This week, "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" kicked off with a question: "Why is Donald Trump stumping in Iowa?" This answer to that question is that Trump is an orange-skinned huckster-clown who wants to pretend to be a big deal in politics and a perennial presidential contender, running on such policies as "Why do the Iraqis still have oil? We should take that for ourselves." He is the sort of buffoon that the Republican Party opted to keep far, far away from their convention -- and this was in spite of the fact that they nevertheless chose to allow Clint Eastwood to do the weird things that he did.
It's a question that doesn't really ever need to be asked, let alone answered, on a Sunday show. I just took care of the matter and put it to bed in a paragraph. But "This Week" didn't just raise a dumb question and seek a trivial answer, they devoted a lot of time to a deep exploration on the matter.
In addition, the bookers for "This Week" hit their rolodexes and decided that what the world needed was Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) on a panel. And over at "Meet The Press," producers booked Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). After all, they wanted to have a discussion about comprehensive immigration reform, and how could you do such a thing without ol' Representative Cantaloupe Calves, right? I mean, if you don't book King, who knows what might happen? Two sides could work out their differences, or come to a genial understanding!
Here is a message to the Republican Party, from me: Guys, I don't know if you've noticed this, but you are getting rooked pretty badly by the Sunday shows. Did y'all wake up today thinking that the best thing for your message was to have it carried by guys like Trump and Gohmert and King? I am guessing that's not the case. But that's who got booked, because nothing is better for ratings than a bunch of hot messes on the teevee.
Trump happily obliged himself to the task of being a hot mess, though, continuing to offer up a steady stream of rhetorical skid-marks on the lunatic "Obama birth certificate" conspiracy theory as well: "Well, I don’t know, was there a birth certificate? You tell me. You know some people say that was not his birth certificate. So maybe it was; maybe it wasn’t.”
Additionally, Jonathan Karl asked Donald Trump the Important Questions, like, "Is Ted Cruz eligible to be president?" Karl knows that the answer to this question is "Yes." But Karl asked Trump because he knew it would be some Super Duper Silliness OMGZ!
“If he was born in Canada, perhaps not,” Trump said, adding, “I don’t know the circumstances. I heard somebody told me he was born in Canada. That’s really his thing.”
And Trump's "thing" is horseshit like this, which everyone at ABC News knew to be the case the second they agreed to interview him. I promise you, no one at ABC News thought that their interview with Trump would be good for America. Interviewing Trump is the political media version of the group of people who positioned pig's blood above Carrie at the prom and then laughed in anticipation of the big joke they were about to pull, only in this case, "America" is Carrie. "HAR DE HAR, THERE'S GONNA BE PIG BLOOD EVERYWHERE!" is what the people at ABC News said when they hatched the idea of airing an interview with Donald Trump.
Louis Gohmert also made things terrible for everyone. Right now, the GOP leadership is trying to tamp down the idea that they'd be willing to shut down the government unless they get an agreement from Democrats to defund Obamacare. At the end of last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor -- no weak-willed compromiser! -- was strongly signaling that everyone needed to take a chill pill. So naturally, ABC went out and got a guy that they knew would say something like this:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think you have the votes to defund Obamacare? It doesn't appear like that's...
GOHMERT: No. Not right now. But we'll see after August after people go home.
Louis, call Eric Cantor's office!
Meanwhile, over at the Meet The Press, King was on, defending his remark, "For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds -- and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert." There was never a moment that Gregory gave any suggestion that resolving this weeks-old matter was important to journalism or immigration reform or anything. King was doing so, just because David Gregory wanted him to come on "Meet The Press" so that everyone could watch King flop his gob over this matter one last time.
Ana Navarro, a GOP strategist, thankfully decided that she'd heard enough. "I think Congressman King should go get himself some therapy for his melon fixation," she said. "I think there might be medication for that. I think he's a mediocre congressman who's got no legislative record, and the only time he makes national press is when he comes out and says something offensive about the undocumented or Hispanics."
Navarro went on to say that the really great thing about King is that his stupidity is "emboldening other Republicans to speak out strongly against him, people like John Boehner, like Eric Cantor, like Paul Ryan, who are not going to stand anymore for the Republican Party being defined by somebody like Steve King."
"There are other voices who are the adults in the room and who are working hard towards a reform," Navarro said, "And I think it's going to happen. I'm more optimistic than most."
Well, I appreciate the optimism, but I don't share it because it is still Steve King getting booked on Sunday Morning Teevee, not these other "adults in the room."
Republican Party, this is all stuff that makes these shows really painful for people like me to watch. I wake up in the morning and see that I'm going to have to sit through a segment with Donald Trump and my reservoir of "willingness to go on living" just evaporates.
Surely you guys feel the same way, when the guy that Meet The Press goes out and gets for their panel discussion on immigration -- strictly for the purpose of derailing it -- is the guy who recently embarrassed y'all with his discussion of illegal immigrants and their sacks-of-marijuana-based Crossfit regimen. You guys probably don't like seeing these guys get booked any more than I do. Perhaps our interests are aligned?
Hey, we called around and got some quotes about today's Sunday offering of Trump-Gohmert-King, just for fun. "Looking forward to future Sunday shows filled with Markwayne Mullin," griped one GOP operative. Another told us, "We have Fox and we use (like props) the most irritating, obscure Democratic political voices, like Bob Beckel, Susan Estrich, Pat Caddell, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. They have the major networks. We used to get Bachmann [on these shows], and now it looks like we're gonna get Gohmert. [Bob] Dole's Meet The Press appearance record could be in jeopardy."
Look, Republican Party, there is probably nothing you can do about Donald Trump, because he is a unique, sparkling gas-sack unto himself. But can you guys see about keeping Gohmert and King occupied on Sunday mornings? Maybe give them both a sack of jacks and a rubber ball to bounce, or something? It would make my life better and it might even make your jobs easier as well.
Ryan Grim contributed reporting.
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This story appears in Issue 62 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store, available Friday, August 16.