Page Title goes here


Get a Grip


Get a Grip - A look at the media coverage of the 2012 Republican Presidential hopefuls.
by Terrell Aronspeer- May 31, 2011

The “silly season” is in full swing and do not expect it to end any time before the next election.  Last Sunday’s Meet the Press with David Gregory featured an extensive interview with Republican Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich in which Newt turned in a thoughtful and respectable performance.  However, to hear the news reports you would think he was a political terrorist, accused of being a “bomb thrower” and “blowing up the Republican Party.” 

These accusations came not from the usual left wing dunderheads commonly given to hyperbole, but from commentators respected for their fairness, some with obvious and admitted conservative bias.  The list includes (from left to right) Greta Van Sustren, Brit Hume, Charles Krauthammer and Rush Limbaugh.  I rarely disagree with the last three and almost never with Brit, so I went back to the video of the interview and listened to it several times.  I listened to the quotes in question many more times.  At the risk of seeming a little thick, I just do not see it.  The “bomb thrower” language and the “blowing up the Republican Party” quote come from Fox News on Sunday night and appear as thoughtless knee-jerk reactions from usually thoughtful people.

Rush Limbaugh, however, had had a night’s sleep first.  Yet he found Newt’s comments to be beyond his comprehension.  Guest appearances are rare on the Rush Limbaugh show but on the following Thursday, Rush allowed Newt some time at the golden EIB microphone.  If you are at all familiar with Newt you know he does not “sound-bite” well.  He speaks in data packed paragraphs.  Our headline driven media and instant gratification culture are often immune from real substance.  But Rush is a clever and thoughtful guy.  You could see his understanding grow and his stance soften during the short conversation with Newt. 

Allow me to briefly explain the content which rattled the brains of otherwise dependable commentators.  To begin with, Dick Gregory pulled up a video clip from 1993 in which Newt appeared to favor an individual mandate, one of the many poison pills in the current “Obamacare” legislation.  In 1993 Republicans were attempting to reign in a “Hillarycare” proposal cobbled together in secret and apparently going to be crammed down the throats of the American people, a model for the passage of “Obamacare.”  For Gregory to try to apply the 1993 quote to the current situation is grossly inaccurate.  I first wrote about this on Monday (see the article in the Sentinel) and Newt pointed this out publically on Tuesday. 

In the Meet the Press interview, Newt also used two phrases which made the pundits heads explode.  He stated that “right wing social engineering” was no better than left wing social engineering.  Also in the context of discussing the Ryan budget proposal, which is supported by all factions in the Republican Party, he referred to a “radical agenda.”  From the context of what Newt said, in using both of these phrases, he was referring to passing legislation quickly before gaining the trust and support of the American voter.  In the “Contract with America” in the early 1990’s which Newt co-sponsored, he and other Republican representatives spent months selling the plan to the American people.  The contract brought us welfare reform and balanced budgets.  All Newt was saying was that it would be, social engineering to impose the radical shift in medicare policy suggested in the Ryan budget without first presenting it to the American people.  If you listen to the first part of the interview, Newt praised the Ryan budget proposal.

And Newt is not the only one who got hammered.  Rick Santorum was severely criticized for suggesting that John McCain was wrong about his stance on “torture,” the hyperbolic term the left likes to use whenever we chose to inconvenience our enemies.  Santorum, supports water boarding in certain circumstances and suggested it may have been instrumental in handling the bin Laden thingy.  To suggest that McCain is an expert on torture because he was tortured is to infer that the North Vietnamese “beat some sense into him.”  It makes almost as much sense to conclude that one who was beaten with hammers now knows all there is to know about framing.

There are a number of things wrong with this argument.  First it assumes that the torture of John McCain was in some way the equivalent of the treatment given to persons detained by American interrogators.  It was not.  Second, I am not sure we can conclude that John McCain learned much more about torture other than he did not like it, which of course is the point.  The torture John McCain received has left him with permanent disabilities.  This is common in the world of true torture.  The “advanced interrogation techniques” commonly used by the U.S. which constantly comes under criticism is in no way comparable.  These techniques are inconvenient and often unpleasant but leave no lasting scars.  They consist of “sleep deprivation,” which I suffered at the hands of some employers.  It was uncomfortable but I never thought I was being tortured.  They consist of “humiliation,” which most of us may remember from junior high.  They consist or “water boarding” which is reminiscent of unfortunate incidents we may have experienced at the municipal pool.  To refer to these techniques as torture is the definition of hyperbole.

This will be a long election process.  We must not allow ourselves to be manipulated by a press which instinctively hypes stories to improve ratings.  Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are among the best at articulating first principles and applying them to current governmental policy and political thought.  Let us be very reluctant to throw them or others off a deep and talented Republican bench.  Perhaps neither of these candidates is your favorite, but it is important to have them on the stage.  Both will bring to the debate a level of intellect and a focus on the Founders principles, which would be impossible to replace.  Do not, for a moment, expect that these are the only candidates who will be so casually dismissed by a self absorbed media. 

Written a week later:
I hate to say I told you so but, the Sunday after writing the above, they did it to Herman Cain on Fox’s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (this apple did not fall far from the tree).  Early in his interview and with no context or announcing that he now intended to shift to foreign affairs, Wallace asked Cain “what do you think of the right of return?”  Obviously seeking clarification, Cain countered “right of return?”  Wallace immediately and publically proceeded to school Cain in the concept of the “right of Palestinian’s, displaced 40 to 50 years ago, to return to their homeland.”  Later, much was made of Cain’s gaff and lack of foreign policy understanding.

Why, when more than one plausible explanation is possible, do some automatically assume the one which makes others look the worst is the only explanation possible?  Cain is not a politician, but he is a CEO.  Upon hearing the phrase “right of return” his brain is going to jump first to the phrase “rate of return.”  Any CEO is going to focus on this phrase and concept.  To a CEO the rate of return is what the appraisal of his job performance is based on.  Did Wallace set this, up or did he just fall into the “got-ya” journalist lottery a winner?  I do not know and I don’t think it makes much difference.  Journalists would just love to clear the obviously strong Republican bench of all conservative and substantive candidates.  They will size any opportunity.  Don’t fall for this. 


Tea Party Articles Directory





Submit Articles

Our Tea Party Articles and Op-Ed pieces are written by a variety of writers with varying styles and viewpoints. We invite writers from all walks of life to write Tea Party related articles for possible publication on our site.

Submit Your Group

We invite you to submit your grassroots organization to our groups listing. For inclusion, your group must be a conservative grassroots organization.

Read the Constitution

Read the Constitution

Everyone should read the US Constitution to know the founding principles and guidelines for the government of America. If you understand the Constitution, you will see more clearly how the politicians are ignoring what they have sworn an oath to uphold.

Read the Federalist Papers

The Federalist, or more commonly known as The Federalist Papers, is a series of essays written between October 1787 and May 1788 for the purpose of convincing New York residents to ratify the proposed Constitution of the United States.



If you have questions about the Tea Party, please check out our frequently asked questions to find your answers.

Group Bio Pages

Send us a bio on your group (500 to 750 words) and we will add a complete page about your group. Our bio pages include links to your website, Facebook page, and even your YouTube channel if you have one. Your group must be a grassroots organization.