In the wake of a CNBC debate where the moderators very rudely asked questions of the GOP presidential candidates, those candidates are yelling at the Republican National Committee en masse, demanding more control over the next debate and fewer “gotcha” questions. Also, presumably more questions about just how each candidate got so rich, successful and good-looking, and maybe a portion where the moderators are invited to feel the male contenders’ large and manly muscles.

Politico reports that representatives from each GOP campaign held an angry meeting with the RNC on Sunday, saying they want to negotiate directly with TV networks to make sure the next debate’s “format” is dictated by them as a group. They want a two-hour debate, max, 30 seconds each for opening and closing statements, and an “equal” number of questions, even if you’re Mike Huckabee and no one cares what you have to say.

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Some of the ill feeling here stems from the fact that candidates who are polling poorly are treated like candidates who are polling poorly. People like Lindsey Graham and Bobby Jindal participate in kid’s table debates no one watches, and Rand Paul and Chris Christie were relegated to “greenrooms” before the CNBC debates that looked a lot like bathrooms.

But this impressively petulant pack of baby whiners can’t keep up a united front for long. Last week, in an effort to placate them, RNC chair Reince Preibus told NBC he’s pulling out of a planned February 26 debate hosted by Telemundo, an NBC subsidiary, at the University of Houston.

That works just fine for Donald Trump, considering that a debate hosted by Telemundo anchors might focus on his continued belief that Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists. Politico reports that Jeb Bush’s campaign wants the partnership with NBC reinstated, but Trump’s campaign manager threatened to boycott the debate entirely if that happens.

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Anyway, all this sounds like a mature and reasonable discussion being had by adults who are definitely not used to being handed every single thing on a silver platter whose format they’ve chosen themselves.


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.

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Bush, Rubio, Trump and Carson at the last debate, October 28, 2015. Photo via AP Images