Dear GOP Candidates: Beat the Press

 

shutterstock_120719548This 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.

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 55 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    The Reticulator:

    Larry Koler:

    Aaron Miller:“Okay, let’s talk about humility…”

    Oh man, that is so beautiful — thanks so much for putting this up. I’m becoming a Ted Cruz fan more every day. What a great set of answers! Brilliant.

    I don’t know who that reporter is and I resent having his voice autoplaying when I open this page. Now I have to clean his snot off of my computer.

    Hilarious.

    (Yes, what’s with the autoplaying on the Youtube?)

    • #31
  2. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    If you want to win, you never complain about your opponent, you beat them to a pulp.

    Americans love a winner and making the elite press look foolish or stupid is a winning tactic. The press, when enraged, loses any position of authority or credibility they possess.

    The press will never cover the GOP other than as a full bore adversary. They will never cover conservatives other than as a killing machine.

    The sides are drawn. The GOP strategy of “Hoping the press will go back to the old rules” is a sign of senility.

    We have some candidates this time who look like they may be ready for a 21st century election.

    • #32
  3. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    DocJay:I’d pay money to spray mace on the lot of them.

    I’d pay money to nuke ’em from orbit.

    • #33
  4. profdlp Inactive
    profdlp
    @profdlp

    Larry Koler:

    …We simply do not need a media moderator. There are other ways…

    Put two candidates alone on a stage and give them 60-90 minutes to say what they want to say.  Even if all they do is try and talk over each other we will learn a lot about their character by seeing how each of them deals with it.

    • #34
  5. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Note the title for that Youtube video “Ted Cruz Talks Climate Change and Gets Everything Wrong”.  Heaven forbid they just title it “Cruz Talks Climate Change”. So I guess it’s wrong that people used to warn of global cooling and wrong that temps haven’t risen over 17 years, because the Youtube headline says so.

    • #35
  6. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Mike LaRoche

    DocJay:I’d pay money to spray mace on the lot of them.

    I’d pay money to nuke ‘em from orbit.

    It’s the only way to be sure.

    • #36
  7. Mama Toad Member
    Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Aaron Miller:“Okay, let’s talk about humility…”

    Aaron, when Cruz explains his objections to the global warming fanatics as being akin to the Flat Earthers who went after Galileo, I was less than impressed with his argument, since Galileo’s issue had nothing to do with the shape of the earth but rather the presence of moons around Jupiter, the phases of Venus, the way the moon moves with respect to the earth, and most centrally (pun intended), the heliocentric model…

    • #37
  8. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Paul just went up in my book. That was Grade-A political jujitsu.

    Here’s the video clip of his exchange on abortion.

    • #38
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    TKC1101:The press will never cover the GOP other than as a full bore adversary. They will never cover conservatives other than as a killing machine.

    We should never cover the press as something other than a killing machine.  Or more accurately, as a major part of the trillion-dollar, leftwing hate machine.

    • #39
  10. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Part of the poison is the idea (mistaken or true) that you have to actually run to generate buzz.  I was appalled when Newt ran in 2012.  I have likened his entry to a magnificent piece of artillery being carried down from a commanding height and dragged through the mud to be swung like a club.

    I wound up supporting him until he himself packed it in, because he would fight when few others would.  He had eaten Santorum’s lunch and started in on Romney’s, mostly by taking the stick to the DMC and Obama.  Then Mitt carpet-bombed him.  Well, fine, do what you gotta do.  But he followed that up by allowing Crowley to rescue Obama.  Not only would he not attack the Alinsky machine, he wouldn’t even object when it pooped on his carpet.

    The right has enough compelling characters (and Sarah Palin is one of them) that some of them should specialize in top-rope smackdowns from afar.  Those who run must run a course — those who shoot blowdarts from the sidelines are no less valuable, and far more maneuverable.

    Notice who takes out conservative brawlers — the Rove-Rubin end of the two-party money cult.  People like Newt and Palin should stay involved, and those in the race should *anticipate* their moves and capitalize on them.  And if a GOP candidate takes a stick to the knee from angry conservatives, he should take it in stride.  As long as he doesn’t turn on the base, he’ll be okay. A grown-up should know that.

    Instead we get this scorched-earth hobbit wackobird crush-you nonsense from Obama’s lackeys in the GOP  THERE I SAID IT!  Pfft.  Do it without us, then.  The Tea Party gets pilloried for not winning with Angle in an election year that was salvaged from despair — and turned into an earth-shattering victory — by the Tea Party?

    So we’re not in the mood to be lectured about loyalty or math.  We know both just fine, and despite what our elected representatives have to say, it seems to matter a great deal what we think.

    Right now, we think some more people with guts like Paul and Cruz, and fewer with pedigrees like Juan Arbusto or the execrable liar Marco Rubio would suit us just fine.  There must be something to do on a Tuesday besides wait in line at a government gymnasium.

    • #40
  11. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Umbra Fractus:I was not, and remain not a fan of Cruz or Paul, but credit where it’s due; my opinion of both men improved significantly through reading this thread.

    I’ve posted two articles in a row praising Paul, but if the election were today, I’d vote for Walker. But we have an impressive, smart, savvy group running this time. Instead of only beating the tar out of each other, I would love them to spend a significant amount of their energy selling conservativism to voters.

    Well, there’s the rub. We might be headed for the same scenario that played out in other recent presidential elections: The establishment squish enjoys an unchallenged share of primary voters while the anti-establishment voter pool is split between several candidates on account of differing priorities and personalities.

    I’m not sure Jeb Bush has as good a chance as John McCain did, largely on account of liberals’ successful campaign that demonized the Bush family name. But he will certainly benefit from the split votes of people desiring limited government.

    • #41
  12. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    I have said this before, but rather than trying to discuss ‘legitimate rape’ candidates should make sure they are answering legitimate questions. And if the interviewer is trying to make you look extreme, why not mention your opponents position.

    • #42
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Ball Diamond Ball:…

    Right now, we think some more people with guts like Paul and Cruz, and fewer with pedigrees like Juan Arbusto or the execrable liar Marco Rubio would suit us just fine. There must be something to do on a Tuesday besides wait in line at a government gymnasium.

    Ooooh, an 11th Commandment apostate! It’s soooo tempting…

    But, for now, let me offer some positive advice to our candidates in alignment with these Paul/Cruz responses: Make the Left live up to its own conceits.

    I have a real-life story from a friend whose son (J) is attending a local community college. He happened upon a Q&A between students and the president and vice-president taking place in the common area. He stood at the back of the crowd for a time listening to questions and answers about hot meals in the cafeteria and parking issues. And then he asked, “Does the college have a policy of non-discrimination toward religious believers, like Muslims and Jews?” To which the president answered confidently, “Yes, of course, we do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation,” blah, blah, blah…  J followed up the response with, “Really? Because I run into anti-Christian bias in lots of classes…” The president then handed the mic to the vice-president who asked J to make an appointment to see him.

    The conversation continued in private, but the allegation of discrimination toward Christians was out there for all to hear. And lots of the students were sympathetic. This is how revolutions begin. Radical truth bumps up against the power structures, and everyone recognizes it.

    • #43
  14. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Want to know how to make your vote truly meaningless?  Be angry enough to withhold it and then cave.  Ridden like a mule.

    • #44
  15. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Ball Diamond Ball:Part of the poison is the idea (mistaken or true) that you have to actually run to generate buzz. I was appalled when Newt ran in 2012. I have likened his entry to a magnificent piece of artillery being carried down from a commanding height and dragged through the mud to be swung like a club.

    I wound up supporting him until he himself packed it in, because he would fight when few others would. He had eaten Santorum’s lunch and started in on Romney’s, mostly by taking the stick to the DMC and Obama. Then Mitt carpet-bombed him. Well, fine, do what you gotta do. But he followed that up by allowing Crowley to rescue Obama. Not only would he not attack the Alinsky machine, he wouldn’t even object when it pooped on his carpet.

    The right has enough compelling characters (and Sarah Palin is one of them) that some of them should specialize in top-rope smackdowns from afar. Those who run must run a course — those who shoot blowdarts from the sidelines are no less valuable, and far more maneuverable.

    Notice who takes out conservative brawlers — the Rove-Rubin end of the two-party money cult. People like Newt and Palin should stay involved, and those in the race should *anticipate* their moves and capitalize on them. And if a GOP candidate takes a stick to the knee from angry conservatives, he should take it in stride. As long as he doesn’t turn on the base, he’ll be okay. A grown-up should know that.

    Instead we get this scorched-earth hobbit wackobird crush-you nonsense from Obama’s lackeys in the GOP THERE I SAID IT! Pfft. Do it without us, then. The Tea Party gets pilloried for not winning with Angle in an election year that was salvaged from despair — and turned into an earth-shattering victory — by the Tea Party?

    So we’re not in the mood to be lectured about loyalty or math. We know both just fine, and despite what our elected representatives have to say, it seems to matter a great deal what we think.

    Right now, we think some more people with guts like Paul and Cruz, and fewer with pedigrees like Juan Arbusto or the execrable liar Marco Rubio would suit us just fine. There must be something to do on a Tuesday besides wait in line at a government gymnasium.

    Nicely said (if a bit convoluted — but, then, I’m getting used to your ingenious sentence structure).

    I said before that I don’t think McCain really wanted to be president but in 2008 he definitely wanted to prevent any other Republican from being president. And Mitt was as predictable as could be in that he wouldn’t stand up for himself nor for Republican principles.

    I was for Newt in 2012 and I’m for Cruz now. I don’t trust Rand completely but I do know that he would be far better than any Dem — and he’d be fun to watch in office. There would be some incredibly interesting political theater with him as president.

    And you are right about a simple thing with these two: they will at least fight.

    • #45
  16. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Just a tangent. I watched Mike Pence’s interview with George Stephanopoulos, and every time Stephanopoulos tried to ask a yes-or-no question, Pence just complained about the premise.

    We all applauded Newt Gingrich for challenging the question, and I think that’s what Pence wanted to do. But instead of coming off as rejecting the premise, Pence came off as avoiding the premise. I got more than a hint of that with Rand Paul yesterday.

    It takes a tremendous presence of mind to get a question like that, instantly decide to answer or challenge, and then the hard part …  to display and highlight to the audience why the question is unfair. The display is the hard part. Instead of merely not-answering the question, you have to display why it’s unfair. Gingrich was pretty fast on his feet, and could quickly catch the question and then be able to explain it. In my opinion, Pence whiffed on that part. He had the right idea, but he wasn’t quick enough to show why the question was unfair. Stephanopoulos kept asking, yes or no? Pence should have said, it’s not a simple yes or no, so stop trying to force it into that binary answer. But Pence just dodged the question.

    We loved Gingrich when he challenged the interviewer … but I don’t think that’s as easy as it sounds. You can’t just say, “hey, challenge the question” as if anyone can do it. That’s actually pretty hard. If you want to deal with the media, it takes work.

    • #46
  17. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    While commending Paul for his handling of the question I’ll add two cautionary notes.

    1.  I agree with KC Mulville that if you are going to employ the technique you better have some substance behind it and know your stuff as opposed to either just questioning premises or knowing your subject one remark deep.  Liberals can get away with slogans, conservatives can’t.  They need to articulate why the premise is false.

    2. This type of response is a component of a campaign for any successful GOP candidate but it alone does not suffice.  As others have noted here, Newt Gingrich was terrific at questioning premises and turning them around.  Unfortunately, other than that he was a bad candidate and would have made a lousy President.

    • #47
  18. user_989419 Inactive
    user_989419
    @ProbableCause

    The trick is for Republicans to make sure they’re answering the right question.  For example, if a reporter asks, “Should abortion be legal in all cases?,” the Republican response should always be:

    That’s a very important question.  Unfortunately, that’s not the question being debated in Washington.  The question being debated in Washington is, should the federal government pay for abortions?  That is, should the federal government take money from people of conscience, who foundationally disagree with the practice of aborting a baby — should the government confiscate their money and use it in ways that are morally objectionable to them?  The Democrats believe so strongly in this siphoning of money for controversial purposes, that they are right now filibustering the anti-human-trafficking bill in the Senate until they get their way.  My position, on the other hand, is that the people who support abortion should pay for abortion.  If they think it’s such a moral good, let them make the donations with their own money, directly to Planned Parenthood, instead of reaching into the pockets of people who disagree.

    (Then go on to talk about Margaret Sanger, eugenics, and the racist history of Planned Parenthood.)

    So it’s not avoiding the question, it’s changing the question into the one that is actually being fought over in the political sphere.  It’s not falling for the trick of talking about something on the 5 yard line of the right end of the football field, when the real action is at the 50 yard line.

    • #48
  19. Roberto Inactive
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    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:

    • “Will you have a gender-neutral bathroom in the White House? Why isn’t there one now?”

    Three minutes would have been better, the Great One has anticipated this line of attack and has already sprung into action.

    President Barack Obama’s staff and visitors now have the option of using a gender-neutral restroom, a White House spokesman said Wednesday — the latest in a series of symbolic steps the Obama administration has taken to work the priorities of the LGBT community into its broader themes of inclusiveness and tolerance.

    • #49
  20. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Umbra Fractus:I was not, and remain not a fan of Cruz or Paul, but credit where it’s due; my opinion of both men improved significantly through reading this thread.

    I’ve posted two articles in a row praising Paul, but if the election were today, I’d vote for Walker. But we have an impressive, smart, savvy group running this time. Instead of only beating the tar out of each other, I would love them to spend a significant amount of their energy selling conservativism to voters.

    Agreed. Whatever my issues with any of the candidates, I’ve seen none so far that would make me sit this one out.

    • #50
  21. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Republican candidates might do well to learn from the example of Benjamin Netanyahu:

    The more he talked, the more respect he sought, the less he received. On Israel’s Army Radio, Netanyahu was asked if Sheldon Adelson pulls his strings, while a local Tel Aviv station asked if his wife, Sara, runs the show. The head-butting with interviewers reached its unexpected peak during a television morning show, when a host outright said to him he probably doesn’t care for the welfare of her children. The entire country couldn’t stop talking about that.

    Journalists and some viewers likely thought that Netanyahu was making a fool of himself, throwing his statesmanship out the window for a few more votes. But, in fact, this was a brilliant stroke by a master campaigner who knew that the more the media lambasted him, the more his constituents would rally around him. Every journalist who patted him- or herself on the back for asking Netanyahu uncompromising questions was in fact just helping him score points with the voters.

    It’s a different media market and a different political system, so the lessons are not directly transferable, but there is an important nugget of campaigning wisdom here that GOP candidates need to learn. It is the same wisdom that Mayor Giuliani used in his continual battles with The New York Times. An unreasonable media, if it oversteps, can make a reasonable candidate look good.

    • #51
  22. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    I agree 100% and have always advocated this, but it was 5, 10, 20 years ago I’ve heard Republicans and Conservatives say something to the effect of, “Don’t fight with the Press. You can’t win.” I say, “Bull!”

    With Obama, the Media has laid down, even when he’s has been bugging their phones and reading their email. That is as close as they’ll get to admitting they are full-on Leftists.

    Run a saber through them and clean the blood off on their once smug face, figuratively of course.

    • #52
  23. civil westman Inactive
    civil westman
    @user_646399

    Why do not Republicans point out over and over again that the MSM never asks such ‘gotcha’ questions of Democrats? Why do they not cite specific examples where disbelief is completely suspended in Dem interviews, which more resemble cheering sessions? Why do they not ask why the continuous accusatory skepticism and derogatory expressions of disbelief are reserved for Republicans, particularly conservatives? They ought to preface every answer with these facts from now until the election (God help us to survive it).

    • #53
  24. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Son of Spengler:Republican candidates might do well to learn from the example of Benjamin Netanyahu:

    The more he talked, the more respect he sought, the less he received. On Israel’s Army Radio, Netanyahu was asked if Sheldon Adelson pulls his strings, while a local Tel Aviv station asked if his wife, Sara, runs the show. The head-butting with interviewers reached its unexpected peak during a television morning show, when a host outright said to him he probably doesn’t care for the welfare of her children. The entire country couldn’t stop talking about that.

    Journalists and some viewers likely thought that Netanyahu was making a fool of himself, throwing his statesmanship out the window for a few more votes. But, in fact, this was a brilliant stroke by a master campaigner who knew that the more the media lambasted him, the more his constituents would rally around him. Every journalist who patted him- or herself on the back for asking Netanyahu uncompromising questions was in fact just helping him score points with the voters.

    It’s a different media market and a different political system, so the lessons are not directly transferable, but there is an important nugget of campaigning wisdom here that GOP candidates need to learn. It is the same wisdom that Mayor Giuliani used in his continual battles with The New York Times. An unreasonable media, if it oversteps, can make a reasonable candidate look good.

    Don’t you think the media here has been already sufficiently unreasonable — and with no ill effects. They got Obama (“The Amateur”) elected 2 times.

    I bet we have more LIVs than Israel does — and LIVs, in order to be useful members of the electorate, are completely dependent on the quality of the MSM. With an unprofessional media like we have the results are predictably left-leaning and some analysts say it can mean as much as 5% to 20% in the elections!

    • #54
  25. user_444739 Inactive
    user_444739
    @OmidMoghadam

    Aaron Miller:“Okay, let’s talk about humility…”

    Man, is he good. Thanks for posting this.

    • #55
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.