If you read the transcript of my interview with Rand Paul yesterday, you will be impressed with his command of the subject matter. Another talker emailed me this morning very taken with Senator Paul’s sally yesterday, and he is right to be.
I am also impressed that the senator was available for an interview a couple of hours after he made national news. The old model for GOPers was to make a little news and then vanish, having gotten a foothold in the news cycle. The new model –the one employed by Senator Paul yesterday– is to use the opportunity to amplify the message to and to be prepared to go “off-subject” as he did with me yesterday on the subjects of Israel generally and Senator Hagel’s nomination specifically.
Congressman Tom Cotton did the same thing. Many of the rising stars of the GOP understand that to contest the president means to work the media –hard, every day, all day.
Some don’t, and they will be eclipsed. The GOP base wants fighters not shrinking violets. Look at the message Governor Jindal gave in Charlotte. This is a great message. Has anyone heard it other than the readers of Chris Cillizza’s column. I hope by the end of the day that GBJ floods the zone.
The GOP has a front bench: Christie, Cruz, Jindal, Kasich, Paul, Rubio, Ryan, Thune and Walker. The front bench is determined by level of public awareenss and grassroots’ enthusiasm. Headliners can fill rooms at events for others and can command national attention when they speak out on a key issue. These folks have national followings. Close behind them are Governors Martinez, McDonald and Snyder and a few senators and reps like Kelly Ayotte and Ron Johnson. Of course Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor in the House and Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn in the Senate have the ability to capture attention when they want to, but the issues they address are typically the legislative controversies of the day.
It would be a wonderful thing if all of the big names in the GOP follow the Paul example of being out there and available on national platforms and to reporters with national audiences –the competing tribes of National Review, Weekly Standard and the Washington Examiner– and if the RNC made a habit of disseminating their schedules and their arguments. “Old hands” whisper to them that they don’t want to be overexposed. This is nonsense, absolute idiocy in the new media age.
Rand Paul gets the need to fight every day for his point of view. Will the others?
UPDATE: Just saw this story via Twitter. A story about Governor Christie that will cheers conservatives but which appears on Politico.com only isn’t going to be seen by the core of his national audience. Politico, like Buzzfeed, have for the most part become agenda journalism outlets for the left. (There are exceptions within their ranks like Mike Allen and Andrew Kaczynski and a handful of others, but for the most part, lefty echo chambers just like MSNBC. For an axample of this, see my conversation with Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith on the pro-life issue from Tuesday.) Christie is believed to be increasingly hostile to conservatives because he isn’t appearing on conservative media. This is an unforced error, but like the folks who advised Scott Brown in ’12 to stay off of conservative media, he’s got a circle and that circle reinforces its own bad advice.