Sunday, May 17, 2015

Stop Praising The Enemy

One of the things that annoys me with the GOP is that they don’t understand the nature of how to fight modern politics. In particular, they don’t grasp the need to undermine the credibility of those who will be attacking them. Nothing highlights this better than when some scandal arises that engulfs one of their enemies. For whatever reason, dozens of Republicans rush to the microphones to provide aid and comfort to the bad guys. I just don’t get it. The latest example of this comes from Marco Rubio and George Stephanopoulos. Here’s what’s happened...

With Hillary Clinton running for el Presidente and the left not being so enamored of her because she’s bland, she’s corrupt, she’s a tool of big business, and she’s only ideological when it’s absolutely safe to be, a goodly number of journalists have decided to look into various Clinton scandals to see if they can’t kill the Hilldebeast.

In doing so, they investigated the Clinton Foundation, which is little more than a slush fund to pay for Bill Clinton’s hookers and enrich the Clintons while Hillary may have traded favors, while acting as Secretary of State, in exchange.

In the process of investigating this, it has come to light that a sizeable number of journalists and journalistic organizations have been donating money to the Clinton Foundation. Some of these supposedly impartial organizations include Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Judy Woodruff, publisher Houghton Mifflin, Bloomberg, HBO, Turner, Google, Twitter, NBC Universal, etc.

Also on the list was George Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos gave $75,000 to the Clintons, and didn’t even disclose it as he was doing stories about them. That’s a real problem even considering the loosey-goosey rules of ethics that journalist pay lip service to. And with the disclosure of his donation, this has blown up on him. He’s even needed to issue an apology.

So what should the GOP do?

Stephanopoulos is a former Clinton aid who moved into journalism as so many have done and he’s continued to support Democrats at every turn. He does puff pieces on how great the Democrats are, he takes shots at GOP ideas and persons, and he soft peddles Democratic scandals, particularly those related to the Clintons. Now, is he as bad as others? No. Truth be told, he’s probably one of the less offensive “former” Democrats who have moved into journalism – he would never fit in at MSNBC. But he is biased.

So I ask again: what should the GOP do?

Well, the answer is obvious. As impartiality is considered a key selling point when it comes to journalistic credibility, you take moments like this to lower his credibility. Essentially, you point out the conflict of interest. You accuse him of bias. You make it clear that this man is not impartial. And whenever anyone suggests that he is you bring up this and other scandals to keep it in the public mind that he is biased.

Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Rand Paul have both done this. Paul said that he won’t do interviews with Stephanopoulos “because he’s too close to the Clintons to really give an objective interview.” And that is perfect! There is no anger, no attempt to make the story about himself... he just takes a shot at Stephanopoulos’s credibility, wounds his precious reputation for impartiality and moves on.

If you do this enough, then the MSM slowly bleeds away its credibility and soon the public views its reports as just as biased as a report from Fox News.

Unfortunately, not all Republicans get this. Enter Marco Rubio.

Rubio was asked about Stephanopoulos and he jumped to his defense. He noted that he “never had any reason to question his credibility.” Really? Even though he worked for the enemy and remains so close to the enemy that he donated $75-fricken-grand to them? Gee, Marco. When would you be worried?

Marco then blathers on:

“I feel that George Stephanopoulos has been fair to us in the past. I personally have never had a negative interaction with him or the feeling that he's asked me anything unfair or improper. That said, obviously, we know what we know and it does cause questions, but I personally have never had any reason to question his ability to be an effective journalist in the times I've interacted with him.”

And like that, Rubio has undermined any claim that Stephanopoulos is biased. This is the problem with guys like Rubio, the Bushes and John McCain. They lose track of the fact that the field they are in runs 24/7/365. Everything is political. That means you need to take advantage of these moments, whether you want to or not. You can’t afford to treat these people fairly as friends and colleagues. The Democrats get this, but this little group of Republicans don’t. They always rush right out to defend people who spend their days tearing them down.



Kit said...

"They always rush right out to defend people who spend their days tearing them down.


They prefer to fight as gentlemen. Even though Democrats prefer to fight dirty.

AndrewPrice said...

It is very annoying. The key is to appear to be a gentleman, even as you aren't. To be a gentleman in politics is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Critch said...

I have told my republican representatives to start fighting just like the Dims do, DIRTY! All you GOP folks, grow a backbone for crying out loud.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, I don't even think it's a matter of courage. I think it's a matter of not understanding the rules to the game. They need to learn that modern politics is not an intellectual debate between colleagues, it is a a dirty street fight. They need to get this and change the rules and assumptions under which they operate.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I think Rubio also may be trying to pander to independents (the fence sitters, actually), and perhaps to conservativish dems.

It's stupid, because Stepham has no problem attacking republicans, and he has dutifully done so his entire career. There is no way to logically prove that he isn't biased.

And as you mentioned, Andrew, it undermines the credibility of all the other GOP candidates when they rightfully point out StepHam's obvious bias.

If any of the candidates were smart, they would listen to wise guys like Thomas Sowell, who has constantly urged republicans to fight back, and has given simple examples on how to do so.
And they can do it honestly by just telling the truth in a calm, reasoned manner

Excellent post, Andrew!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Sheesh, if I were running for President I would be talking to Sowell every chance I could becausethe guy is a fountain of wisdom.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ben! Sowell is absolutely an amazing thinker.

If I were running the party, I would tell each candidate to make sure they had a list of every big moment of bias or scandal or democratic connection of any journalist they were going to deal with. Know the list in advance. Then, when things get ugly, whip out those conflicts. Eventually, the MSM would need to start cleaning up these biased reporters.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Aye, good point, Andrew.
Republicans need to do their homework. It was a treat to watch Reagan when he was interviewed or in a debate, because he was very good at that.
He was prepared.
And when someone would mention his age he made them look stupid...and he did it in a humorous way.
Verbal ju jitsu with a comedic twist. LOL.

Kit said...

"I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I will not exploit, for political purposes, my opponents youth and inexperience." —Ronald Reagan

Kit said...

Andrew, Ben,

You gotta be careful with reading Thomas Sowell. That stuff is dangerous, just a few hits and you'll get addicted quick.

Too long without a Sowell quote and you go into withdrawals. Nasty s--t. Shakes, chills, depression, mood swings, you'll be desperate for the next fix.

You'll be scouring the web for essays, columns, books, anything. You'll blow through your life savings just trying to buy up all his books.

It'll ruin your life, man. Ruin your life.

Kit said...

Oh, this weeks Summer of Marvel is up!
Iron Man


Anthony said...

Stephanopoulos is a walking 'conflict of interest'. That isn't a big deal nowadays. His connections/insight are why he was hired. Hell, you'd have to work hard to find someone with more of a connection to the Clintons than him.

Along those lines, the list of people who flit between being active in politics and taking money as journalists is a vast one. No one is truly outraged (of course, each side takes shots at the other's guys). People watch these political activists/reporters because of their partisanship, not because they hope that the person's political beliefs magically faded away they minute they joined a news organization.

Stephanopoulos's mistake was not disclosing his donations. In his case they would surprise no one, but disclosure is still expected.

tryanmax said...

The more I see of Rubio, the more he looks like a paint-by-numbers guy. I'm sure he said what he did because he thought it was the correct response. He's a good wonk for the party, but he plays too safe to be the face.

I think you said it best, Andrew, when you said the key is to appear to be a gentleman, even as you aren't. In other words, it's not a dirty street fight. It's actually a very tidy street fight, if you take my meaning. The trouble with the Tea Party is they desire guys who are neither gentlemen nor look like gentlemen.

I'm having trouble coming up with a good metaphor, but I suppose politics is a strange combination of a boxing match and a beauty pageant.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I loved watching Reagan because he was always clever and prepared, and he managed to turn all the attack on him. He also had solid resolve without needing to act angry. He exuded confidence. That's rare in our Pandering Political Class today.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I've been a fan of his for decades now and he's never disappointed. He is a genuinely smart man. Even when I disagree with him, I still respect him.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, That is why Stephanopoulos is in trouble now -- lack of disclosure. Had he disclosed, no one would have cared.

But right now people do care, and the GOP needs to learn to take advantage of gifts like this. (1) attack his credibility, and (2) lament the lack of journalistic ethics and point out how many of these people are basically Democratic operatives. Over time, that will have an effect.

The problem is that right now, the MSM goes untouched and can sell itself as unbiased, which lets them act as arbiter between the two parties. The GOP needs to give them a reputation for bias to smear that status away.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's exactly right. The ultimate win in politics is to be seen as a nice guy who wouldn't say anything false or partisan or nasty... even as you slit throats all around you.

If you want an interesting comparison, think of the song "Beauty School Drop Out" from Grease. Franky Valley comes across as nice and happy and so fricken positive that you can't help but like him and think of the song as positive... but the lyrics to the song are nasty and deeply cutting. That is the art of politics in a nutshell.

I agree about the Tea Party people. They want their leaders to yell and scream and rant like little Hitlers, so they are both ineffective and highly unpopular. It's just about the worst strategy you can pick in politics.

ScottDS said...

Everything is political.

And that might be the biggest problem of all.

I know I've said before that one side needs to start acting like the grownup because, right now, I just see two rival gangs of juveniles. Yeah, I understand fighting fire with fire and the Paul quote pretty much sums things up perfectly. No insults, no name-calling, no rumor-mongering... just a factual statement.

But as tryanmax said (or at least implied), too many on the right seem to be looking for a fight.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It's a nice sentiment, but it's naive. Everything is political and neither side will stop. And honestly, it's probably good that they don't. Remember... when they aren't fighting each other to get into your wallet, they are working together to take it.

That said, it would be nice if the GOP would return to a meaningful platform.

ScottDS said...

P.S. It's still early but it's nice to see no one blaming Obama for this biker kerfuffle in Texas. Not yet, anyway. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I've already seen a bunch of leftists screaming for gun control... as if a group of outlaw bikers would follow a gun control law. Why don't we pass murder control instead? Idiots.

What I find pathetic is (1) only nine dead? Seriously? They aren't very good killers are they? and (2) wow are these guys fat. Shouldn't bikers be thinner? They really need to switch from pot to cocaine... it's slimming.

Oh, and none of this would have happened if Obama wasn't weak on gay Mexican Muslims!! Harrumph!

Koshcat said...

I guess I am mostly ambivalent about this. I like Paul's statement better than Rubio's. Regardless, in a few days if not already most people will have forgotten or don't care. The only reason we are hearing about Clinton dirt now is by the time it matters it will all be old news. The media can claim that they already covered this or that scandal and they couldn't find anything worth investigating further. I'm rambling but what I am trying to say is the response only matters if someone came out sounding like a raving idiot.

tryanmax said...

Koshcat has a point: I do think the media is trying to get this all out now so it won't be there come election season. That said, they've really got their work cut out for them. As of last week, the RCP poll average puts Clinton at +7.7 over Bush, which this far ahead of the election is as good as a GOP landslide.

Kit said...

"What I find pathetic is (1) only nine dead? Seriously? They aren't very good killers are they? and (2) wow are these guys fat. Shouldn't bikers be thinner? They really need to switch from pot to cocaine... it's slimming."

Cocaine does slim you down.

It's also good for toothaches.

BevfromNYC said...

Yeah, well, the Republicans need to take notes because the George Stephanopoulos issue is classically Clintonian white-wash with a well placed crony with high media status included for only $75K for cover. Let the Republicans look like the fools for even asking the questions because the more a clnton crony can deny and say "move along, nothing to see here" the faster the electorate believes it. Classic Clinton maneuvers. and they always work. Remember the lost State Department private emails that got destroyed even after a Congressional subpoena? No? That's because there was the "nothing to see here; move on; vast right wing conspiracy" media blitz....they do it every...single...time.

Btw, Hillary has not answered more than 5 questions since she announced that she is running for President. Why? Because if she doesn't answer any questions, she doesn't get caught in any lies.

Republican candidates just do not have the media power to shut down the conversation. They can rail and scream, but all they will get back is "Faux News" taunts.

Critch said...

I don't want the GOP to be irrational, I just want them to have a backbone and hit back some. Boehner et al comes across as too darn nice, I know they're trying to take the high road, but it didn't work for Mitt Romney and he was eminently qualified to be president. Ronald Reagan was an ace at hitting back without sounding shrill....

Rustbelt said...

This is what I consider part of the problem that killed the GOP in 2012. They kept trying to court a media that was inherently hostile. To that end, they steadfastly refused to criticize Obama, apparently in the hopes that they would score political points with reporters for 'fairness.' Big mistake.It only opened the door for the same media to portray the GOP as weak leading up to November.

And Andrew, you need to watch some episodes of 'Gangland' on Spike. It shocked me at first, but outlaw bikers are almost universally obese. They drink to a level that makes sailors look universally sober. Combine that with their drug use (cocaine and meth are the drugs of choice; pot is for newbies), and the general fact that most are at or near the accepted societal level for white trash, it becomes easy to understand why they're so fat.
Still, that doesn't mean they aren't violent as hell. (A psychotic mind set and trailer park level of understanding how to solve disputes is seemingly required for membership.)

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I don't think one attack will do it, but the key is to always attack. If the GOP keeps up the pressure by constantly attacking the issue of conflicts of interest and connecting it with bias, that will over time erode the MSM's credibility.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's true. They do that at the beginning of every campaign season, when few are paying attention. Then they dismiss it as old news later. Plus, it's a form of testing what will stick to whom so the Democrats know which candidates need to go.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, The GOP does need a lot more. In particular, we need conservatives to start going back into the media, and not just the conservative media.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, Agreed. Attacking without sounding shrill is key. Always smile when you insert the knife! The public will think you're a nice guy.

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, I am a big fan of Gangland and have seen most of the episodes. And you're right, most of them are fat. It's just kind of strange to see it, especially in such huge numbers. This looked more like a donut maker's convention gone wrong!

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