Thursday, January 19, 2012

RP Supporters: How to handle a Talk Show Interview

Say that a Ron Paul supporter calls into and gets on a radio show. If the caller isn't already upset/angry, then often the host asks some loaded questions, interrupts when the caller tries to set the record straight, and at that point the caller starts to get flustered. Once a Ron Paul supporter, who is generally calling to try to set the media's misinformation straight, gets flustered by that very media, things go downhill and in the end, Dr Paul's supporters, (and by association, as is the intention, the good Dr himself), end up looking "crazy" and irrational.

So how can you carry yourself well and help the good Dr Paul instead of hurt him? Here's a few thoughts.

Reiterate his record of consistency and his knowledge of and adherence to the Constitution. There is no other Republican candidate that has the record of consistency when it comes to conservative positions. Unlike his opponents, he's never voted for an unbalanced budget, he's never voted for a salary raise, he's never voted for bailouts, he's never voted for subsidies, he's never voted for corporate tax loopholes, he returns money to the treasury each year, he doesn't take part in the Congressional pension plan, he's willing to take the median income if elected President. In a general election against Obama, which do you think will appeal to the OWS type crowd more? Some Republican who's policies are close to George W Bush, or someone that not only stands up against unconstitutional Democrat policies, but also stands up against unconstitutional Republican policies?

Do Not
Do NOT bring up lack of media attention or media bias! If they do, fine, you can agree and say "Yes, I think Paul is getting the short end of the stick compared to the other candidates. But even with the lack of coverage, let alone any positive, isn't it interesting that he still has so many supporters (and growing)?"
Don't let the discussion devolve into a discussion of the media treatment of Paul. Get them back on track by reminding them that this election has GOT to be about restoring American and about ideas, policies and record, not about the media, not about supporters and (as we learned in the last election) not about personality and/or eloquence.

   Don't try to use the lack of negative ads toward Paul as a positive. It just invites the "because he's not worth it", "because he's not a threat", "because he's not really electable". Whether the host actually believes it or not, they'll say that's why they aren't attacking Paul. It's a rabbit hole not worth going down.

   Be careful focusing on his youth support. If you do, emphasize how great it is that the idea of federalism, states rights, reigning in the federal reserve, and of real cuts to the federal budget and bureaucracy are so popular with the young.  However, I say be careful because it can lead to the accusation that it's because youth (unwise and inexperienced) are generally liberal, "So what does that say about your candidate if they're all voting for him?" If it tries to go down that road, ask "Are you saying that a strict Constitutionalist is appealing to liberals? Shouldn't we be excited by that?" If the really press, you can point out that of Republicans, Ron Paul wins the majority of <40 while the majority that vote for Gingrich and Romney are >60. Then ask the question, "What does that say about the future of the Republican party that it is seemingly dismissing and alienating everyone under 35 while focusing on an ever aging demographic?"

   Use caution when focusing on any one issue. Try to keep it generic. Make the case that out of all the candidates, his positions are by far the most Constitutional, limited govt, conservative and unlike the rest of the candidates he has a record that what he says isn't just

On the Issues
To me, this is huge. Attack the other's electability. Point out the PPP poll that compared Romney to Obama head to head. While alone Romney barely beat Obama, but when 3rd party candidates were included (a much more realistic impression of what the general election will be like), Romney loses virtually every combination - and significantly. He just loses more (way more) to right leaning candidates than Obama loses to left leaning candidates.
   You can use personal experience here: There are too many libertarians, too many true, Constitutional conservatives and too many Independents, that as bad as Obama is, will **refuse** to vote for another big govt faux-conservative. Only with Ron Paul do you gain both Constitutionalists as well as Independents (and even some Democrats) that are tired of the status quo.
   I'd recommend you really drill this point home: The belief that Romney has the best shot at beating Obama is NOT accurate when you look at what the general election will really looks like. And if he tries to slide and point at Gingrich, ask if he really thinks Gingrich appeals to Independents and Democrats more than Romney.

Foreign Policy
This is a double edge sword. We have to challenge the assumptions and misunderstandings about his foreign policy, but it tends to be the only thing focused on and people miss the rest of his views (i.e. Fox debate where not a single economic/domestic question was asked of Paul).
   First, ask the host if they've read Liberty Defined and if not, recommend that they read at least the sections on foreign policy. Second, ask them if they're really interested in understanding Paul's views on foreign policy. If they says yes, then tell them that they should have Bruce Fein (Paul's foreign policy advisor) on the show to really get that view. If they rebut that Paul himself can come on whenever he wants, you can ask, "Now wait a minute, you wanted to hear from all the advisors and influences on Obama to understand his worldview before he was elected, but when it comes to Paul's foreign policy, you ONLY want to hear from him?"

Non-interventionism vs Isolationism
The host may be clear on the difference between non-interventionism and isolationism. Unless he uses the term isolationism or isolationist, I'd avoid it. If they do use it, ask him if they think Canada is "isolationist"?

Interventionism/Aggression is NOT real defense
Remind the host of Reagan's policy of peace through strength at home. Remind them that Paul himself made the point that China doesn't have a single military base outside of its own land, but nobody in their right might would attack China. Reiterate that Paul doesn't want to reduce ACTUAL defense, he wants to increase it. He would take money out of the wars and use it to expand and update our Navy and Air Force. He would take money out of manning military bases around the world and use it to develop a better missile defense shield.
   Dr Paul simply recognizes that our overseas aggression, invasions, interventions, military presence, and foreign aid, not only costs us more than we can afford, but it also ENCOURAGES the animosity, hatred and desire for violence that pose the very threat we are attempting to eliminate. It's almost exactly like bashing our head up against the wall because we got a headache, then wondering why our headache only seems to be getting worse.

Quotes of Religious Motivation
They may start referencing things that various clerics and leaders (like Ahmadinejad) have said like wanting to kill all infidels, wanting to setup a global caliphate, institute Sharia law around the globe, etc. If so, be sure to point out that it is important to note the difference between those that are recruiters and rationalizers (that is, those who focus on fomenting hatred, justifying murder and even death for the cause), vs those that are the actual attackers. Robert Pape, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, did a study that looked at suicide terrorists and found that over 95% of the time, the goal of the attack was political and generally due to some type of perceived oppression. The attackers are NOT simply attacking to get their 72 virgins. Then ask, if the US removed itself from the equation, just how successful do you think those recruiters (even with religious advocacy) would be in getting those political terrorists to attack us for some promises in the afterlife?

If the "He doesn't care if Iran has nuclear weapons" accusation comes up, just clarify Ron Paul's position: Would he be concerned if Iran got a nuclear weapon while we continue our current policy of intervention, occupation, sanctions, surrounding, pressuring, posturing, assassinations, etc? Yes. Would he be concerned if Iran got a nuclear weapon while we are following his non-interventionist policy? No.

Blames America
If the host accuses Ron Paul of blaming America for 9/11, simply say something like: "Absolutely not. There is a difference between America, as in 'We the people' and the actions of our govt. WE the people did not cause 9/11. But the actions of the US govt over the last 50-60 years did - and on our behalf. WE the people didn't overthrow a democratically elected leader and replace him with a puppet dictator that brutally oppressed his people, but the US govt did. WE the people didn't supply Saddam Hussein with weapons and encourage him to attack Iran in the 80s, but the US govt did. WE the people didn't give billions of dollars to dictators that oppressed their people, but the US govt did. [More detail about what the US govt has done and emphasize the difference between WE the people and the US govt] These aren't the acts of everyday Americans, as the accusation implies, but the acts of govt."

Osama bin Laden
If the "He wouldn't have gone after Osama bin Laden" comes up, state something like this: "Paul stated that he's glad that the guy is no longer able to spread his hate or plan his deadly attacks. However, Dr Paul is brave enough to raise the serious concern about the method in which it was done. We cannot become the liberals. We cannot become a party that believes that the ends justify the means. Democrats believe that as long as the poor are being helped, it justifies disregarding private property and individual rights and ignore the consequences. We cannot become a party that believe that as long as we're killing terrorists, it justifies disregarding national sovereignty and international law and ignore the consequences. Paul is

Some hosts fall back to claim that if Ron Paul had his way, we wouldn't have fought Hitler. If somehow this comes up, summarize (what I believe to be) Paul's views on WW2 like this: 1) We turned an attack by the Japanese into a reason to go to war against Europe. 2) Under Ron Paul's policy, it's possible that we could have avoided the attack on Pearl Harbor.

What WOULD Paul do?
Point out that if Congress gave Ron Paul a declaration of war, he would execute it. But his approach would be "all in" - no nation building, no billions of dollars trying to occupy a nation for 10+ years. He would go in, completely eliminate the threat, then come home (reference). When you look at it, his approach would be more of a deterrent to attack than one in which our actions (like now) engender more hatred and animosity.

Firstly, remind them that we are electing the President of the US, not Israel. The POTUS is responsible for protecting the US. It would be a bad policy for the US President to try to protect Israel if it required billions of dollars, thousands of US lives, and increased animosity and threat to do so. Consider the possibility that, at least currently, trying to protect Israel may be in direct conflict with protecting the US.
   In addition, point out that many Israelis believe that they would be better off if the US ended foreign aid because while they would lose a couple billion, their enemies (that we give 12 times as much aid to) would lose even more. Plus Netanyahu has said that Israel can take care of herself and we don't need to play big brother: protecting and prohibiting Israel. Ask him to have Netanyahu on his show to ask him about Ron Paul's policy and how he thinks it would affect Israel.

If this comes up, dismiss it as having been answered. He didn't write them and wasn't aware of them. Admit that it was poor editorial oversight. Admit that it might be a sign that he is too trusting and or that he doesn't pay close enough attention to what is being done in his name, sure. But the idea that he is a racist is rejected by everything else he's ever done, said and written as well as by the many close minority friends he has.

Which is more likely, that Ron Paul lent his name to a newsletter with which he was only partially involved and that those managing it wrote things "in his name" that didn't reflect Ron Paul's actual views?  Or that out of 30+ years of public life, 12+ terms of congressional campaigns, 3 presidential campaigns, thousands of speeches and interviews, hundreds of articles (actually written by Paul), ten full books, and his long congressional authorship/sponsorship/voting record, that these half dozen quotes from a newsletter he was only partially involved in, reveal the TRUE nature of racism he keeps a secret and is just waiting to spring on everyone?

Civil Rights Act
Some hosts may challenge Paul's views on the Civil Rights Act. All you need to say is remind people that he is vehemently against racism and racist policies. Point out that his disagreement with a single element of the CRA was simply its infringement of private property rights. Remind them, they can disagree with Paul on the private property rights issue, and they can have that discussion with him, but do not attribute that disagreement to racism.

Only if the host says something about "We can't make it happen all at once." or "We've got to be realistic about what we can accomplish." Firstly, start with the view that when negotiating a compromise, which starting point would you rather start from, Ron Paul's or Mitt Romney's?
   Also convey to the host and the listeners that Paul is reasonable about how drastic changes can cause problems too. For example, use the Federal Reserve. Of course he philosophically wants to end the Fed (he wrote a book titled that), but he recognizes the severe dislocation and negative consequences this would cause. So he instead simply wants to end legal tender laws and make legalize alternative currencies (in addition to an audit and making the Fed more transparent). He's not an ideologue that will just push through his endgame policy goals, damn the consequences.


Patience and Concession
Above all, be patient (don't interrupt), no name calling (e.g. "neocon", "Zionist") and be willing to concede things. Nothing will make you seem more like an irrational zealot than trying to interrupt to challenge every assertion about Dr Paul. And be willing to concede on Paul's weaknesses - especially that he himself has admitted that his biggest weakness/regret is that he is not good at concisely communicating his views. But you can follow that up with "But I don't know about you, I'd rather have someone with the wisdom and patience to study a topic and come up with the right, freedom-oriented policy (which, often, is to have the bravery to do nothing) vs someone that can give a smooth, good-sounding response to a question or challenge. How well has eloquence worked out for us the last 3 years?"

Realize that if we get the opportunity to defend Dr Paul, we have to do so in a rational manner (perhaps even more so than other candidate's supporters). When we don't, when we get angry, when we get upset, when we lose our patience and interrupt, when we get frustrated and start laying accusations, we HURT Dr Paul's case in the mind of some on the fence voter who is listening in. Don't let us, a strong weapon for him, to become a liability.

Related: Some proposed soundbites for Ron Paul. A bit of overlap with this article, but good to reference for concise rebuttals.

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