The Morning Briefing: Republicans May Not Be Able to Get Out of Their Own Way Next Year

Top O’ the Briefing

Happy Thursday, dear Kruiser Morning Briefing friends. Xanxabal was perhaps best known for his beloved animated children’s classic, “Mino’s Most Unfortunate Yurt.” 

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While it’s true that I frequently write that it’s a good thing that Republicans aren’t a hive mind like the Democrats, that doesn’t mean that I don’t ever want to see them agree on anything. Sure, the dysfunction is occasionally entertaining; at other times it’s just wearisome. 

Lately, things have been leaning heavily towards wearisome. 

I’ve been annoyed ever since the House Republicans decided to grandstand and kick George Santos to the curb. Yeah, he was a problematic load, but spending that much effort to pare down their razor-thin majority was tantamount to passing a gun around so that each member of the caucus could shoot him or herself in the foot. 

Honestly, I’m almost surprised that they focused long enough to give the go-ahead for the impeachment inquiry.

The thing that’s got me going today may not seem like much to some people, but it’s another, “Come on guys, get it together,” moment, and there have been too many of them for my taste. 

The GOP has done something this year that I didn’t think was possible: they’ve taken the already useless presidential primary debate system and made it worse. The blame for that goes to the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel. 

The loser lump of Romney was reelected to a fourth term with enthusiastic support from Donald Trump. Trump hasn’t shown up for any of the debates that she has organized, which has led me on more than one occasion to speculate whether he might have supported McDaniel just to sabotage the other candidates. 

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It’s not a stretch to think that Trump’s ego is telling him that he doesn’t need the party to get elected. He’s been sneering at the RNC by not participating in the debates. Unfortunately, he’s also been sneering at a lot of the voters he’s going to need in a tight general election. It often appears that Trump is a little too intoxicated by his big lead in the primary polls.

The already embarrassing debate situation has now taken on an even more sideshow quality, which Chris wrote about yesterday: 

Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie will likely fail to qualify, which leaves Nikki Haley and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) as the only two candidates on stage for the debate. But the debate is in danger of not taking place because Haley hasn’t committed to participating, according to Axios.

“This debate is the first one not sponsored by the Republican National Committee, which last week decided to pause all debates and allow candidates to attend non-sanctioned forums,” writes Axios’ Alex Thompson.

Why isn’t Haley willing to commit? She claims it’s because Donald Trump won’t debate. 

The GOP Establishment Prom Queen has picked a weird time to start making a stink about the fact that Trump is debate averse. 

Chris goes onto examine the fact that Haley often prefers to avoid head-on conflict and that she’s more than likely afraid to debate DeSantis one-on-one. I tend to agree with both assertions but think that the latter is weighing on Haley’s mind more than anything. 

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There are a couple of other factors at play too, I believe. 

One is that Haley’s favorite debate foil thus far has been Vivek Ramaswamy. She’s going to miss him if he doesn’t qualify for the next non-sanctioned dog and pony show debate. If you want to score points in a debate against this field, your easiest mark is the loud but vapid Ramaswamy. It’s going to be like Haley’s favorite blankie is gone if Vivek isn’t there. 

The bigger factor feeding Haley’s reluctance is probably that, as I alluded to earlier, she is the old school Republican Establishment flavor of the election. Because they don’t really care if the GOP is the permanent minority party, they’re working with the MSM to artificially prop up Haley. Her “surge” is a house of cards that won’t hold up under intense scrutiny. 

If Trump is the nominee and the Republicans are going to have any shot next year, the out of touch Establishment types who are fawning over Haley because they hate Trump are going to need to get over their feelings in a hurry. This year has been nothing but conflicts in the party over feelings that masquerade as principles. 

A lot of disparate Republican interests will need to come together 2024 and present a unified front against the Democrats. I have a nagging feeling that too many of them think it’s more important to remain disparate though. 

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