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    Don’t play the “baggage” game

    Don’t play the “baggage” game

    John Hinderaker at Power Line writes the following about the departure of Herman Cain (bracketed “Points” mine):

    [Point 1] What happened to Herman Cain is what the Democrats intend to do to whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be.  They know they can’t win a debate on the economy or on President Obama’s record, so they will do everything they can to distract the voters’ attention from those matters, which should be decisive, and instead turn the focus to the GOP candidate and his or her alleged foibles.  [Point 2] If Republican voters allow that to happen by nominating a candidate with baggage that permits the Democrats to turn him into the next Herman Cain, it is all too likely that President Obama will be re-elected, with consequences that can hardly be overestimated.

    Point 1 is something I have been writing about almost since the start of this blog, the need to defend Republicans and conservatives and Tea Party supporters against media smears regardless of whether you support the particular candidate.  The David Frum wing of the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way, and frankly, neither does much of the conservative media.  Piling on Sarah Palin was taken as a sign of moral and intellectual courage when in fact it was moral and intellectual cowardess.  Many of those same people joined the Democratic pro-Obama mainstream media in piling on caricatures and distortions regarding Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and now Newt.

    Point 2 is a truism, but begs the question of what is “baggage.”  I surmise from John’s post that he is talking about Newt, as to whom the term “baggage” most frequently is used.  But what is baggage in an election?

    Personal faults and defaults will not factor in as much as long as not illegal, provided they are acknowledged and atoned for.  That is why the social conservative vote has not written off Newt, or fully embraced other candidates without known personal baggage.

    What about political baggage?  That’s more problematic in a campaign.  It’s the reason the Obama campaign has targeted Romney’s political “core.”  As I pointed out before, it’s a theme which has worked in the past against Romney.

    But my biggest issue with the “baggage” concern is that it is defensive.  Regardless of who the Republican nominee is, the media will deem that candidate to have baggage.

    The purest of personally pure candidates will be faulted for being a religious nut and not hip enough to be president, someone from the white bread 1950s.  Policies advocating personal responsibility and empowerment will be portrayed as cruel and favoring the rich.  Advocacy of treating people according to the content of their characters rather than the colors of their skin will be protrayed as racially insensitive or racist.

    So yes, don’t select a nominee with so much baggage that the nominee is unelectable, but think through what “baggage” really means, and don’t try to placate the mainstream media which will be against our nominee, baggage or not.

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    Comments


    Interesting debate tactic viz a viz Point 1, since it was, in fact, Powerline that was one of the outlets that displayed the “moral and intellectual courage” to pile on Ms Palin. Very amusing.

    Regardless of who the Republican nominee is, the media will deem that candidate to have baggage.

    It is interesting how often this – a mild formulation – is repeated and how often its meaning is ignored by the Republican establishment. The treatment – nay, the set-up – of McCain before and after his nomination should be sufficient proof for years to come as to how “the game” is played.


     
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    jeannebodine | December 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I still can’t get over the fact how bad the conservative new media has been with the Republican candidates. What is behind this? I’d say it’s traffic but the commenters are just as vocal. They’ve trashed Palin, Bachmann, Cain. A lot of the sites seem pro-Perry so he seems to get a pass and some of the animus against the other candidates has been real or perceived slights against their favorite. But what’s the end game? Perry is polling in single digits. And there’s been so much vitriol & personal destruction along the way, the sites have been indistinguishable from lefty sites. It’s all been sooooo disappointing.


     
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    Henry Hawkins | December 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    By the time next summer comes, it’ll take videotape of Gingrich raping Amish children and building terrorist bombs for Al Qaeda to counter the desperation of the American voting public for somebody – anybody – new in the White House to get this economy going.

    [Note to editor: It’s ‘cowardice’, not cowardess. A cowardess is.. a female coward?]

    The problem is that the left will make up baggage. What baggage did Palin have? Married to hs sweetheart, five kids, no scandals or corruption, worked her way up. Yes, she had a pregnant unwed daughter, big deal.

    Yet the media allowed the left to create a caricature of her that overlooked her true record. They will do this to any candidate because they cannot defend their own record and will destroy opponents based on lies. Look what Obama did to his opponents when he ran in Chicago.


       
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      Henry Hawkins in reply to avan. | December 4, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      Though she soon caught on, Palin’s early reactions to the Parade Of Gotcha was less than stellar. Gingrich already expects it and knows how to deal with it, in fact, has served notice during the debates that he’s not going to stand there and take it when lib media members take shots at him, that he will jam it back down their throats if they aren’t careful.


     
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    Ipso Facto | December 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    We need to get over the fact that the MSM is all out for Obama. Although this is an undisputed fact, the Republicans need to learn how to get their message across.

    For example, whenever the MSM interviews a Republican, it’s either milquetoast McConnell or boring Boehner. And when these guys, or any equal iteration of them speak, their message is not at all clear, nor is it consistent.

    If the Republicans would get it together, every time they were interviewed by the MSM, they would begin by saying things like, “Despite the President’s intransigence…”, or, “Even though the Democrats are intent at ruining our economy…”. But no, we get Ryan speaking like a kitty cat about how much he knows about the budget, or someone else saying how exasperated (substitute defeated) they are about something. Whining is NEVER effective.

    We need for the Republicans, when asked about anything by the MSM, to get out their points as I have delineated them above. We need to relentlessly criticize the Dems for being corrupt, inept, uncooperative, unable to implement or manage anything and be very explicit about how they are making the economy WORSE! When Trump says, “Obama is a terrible President”, everyone completely understands him and the message is lasting. If only we could learn something from this, but no, it seems futile to expect that much.

    All this noted, I’ll bet the next time milquetoast McConnell speaks, no one will remember what he said 5 minutes after he said it.


       
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      janitor in reply to Ipso Facto. | December 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      …we would be well served by employing a series of relentless and coordinated efforts to bring up Obama’s corruption and the shady methods regularly employed by the Dems. The public needs continual reinforcement. Whatever is fed to them on a regular basis begins to stick and that’s how public opinion is molded.

      Yes. We need both tactics.


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