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Are Sunday political talk shows sabotaging the GOP?
Donald Trump, Louie Gohmert, and Steve King all had headline-making appearances yesterday. That's not a good thing for the Republican brand.
 

The Republican Party is still experimenting with its re-branding efforts. And that's a good thing, says Charlie Cook at National Journal. "While the Democratic Party and congressional Democrats boast brands still in disfavor with the public," he says, "the Republican Party's and congressional Republicans' brands are in much worse shape."

This week's Sunday talk shows probably didn't help. On ABC's This Week, Jonathan Karl interviewed Donald Trump in Iowa, where Trump is threatening to run for president. (Watch above.) When Karl asked Trump why people don't take him seriously, Trump said he still isn't sure President Obama was born in the U.S., and also doesn't know if Canadian-born Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — one of Trump's potential 2016 GOP rivals — is eligible to be president.

This Week also hosted a sparring match between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and conservative columnist George Will, in which Gohmert argued in favor of shutting down the government, if necessary, to defund ObamaCare — something Will said would be unwise and counterproductive.

NBC's Meet the Press, meanwhile, had a verbal boxing match between Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and GOP strategist Ana Navarro. King, who recently suggested that many undocumented immigrants are "drug mules" with "cantaloupe-sized calves" from carrying so much marijuana, said that a Senate immigration bill awaiting action in the House would let in a lot of foreign "drug smugglers up to the age of 35." Navarro shot back that "King should get some therapy for his melon fixation." Watch:

It's not a coincidence that the producers at the network talk shows booked "orange-skinned huckster-clown" Trump, off-message government shutdown proponent Gohmert, and "ol' Representative Cantaloupe Calves" King on their marquee political programs, says Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post.

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....

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. [Huffington Post]

The good news for the GOP is that it probably doesn't matter, says Albert Hunt at Bloomberg View. "Republicans are seen as the main villains" in the historically unpopular Congress, but their outlook for 2014 is still remarkably rosy: "Republicans will hold the U.S. House, conceivably even adding to their 233-to-200 majority. They seem certain to pick up U.S. Senate seats, with an outside chance to gain the half-dozen needed for control."

 
Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian, and plays in an Austin rock band.

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