Rand's Inevitable Media FirestormSubmitted by jwmfridge on Thu, 03/14/2013 - 23:53
We've seen this story before. A candidate make waves, garners attention, and then the media pounces. The candidate's popularity is tested and may stand the test or wither.
When the election season comes around, Rand Paul, if he doesn't receive the fire-test sooner, will come into more intense media scrutiny over his stance on the Civil Rights Act. His statements will be heavily parsed out, and whatever gains he was hoping to make with other coalitions like African-Americans would dry up almost overnight. This happened with Ron Paul's newsletters, and I couldn't even talk with people in my (Black) church about the issue without it causing a near-visceral reaction; these are reasonable people, mind you. So that ended Ron Paul's surge, and his candidacy, in effect.
I think Ron Paul made a very poor choice in not being upfront and proactive about the newsletters. He let the media control the conversation and his refusal to engage it much further made him look racist from his silence. It would have been wise for him to make a speech about the issue and do his best to put it to bed. 1) It could have garnered him much more media attention (which we all know he sorely lacked, unless it was negative), and 2) he could have used the platform to highlight bigger issues facing race relations in the US; he could have actually leveraged the media attention and won more hearts and minds, much like when Barack Obama made his race speech following the Jeremiah Wright controversy. Obama used it to his advantage. Paul missed an opportunity. And the rest is history.
If Rand is smart, he will get out ahead of the issue and address the various accusations that are bound to come his way for the things he's said. If he is reading this (or someone close to him), I'd tell him to make a list of every group that might have an issue with him for things he's said or said that might have been taken the wrong way. He must have answers ready for what he really meant and what his end goal was, and what has been misinterpreted. Rand, be proactive and be on top of the media's schemes. Be ready to do what it takes to draw in people that would normally not come around. In essence, a Presidential race could be won by bringing together coalitions that have different emphases on how they want to use their liberties.
Think about what would happen if African-Americans came around to a Republican candidate. Suddenly Illinois becomes competitive. Michigan might swing. New York becomes competitive. The southern states get redder. Florida swings. Pennsylvania swings. Ohio swings. The election is long over.
But Paul must think about and tailor for each constituency how his plan will benefit that group in particular. Yes, there can be a great overall message, but to have penetration, he has to approach each group and invest in them, not just dip his toe in the water.
Liberty benefits all people and all groups; it is inherently a Christian principle (which is what drew me to the Libertarian philosophy). And if it benefits all people, it is the candidate's job then to inform each group how it benefits them. People will inevitably disagree; but enough people will agree once they hear the philosophy spelled out, and it will springboard the candidate into office. And when he/she gets there, those who disagreed will still have hope for the success of the candidate, because at least they understand better where he/she is coming from, and might reason that he/she can accomplish some good for the people through their approach.