouldn’t be hard to find. Ask the organizations that do college debate tournaments to send their best, most-experienced judges. College debating gets a publicity boost and they would be likely to play it straight and non-political – partly to make sure they get invited to do it again next time. Maybe even find some role for the previous year’s winning team – perhaps they could be invited to come up with the questions, while the professors did the moderating.

    Networks can televise if they want; they just don’t get to run them.

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    I really enjoyed Game Change. I thought Julianne Moore humanized the loathsome Palin very well!

    I hope they keep their promise not to televise the GOP debates! Works for me!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I found it hard to watch, particularly the part where they utterly failed to vet her. If I remember correctly, everyone seemed to think that someone else had checked her out. Or something like that. Painful.

      But I will say in defense of McCain and his people that she hadn’t left many tracks out there. First thing I did when he picked her was go see what the Alaskan press was saying. I saw nothing to indicate a problem. I’ve never forgiven the Alaskan press for falling down on the job that way.

      Try to imagine if he had picked Mark Sanford (shudder). Can you imagine the hue and cry I would have raised, letting the world know how disastrous that was? In fact, I didn’t wait around for it to happen — I warned McCain, and the world, beforehand, when there was still a chance to avoid it.

      1. bud

        If she hadn’t left “very many tracks” wouldn’t that be an important finding in the vetting process? Her list of accomplishments and experience was extremely thin. But even given that her utter lack of any foreign policy knowledge had to come as a shocking surprise.

  7. Steve Gordy

    If personal net worth is the measure of a person’s intelligence, Sarahcuda is probably ahead of just about everyone who reads this blog. Just sayin’ – (not that any of our regulars would make such an argument)

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        So has Kim Kardashian. So has Justin Bieber. So has… wait, I have to go look up this one… Honey Boo Boo, I’m supposing.

        Meanwhile, Mozart died a pauper.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I don’t know, but she apparently drew quite a crowd in Columbia last night.

            It’s interesting (and sad) what has happened to popular music. There are all these people who are famous to the point that I know who they are and what they look like, but I can’t name or hum a single tune by them. Justin Bieber is an example of that.

            Wasn’t there a time when the music mattered more than the celebrity — when you were more likely to recognize the song than the face or name? Or do I delude myself?

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            I’m not talking about the Beatles. Everyone knew what they looked like, and much more besides.

            I’m thinking of… the Guess Who, for instance. A lot of good songs, but I don’t think I could pick a single one of them out of a lineup.

            Ditto with the Moody Blues, Procol Harum, etc…


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