Time to Stop the Moderator Masochism

On an interview tour for his new book on President Obama, NBC’s Chuck Todd told Larry King that his conversations with Obama are “very nourishing.” Even after six or seven years of adoration, reporters still sound like then-NBC reporter Lee Cowan admitting in 2008 that being assigned to the Obama campaign made his “knees quake.” He wondered if “he could do the campaign justice,” since it was “truly historic.”

With conservatism on the ascent again and Obama’s legacy in tatters, it doesn’t take psychic powers to guess the 2016 presidential cycle is going to be another brutal campaign for GOP presidential contenders. Not only will the media transparently wish for Democrats to retain the power to protect Obama’s “historic” policies, Republicans will inevitably be tagged as sexist for daring to run against the “truly historic campaign” of  Hillary Clinton.

That hint of the aggression to come came when the Republican Governors Association strangely asked Chuck Todd to moderate a panel discussion with five governors on November 19 at its conference in Boca Raton, Florida. The New York Times reported that Todd tilted the whole conversation toward Obama’s executive diktats on immigration.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal eventually protested: "We have an hour. We've now spent 30 minutes talking about the President breaking the law tomorrow....I'd like to talk about energy, I'd like to talk about education." Todd replied, “This is not an insignificant issue.” Jindal tried to change the subject, and Todd kept pushing “path to citizenship” at him. “You don’t have to take a long time answering,” he insisted.“You’ve asked it five times,” Jindal protested again. “I’ve answered it five different ways.”

Moments later, after Todd ignored him and continued to press on the issue, Texas Gov. Rick Perry remarked: "Here's what I'm thinking: You will probably not be invited to do a moderation for a presidential debate." That prompted laughter and applause from the audience.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich added: "One of my friends said, 'Why would they have Chuck Todd and not George Will? I mean, what's the story with this?'"

This is a promising sound, but the governors did invite Todd to moderate this event, and they should not have been surprised at the one-sided pounding they received. As usual, Republicans think inviting liberal national journalists in grants the meeting some kind of instant gravitas, impressing donors and the grass roots. Instead, it only signals their political masochism.  And then, on cue, they complain.

Todd is reflecting the Obama-loving media narrative that Republicans have a very damaging racism problem. Under this narrative, the midterm victories mean nothing, since minority voters aren’t turning out for the midterms. Todd and his media pals still know in their “objective” bones that the Republicans are doomed to be a losing “white male” party for many elections to come.

So the Republicans should use this Todd event to realize their need to break the addiction. Stop inviting Obama-loving journalists to "moderate" anything when Republicans gather to discuss politics. At the very least, take a break the length of time between Obama visits to Fox News – six months to a year.

Todd’s persistence on immigration is quite similar to moderator George Stephanopoulos asking six questions about contraceptives at a debate in the last election cycle. It’s well past time to stop letting the liberal networks directly inflict damage on Republicans from the stage during the primary debates.