Monday, June 27, 2011

Not another lily livered wannabe?

Wow! Has it really been over a week since I last posted?

I assure you, the gap in posting was not caused by a lack of stupidity to discuss, nor a lack of opinions to express. More a matter of time constraints than anything else. Yes, I understand there is 24 hours in a day, but when 17 of those are devoted to earning an income and another 1 is devoted to travelling to and from my place of employment, it makes it difficult to devote quality time to putting my thoughts on paper.

Now, I am not complaining. They say "sleep is for the weak", and 30 or even 20 years ago I would have agreed completely. The whole "work hard, play hard" mantra made sense then, but now that I am on the wrong side of 55, I find my intellectual capacity can no longer keep up with 4 hours sleep a night!

So, I guess I am

Which brings me to today's discussion.

There is a lot of hype out there about how we want our reporters to report the news, not make news. To identify when they write an opinion piece, and not disguise it as news. We want them to ask hard hitting questions, to really grill those politicos they interview. We want them to play hard.

But when they do, it appears we have selective memory. It appears we determine the correctness of the hard hitting question by our own expectations of the interviewer.

The talk today is all about Chris Wallace and his interview of Michelle Bachman on Fox this last Sunday. Toward the end of the interview Chris ran into a problem. He wanted to ask a question that made him a little uncomfortable....but he knew it was the type of question that his viewers wanted answered.

He wanted to say to Michelle Bachman something like this..."Michelle, you have not had the easiest road to where you are today, a possible Presidential candidate. Indeed, you have made some verbal gaffes along the way, and at times have not handled tough questions in the best way possible. This has enabled your political foes and the press to raise doubts about the bona fides of a run for President should you decide to do that. How do you overcome these issues?"

This is what Chris really wanted to ask...

Instead, he sat a little straighter, rolled his eyes a little higher in search of the right words, looked a little uncomfortable and then blurted out...

"Are you a flake?"

Good question, Chris! Well done...beautifully couched in the most poetic language.

At least there was no spin on that question!!

Chris soon understood his mistake and offered an apology to Michelle...which he posted online in a video.

This was not the sort of apology that some people make when they think their target is too stupid to understand what the apology was about or how the apology can be misinterpreted. No. This was a heartfelt apology that acknowledged the tactlessness of the question, and the potential harm that could have been done to Ms. Bachman.

Fast forward to today and the Politico story that explains that Michelle Bachman has refused to accept this apology. A quick read of the story tells us that on two occasions, Michelle Bachman was given the opportunity to verbally accept the apology, and on both occasions she sidestepped the question with answers (paraphrased) that sounded like this...."That question was not suitable to ask a person who is a viable candidate for President of the United States" and "That is a small thing to be concerned about. I am concentrating on the big issues".

Oh Michelle....Today you announced your run as a Presidential candidate, and scant minutes later you tripped at the first hurdle. Who is it that advises these people that they can make such fundamental mistakes?

Here's the thing:-

1. Chris Wallace is a very good journalist who simply made an error and asked the question that everyone does want answered. His tactlessness in asking the question the way he did was not planned, but rather slipped out. It was a mistake. Nothing sinister and nothing wrong.

2. Chris Wallace accepted responsibility for his lack of tact and made a very public apology.

3. Chris Wallace and Fox are not the enemy. They can be powerful allies providing great positive exposure. Likewise, they can be very powerful enemies, denying access to the conservative base if they desire. I am not suggesting they will take sides but I am suggesting that Bachman should have accepted the apology.

4. I do not understand why Bachman didn't simply say something like this..."Chris is a fine reporter and exceptional journalist, and I have no doubt that he did not mean to be as tactless as he sounded. Nevertheless, that question is likely to be asked of me many times between now and the end of the primaries, and more times should I win the Republican nominations. If I can not deal with honest questions such as this, I have no right throwing my hat into the presidential candidate ring. I look forward to further interviews with Chris, and welcome candor in the questions he asks. There is no need for him to apologize, although I do appreciate his acknowledgement, and of course I accept it."

5. Michelle Bachman missed a great opportunity to put this question to bed in one simple statement. By refusing to acknowledge that, although tactless, the question was nevertheless a valid one, she has given ammunition to every left wing journalist to shoot at her whenever they want. Rather than hoping this thing would die a quick death in the press, she has chosen to give it legs so that it will come back and haunt her at every interview in the future.

When are our politicians going to learn? Whenever you try to hide something, it will come back to bite you when you least expect it. Whenever you try to ignore that something happened, it will come back to haunt you at the very time you least expect. Whenever you try to push something under the carpet, there are a million people willing to pick up said carpet just to see what tasty morsels are under there.

And most importantly...if you want to be treated as a serious contender, you MUST be ready to answer the questions that WILL be thrown at you, regardless of whether the question was worded tactfully or not.

And when a member of the press apologizes to graciously and gratefully accept such apology without making a fuss or big deal....for that is the ONLY way that such stupidity can be put to rest. It is the only way that the American people will see you for the strong and capable candidate you claim to be. When you avoid situations like this, you simply show that you are not the strong "water off a duck's back" candidate you want to present.

You simply start to look like a coward, a lily livered pathetic excuse for a leader that can't deal with a tough question asked tactlessly....

You start to sound and look EXACTLY like what we already have in the White House.

AND THAT, dear friend, is NOT the way to defeat Obama should you win the nomination.

Once again, stupid is as stupid says.


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