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This new generation of GOP hopefuls understands what only Newt Gingrich knew in 2012. If you want a chance at the White House, you need to beat the other candidates and you need to beat the press.
Mitt Romney, decent fellow that he is, tacitly accepted the press’ claims of objectivity, even if he didn’t believe it in his heart. Romney grinned and nodded at reporters from CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC, even though their initials could have been DNC.
Right-leaning partisans watched moderator George Stephanopoulos concoct the fictional “War on Women” and moderator Candy Crowley actively support Obama during live debates. Many of us spent 2012 yelling at our TVs and laptop screens, “the press isn’t neutral. They’re on the other side!”
Coming of age during the Obama years, the 2016 candidates know all too well that the press is as much of an opponent as the rival campaigns. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Scott Walker all know that the mainstream media despises them. This new breed acts accordingly by questioning the press and their flawed premises.
After Planned Parenthood spent all yesterday attacking Sen. Paul, two reporters coincidentally asked him if he would accept any exemptions on abortion. Come on, senator: is there no limit to your cruel oppression of women? Paul knew the fix was in and responded accordingly.
“Here’s the deal — we always seem to have the debate waaaaay over here on what are the exact details of exemptions, or when it starts,” Paul said, moving his hand to one side. “Why don’t we ask the DNC: Is it okay to kill a seven-pound baby in the uterus? You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman-Schultz if she’s okay with killing a seven-pound baby that is not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when it’s okay to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, get back to me.”
Paul knows that Democrats rarely get questions about whether they support partial-birth abortion, if gender selection is acceptable, or if parental consent should be required. The press naturally doesn’t want to put their candidates on the hot seat, so why ask them hot-button questions? Instead, just let the Republicans sweat and damage their chances among low-info voters. To his credit, Paul didn’t play along with this old game; he questioned the premise and threw it back in the reporters’ faces.
Instead of waiting for her newsroom allies, Wasserman-Schultz released a huffy statement. “Here’s an answer,” the DNC Chair wrote. “I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story.”
She forgot to mention that Obamacare ensures government is intimately involved with this life-or-death decision, but I appreciate the clarity. To use Paul’s phrasing, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the Democratic National Committee are okay with killing a seven-pound baby in the uterus. She doesn’t care when life begins and has no intention of protecting the life of any baby in the womb, even if it’s a minute from being delivered. The baby can be killed anytime and for any reason. Period. End of story.
I hope the other GOP candidates are taking notes. They need to stop trying to placate the reporters who hate them and go on offense for a change. Like Gingrich and Paul, use a little verbal jujitsu to trip up the Democrat-Media Complex. Beltway liberals are wildly out-of-touch with the average voter’s values and concerns. Use that to our advantage.
In two minutes, I came up with several questions to ask of Hillary Clinton and her supporters. It’s only fair that moderate voters know her answers:
- “Do you believe that Officer Darren Wilson racially profiled Mike Brown? Explain.”
- “Will you have a gender-neutral bathroom in the White House? Why isn’t there one now?”
- “What made you finally agree with Dick Cheney that same-sex marriage should be legalized?”
- “How much should taxes be increased to combat climate change? Did your record-setting number of State Department trips contribute to the problem?”
- “Should we increase immigration while African-American unemployment is at record highs?”
Have at it, press corps; prove your neutrality. And Republicans, prove that you’ll be able to handle the hostile press if and when you get to the Oval Office.