Tuesday, February 08, 2022


Remember this story from last month?
The Republican National Committee (RNC) alerted the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) on Thursday that it plans to require GOP presidential nominees not to attend debates run by the commission going forward.

... Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel ... said GOP voters "have lost trust" in the commission....
It's not that the GOP candidate will refuse to debate, exactly. The candidate and the party will demand one or more debates rigged in Republicans' favor. Among other things, the party will recommend alternate debate moderators.

I'm calling it now: One of the GOP's proposed moderators will be Joe Rogan.

He'll be sold as impartial. (He said he liked Bernie Sanders!) And despite his current troubles, by then he'll have survived this moment of scrutiny.

Glenn Beck survived saying President Obama had “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” Yes, Beck apologized for that remark, but last year he took back his apology. It doesn't matter. His most recent book was a #1 Amazon bestseller. He's doing fine.

Rush Limbaugh survived three days of attacks on Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who fought for contraception access, including characterizations of her as a "slut" and a "prostitute." By the end of his life, Limbaugh was receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-President Trump; after his death Florida governor Ron DeSantis ordered flags at state buildings flown at half staff in his honor. Both Trump and DeSantis are favored to win their next elections.

So this moment will pass for Rogan. It won't do more than a trivial amount of damage to his career, if it does any.

When I suggested on Twitter that the RNC would propose Rogan as a debate moderator, I was reminded that his name has come up before.

The linked 2020 story from Mediaite previews most of the arguments the Republicans will make in 2024 in defense of of their debate commission boycott:
“Anyone who doesn’t follow him, Joe Rogan is a juggernaut,” McCain said. “He has 200 million uniques on his podcast a month. He signed a historic deal with Spotify. He has an absolutely huge audience. He’s controversial to some people, to other people he’s basically the everyman speaking truth to power depending on your perspective.”

McCain then expressed her disappointment with the current debate moderator choices, which include Fox News’ Chris Wallace, USA Today’s Susan Page, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, and NBC News’ Kristen Welker, adding that Rogan would be a “game-changer.”

“These are uncomfortable and very dangerous times. I think that we should be asking both of these candidates uncomfortable questions,” she added. “The idea we’re going to have very old school journalists, no disrespect to the people who were chosen, who only get one hour and we can’t stream, is really, I think, not going to be sufficient especially in the era of Covid when we already have had so much of a back bump of not being able to get answers from both of these candidates that we need.”
That's what we'll hear in 2024, and it will sound reasonable to a lot of people. I expect New York Times and Atlantic opinion pieces defending the RNC. It really won't surprise me if Rogan gets the gig, and if Democrats meekly go along.

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