Hillary mania is not diminished by the lady herself remaining noncommittal. When you have undeniable star quality, producers want to make a movie about you. It so happens that NBC Entertainment is planning a miniseries and CNN Films hopes to produce a feature-length documentary.
That has the Republican Party calling foul, always one of its strengths. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus threatens to have the GOP boycott candidate debates hosted by CNN and NBC if they go ahead with their plans to run shows assumed to be flattering to Clinton.
This strikes me as a good idea. The world would be a better place — nay, the party itself would be a better place — if Republican debates were kept to a minimum. Mitt Romney might now be president if the American public had not been overexposed to the opinions displayed by the GOP candidates as each attempted to be more extreme than the others.
There was Newt Gingrich, the famous adulterer, explaining why he was best placed to be the champion of family values. There was Rick Santorum, auditioning to be grand inquisitor of American culture.
There was Rick Perry, whose one or two thoughts were like little critters that had found their way inside a big cowboy hat and were running in circles trying to find their way out. And there was Romney himself, explaining why he was for government health care before he was against it.
There were others equally implausible, but the old brain forms a protective scab over the memory of them. And some wonder why Barack Obama won again.
When it comes to Republican candidate debates, the 2012 election was a validation of the argument that less is more. Instead, there were, gosh, how many debates? Twenty? A hundred? The only thing the public knew was that for weeks it wasn’t safe to turn on the TV.
As productions go, they seemed like “The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade” — except with Obama cast as Marat for purposes of having his character assassinated.
So, Mr. Priebus, don’t let anyone talk you out of your boycott threat. Don’t listen when they say, for example, that conservatives usually hate boycotts that try to prevent corporations from making money as they see fit.
Stick to the line that the motivation of the business side of these corporations is political favoritism, when the members of what you think is the political side — the news division — are on record as saying they don’t like the idea of the Clinton films. (The journalists fear that the partisans who assume they are not objective will now think they are not objective, only more so.)
Don’t dwell on the fact that this is the free market at work — unfortunately, the free market you otherwise profess to love. A hot commodity exists — Hillary Clinton — and in any business, you serve the customers hot commodities. But, Mr. Priebus, put this inconvenient thought out of our head and give us all a break.
And, business executives at NBC and CNN, if any of you are mad enough to think that you are “putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election” — as the RNC letter of complaint said — know that these efforts will surely backfire. Mindless overexposure can make Democrats as well as Republicans seem stale.
Who wants to tune in to a rehash of the great Clinton saga anyway? Certainly not me. It is not as if anything new can be said. For one thing, there will be no exciting car chases — just, with luck, Bill Clinton chasing an intern around the table.
But don’t let me talk you broadcasters out of it. The RNC chairman has made an offer too good to refuse. Fewer debates for the price of producing films on someone everybody and his mother knows is going to run and win.
Reg Henry writes for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.