To paraphrase Frank Luntz in his most recent book: It isn’t what you say that counts, it is what people hear. An e-mail from an active duty Air Force officer:
I tuned in today in the middle of your interview with Congressman Cole,
not sure of who he was and trying to determine it by his responses. My
first thought, I’m sorry to say, was “He sounds like Harry Reid after
going to Toastmasters”. Smooth and confident but unconcerned with the
audience response to his answers. You gave him several opportunities
to tell the base that, regardless of the often tone-deaf Republican
Senate, we could count on the House to represent conservatism, the will
of the party faithful and support for Victory and the President. He
responded with a modern-day version of “Let them eat cake”.
“Have you recruited OIF and OEF veterans to bring new,
victory-committed leadership to the party?” Cole’s response: “We’ve
recruited lots of people, some veterans, but self-recruited candidates
are best (i.e. it’s better if we wait for them to come to us).
“Will you aggressively support them in a primary?” Cole’s response:
“We don’t get involved in primaries (i.e. No, we won’t. Don’t tell me
how to do my job, you radio-internet guy. What was your name again?).
“Will you support candidates that vote against victory?” Cole’s
response: “We’ll support incumbents. (That’s the way we’ve always
done it. Besides, incumbents are in the club)”.
“What if large numbers of supporters refuse to contribute to the NRCC
if you support defeatist Republicans?” Cole’s response: “We think
people will keep in mind that we’re the party that has supported the
President in the past and continue to support us. (I’m calling your
bluff. What are they going to do, send their checks to Pelosi? So the
President looks bad for a few days…he doesn’t have to worry about
re-election. Have you seen the polls lately? The base will come
through because they don’t have anywhere else to go. If they don’t
like it, tell them to hold their nose and eat some cake)”.
Hugh, he doesn’t know why we lost and he doesn’t want to learn! Where
do we send those 10-cent checks?