Don't Ask Who, First Ask What and Why.
The predominately left-leaning media campaign to pre-select the 2012 Republican candidate for President is now well under way. The premise behind their plan is to look at the candidates mostly superficially focusing on fluff like interview missteps and "gotcha"s (remember Katie Couric's interview of Sarah Palin), highlight supposed position flip-flops (regardless of reason), exaggerate anything that might be framed as "extreme," and focus on their wealth and personal habits (e.g. Gingrich's account at Tiffany's jewelry). The goal is to make conservative candidates seem less mainstream (and less reasonable) to the voters while presenting progressive candidates as more so. Such is at root propaganda.
The media will diminish legitimate threats to modern progressivism (especially well-spoken conservative voices) and quietly promote what would be weaker candidates in the general election. They will act to vilify well-known candidates (such as Newt Gingrich and Palin) and largely ignore others (like Herman Cain). Some will make snap on-air judgments casting aside candidates with barely a hearing. If such minute judgments are proper, why is there a Presidential election cycle that spans almost two years? Most troubling is that this "selection" circus occurs 18 months or more before the general election at a time when the public is generally not yet engaged in the process. The modus operandi is to, if possible, get rid of threats before the public has even become aware of them or their message. This strategy was successful during the 2008 campaign resulting in the overall weak choice of John McCain.
Any discussion of the candidates' desired policies will largely be a surface analysis focusing on who said what and when (limited mostly to sound bites), on who misinterpreted or misrepresented who, and on other predominantly emotional aspects of the discussion that might birth news headlines and conflicts. An in-depth consideration of proposals and their short and long-term impacts both on target groups and on other groups won't be substantively evaluated. The Forgotten Man will remain so.
What the media campaign does not include is an evaluation of the principles underlying the candidates' positions. No real consideration of the meaning of such phrases as the "rule of law", Constitutional authority, free-markets, "property rights", or personal liberty in light of current conditions or against an historical context are put forward. Nor will they effectively judge the record of the current administration, its accomplishments, milestones, or failures. Certainly, no justification and few remarks will be forthcoming in defense of recent massive spending increases, growth in the size of the Federal government and in its control over society, nor any mention of the message and impact of the election results of 2010 which saw consistent conservative gains.
The electorate must continually insist on real and substantive questions to candidates on both sides, require them to frame the historical and constitutional bases for their policy proposals, and to demonstrate that they can articulate the principles of good governance upon which their desired policies depend. Otherwise, the process is likely to continue to yield candidates who excel at elections but who fail to govern based on principle.
Why do campaigns spend nearly two years picking a "personality" candidate and then, as an afterthought to the convention, adopt a platform of policy goals? This is backwards and ineffective. A more fruitful approach would be to spend two years identifying core principles and explaining why our principles are superior to those of the other side. Then a month or two more choosing the candidate that can best illustrate and provide leadership toward those principles.
Demand "What" and "Why" first, and lastly turn to "Who."
by Ken S.
July 7, 2007
The 2012 Media Campaign To Choose the Republican Candidate
May 27, 2011 12:00 PM UTCcomments: 2
Don't Ask Who, First Ask What and Why.
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