February 27, 2015
When New York’s Republican Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, told a room packed with fellow GOP members that our 44th President had no love for The United State of America, he succeeded in complicating the campaign trails for a number of high-profile potential candidates for the 2016 presidential race.
“I do not believe – and I know this a horrible thing to say – but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani told private diner attendees at Manhattan’s 21 Club on Feb. 18. Mayor Giuliani offered this statement in reference to President Obama’s stance on foreign policy.
In the following days, potential Republican 2016 presidential candidates like Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Gov. Jeb Bush (Fla.) appear to have appeased the media inquiry by issuing statements that denied any desire to question President Obama’s sentiments for the U.S.
A spokesperson for Bush issued the statement that “Governor Bush doesn’t question President Obama’s motives. He does question President Obama’s disastrous policies.” Sen. Paul followed suit by saying that “it is a mistake to question people’s motives.”
A significant portion of political commentators and journalists found Gov. Walker’s response to Giuliani’s comments less than satisfactory: “The mayor can speak for himself,” Walker told CNBC the day after Giuliani’s remarks. “I’m not going to comment on what the president thinks or not. I’ll tell you [that] I love America.”
Media outrage that followed Walker’s response suggest the complex and seemingly trivial nature of present political news coverage. Their dissatisfaction, at first glance, is puzzling.
In content, Gov. Walker’s statement seems to resemble those of fellow GOP members. Gov. Walker may have not toed the party line as expected, may not have distanced himself from Mayor Giuliani as other potential GOP 2016 presidential candidates have, but the sheer magnitude of the pushback he’s received hints at a larger and persistent politico-media willingness to place policy assessments aside, opting instead to focus on the social elements of party affiliation.
It’s concerning that major media news providers like CNN, NBC, New York Magazine, and The Washington Post are so enthralled with this kind of political positioning that – a week later – they continue to demand commentary and analysis from their journalists.
There remains plenty of governance-related fodder with which to judge Gov. Walker as a potential presidential candidate, but continuing to assess these aspects does not seem as appealing to some major news outlets.
The “he said, he said” game dominates. Gov. Walker’s response to media inquiries regarding Giuliani’s statement suggests an alternative structure to the current politico-media complex. That individuals are responsible for their own words seems common-sense. The precedent of party politics seems to have obscured this notion. One may be left wondering what the fifth-branch of government would look like if it refused to play into this precedent.
While Gov. Walker’s response contains elements of flippancy and a bit of cheesiness, it succeeds in establishing a valid stance from which one could avoid falling victim to sensationalism while maintaining respect for political allies and opponents.