Tuesday, November 3, 2015

GOP Debate Whining Could Backfire

Throughout the Republican Party's self-destructive lurch ever rightward, a small group of conservative observers have spoken out. Tierney Sneed samples that group's fears on Talking Points Memo.

“There is tremendous cultural bias, a tremendous ideological bias that Republican candidates have to face. But that does not mean though that every criticism offered by a Republican candidate in the face of a tough but legitimate question is a legitimate criticism,” Steve Schmidt, who worked on Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, told TPM.

“In almost every instance, there’s no such thing as a bad question, there’s only a bad answer,” he said. “Every question -- no matter how biased, how banal, how malevolent -- is an opportunity for a candidate to show an aspect of their character."

The candidates’ current debate debacle is partly the result of a unusually large field, with each candidate desperate to stand apart from the rest.

“I see a lot of this emanating from that desperation,” retired Army Col. Larry Wilkerson -- who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell during the George W. Bush administration -- told TPM, pointing to the packed field and particularly to Trump.

“They’re desperate to find fixes to this desperation, and they’re looking for fixes in the only places they have a possibility of finding them, by manipulating the media, by narrowing the debate, by making sure that the people who ask them questions ask  them the right questions,” Wilkerson said. “It’s all the thrashing around of a suicidal party.”

“Let them get really blindsided when the media really comes after them, when the low information electorate finally starts paying attention and they know nothing about what has transpired,” Bruce Bartlett, an economic advisor to President Reagan who has since become disenchanted with the GOP and has warned of the conservative media bubble that has formed around Republicans.

While conservatives have been loudly panning CNBC for last week’s debate, some observers admit that, at the end of the day, it’s up to the candidate to make the most of the debate conditions presented to them.

“We’ve just seen Hillary Clinton go through 11 hours of questioning, and these guys can’t go a couple minutes of questioning?” Bartlett said.

No comments: