Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rand Paul: The Conservative's Proper Response to "Gotcha" Questions

I'd make this a Quote of the Day, but it's so much bigger than a mere QOTD. (Via Ace of Spades, in turn via Legal Insurrection.)

So Rand Paul just announced his 2016 Presidential campaign, and at a press conference was asked about his views on abortion (and abortion exemptions) by NH1 reporter Paul Steinhauser. Mr. Steinhauser pointed out that the Democratic National Convention (DNC) had picked up on some comments Rand had said on the topic and asked him to clarify.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Rather than fall for the "gotcha" question, Rand caught it and threw it back harder:
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 [DNC head] Debbie Wasserman-Schultz if she's okay with killing a seven-pound baby that is just not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when she's willing to protect life.

When you get an answer from Debbie, come back to me.

"Gotcha" questions are intentionally pointed, designed and intended to fracture and divide the voter base, thus weakening the support any candidate can claim.

Republican candidates have to start realizing that the media is biased against them, and act/answer accordingly. The media is full of Democrat shills: they will never ask tough questions of Democratic candidates.

Call them to the carpet on it.

It's not about the question or the answer: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz's views on any restrictions on abortion are well-known (if you can call that 18-word deflection to a "yes/no" question an answer). It's about the press grilling conservative candidates with hard-ball question after hard-ball question (and taking everything out of context whenever it makes the conservative look worse), all the while asking easy questions and no tough follow-ups of Democrats. It's about media bias, and the best way to confront it is to expose it for what it is.

Ace's conclusion is God's Honest Truth:
This should be the standard answer to any media question about the fringier parts of the Republican coalition: I will answer your question the very moment you ask the Democrats about this analogous fringe demand of the Democrat Party.

Come back to me with an answer, and I'll answer your question.

Oh, and caveat: If you ask the Democrat the question in an obligatory manner, and don't bother to ask the obvious follow-up questions to get past the first answer (which is always a hot ball of stinky gas), then that's the exact sort of answer I'll give you, refusing to answer the follow-up questions you wish to ask me but not your Beloved Democrat Politician.
[emphasis in original]
I'll even add my own caveat: If you ask a "yes/no" question and accept anything other than "yes" or "no" (as in DWS's response), expect the same from me. If you want a one-word answer to a "yes/no" question from me, press for nothing less from your Democrat buddies.

Now, I'm not sure yet who "my candidate" will be, so I can't tell yet if Rand Paul is "my guy", but this was an epic turn-around of a hostile question and he deserves no small credit for it.

And because this is a gun blog, we can draw a parallel to gun-related questions: anytime the press asks about firearms and gets an, "I support the Second Amendment, but…" response, follow it up with a hard question like, "Can you reconcile all the proposed infringements you describe as 'common-sense' with the clear language of the Second Amendment, which you said you support, and which says 'shall not be infringed'?" Or, "You say you support the Second Amendment. What current gun laws are, in your opinion, overly burdensome or unfair, and will you work to repeal them?" At the bottom line, these are "yes/no" questions; if you get any wishy-washy statements that don't include a clear "yes" or "no", they are liars and should be exposed as such.

Stay safe.

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