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GOP to avoid ‘traveling circus’ for 2016 primary debates; Priebus nixes liberal moderators

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The Republican Party’s finally playing to win.

The 2016 presidential nomination process will include fewer than half the televised debates of the “traveling circus” of 2012, GOP National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced Friday.

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Photo: NPR.org
Tangles between candidate Newt Gingrich and moderator Wolf Blitzer became a subplot of the 2012 Republican primary contest.

More important, Republicans are going to stop letting the mainstream media determine their agenda by determining the topics during debates, Priebus said, according to the Associated Press.

“I think a traveling circus of debates is insanity in this party,” Priebus said at the California Republican Party’s Spring Convention in Burlingame, Calif. “We’re proposing to have fewer than 10, and this time around, we’re going to pick the moderators.”

What in the world took so long?

There’s no question that the 2012 GOP nominating process was influenced heavily by a mainstream media that has no love for the Republican Party.

In January 2012 alone, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer’s tangles with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during debate questions turned into national stories in themselves, while Clinton family protégé George Stephanopoulos single-handedly diverted the GOP campaign – and presaged a major Democrat line of attack in the general election – with his questioning of Mitt Romney about contraception.

Some of it made for good television — Newt’s putdowns of some of the libs early on were priceless — but the Republican Party nominating process isn’t “American Idol.”

How about having Republican, conservative moderators who know what they’re talking about ask the questions for a change? If Marco Rubio can win over Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham on immigration, he’ll deserve the nomination. If Ted Cruz can out-logic George Will about the government shutdown, Republicans will have their man.

If any Republican candidate — anyone at all — can be smarter or tougher than the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel, victory is assured.

The Republican Party letting the mainstream networks choose debate moderators is like a baseball team letting opponents name the umps. There’s no doubt the men in blue are going to say they’re just doing their job, they might even really believe it. It’s just a coincidence that every call goes the wrong way.

That’s not the way to win the ball game.

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