The “walk back” – the modern strategy of making a truthful statement and diluting it or dropping it to escape criticism from liberals – just might be the worst strategy ever employed by conservatives.
Recent examples of walk backs by conservatives: Dr. Ben Carson, a man for whom I have the utmost respect, and a potential Republican presidential candidate, appeared on CNN with liberal Chris Cuomo. Dr. Carson was asked if he believed homosexuality is a choice, and he responded, “Absolutely … Because a lot of people go into prison straight – and when they come out, they’re gay.”
Yet liberals and some “conservatives” are attacking Dr. Carson. Ben Carson walked back his statement afterward, saying, “I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive.”
There is nothing “hurtful” in Dr. Carson’s statement, except to the egos of those who hate truth; and there’s nothing “divisive” in his statement, except to divide the truth from the lie.
“Suppose ye that I am come to bring peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.” – Luke 12:51
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) was also the victim of this despicable “gotcha” strategy. The media tried to connect him to Rudy Giuliani, after Giuliani spoke at a Walker event and criticized Obama for bashing America. Giuliani said, because of his upbringing and influences, I don’t believe that this “president loves America.”
Walker had a decent strategy when the press first sprung their questions about whether Obama loves America and if he’s a Christian – Walker simply chose not to play the game. Walker replied, “I’ve never asked him that, so I don’t know.” Unfortunately, under further media inquisition, Walker said, “I don’t question” that Obama loves America. His spokeswoman added, “Of course, the governor thinks the president is a Christian.”
The left constantly plays the “gotcha game” to damage Republican candidates by linking them to a manufactured controversy.
They did it with Sen. John McCain in 2008 when they fabricated an outrage around remarks made by my friend, talk-show host Bill Cunningham. When Cunningham introduced McCain at a presidential campaign event in Ohio, he intentionally used candidate Obama’s full name, calling him “Barack Hussein Obama.” The liberal media (who want us to forget Obama’s Muslim roots) went nuts and labeled Cunningham a racist. Unfortunately, McCain apologized and repudiated the remarks. He treated Obama with kid gloves and, predictably, lost the election.
In 2012, Mother Jones, a far-left publication, released a video of a private fundraiser where Mitt Romney gave his infamous “47 percent” speech.
Romney said that almost half the country pays no taxes and they’re addicted to government – and they’re going to vote for Obama no matter what. The media made it appear that Romney was attacking the 47 percent instead of making a statement of fact. Romney tried to walk back the statement as the media sharks circled. Instead, Romney could have reminded the public that Obama’s socialist policies would further addict people to government handout.
Conservative candidates shouldn’t be concerned with appeasing the press, independents or “moderates.” A single motivated conservative voter is much more valuable than any lukewarm voter, because he or she will vote faithfully – and on top of that, donate money and even volunteer.
Many of today’s conservative candidates talk about Ronald Reagan, but they should pay attention to how he communicated. He spoke through the media to the people. He didn’t walk back statements and dilute their power.
In contrast, today’s strategy of walking back truth fails to inspire people. If conservative standard-bearers can be pressured to retreat, then the average person will be tempted to forsake principle, too.
The real takeaway from this “walk-back” mess is to note how much ground conservatives have lost in the culture. Where truth is relegated to “extreme,” and lies are considered “mainstream,” conservative candidates get shaky, and liberals and moderates feel secure.
For example, moderate Republican Jeb Bush is comfortable entering a conservative den like CPAC and defending his weak stance on immigration and support for Common Core. Meanwhile, conservatives go into the mainstream media’s den and routinely walk back their positions.
Dr. Ben Carson announced he’s not going to talk about same-sex “marriage” and the issue of sexuality anymore because the liberal press is trying to use the issue to derail his “momentum.” His new tack is understandable, but it’s unfortunate that conservatives feel they have to play defense when defense doesn’t inspire or win votes.
Now the media smell blood in the water, and they’ll pound every conservative candidate. So what’s the solution to this latest effort to entrap and destroy conservatives? Love truth, and speak truth! Clarify when necessary – not walk back – your correct statements or positions. If you need to take a defensive position, then do so – but only temporarily – until you can go back on offense. Know that God is with you. And those who play to win, win; but those who play not to lose, usually lose.
The American people are crying out for a winner.