Conservative pundits are saying Marco Rubio's answer to the Rudy Giuliani manufactured outrage of the week is "perfect." It was very good but not perfect.
In case you missed it this week, Democrats and their allies in the national media are doing what they always do — trying to punish Republicans for controversial statements of other Republicans.
I could see the journalistic justification if the same reporters required Democrats to respond to controversial statements by other Democrats. But journalists don't. Therefore the entire exercise is a partisan attack and should be treated as such by Republicans unless they want to be the news media's prey.
In cases like this, I advise conservative political figures to:
1) Deliver a sharp attack on Democrats in your answer. Make them pay a price for their partisanship.
2) Deliver a sharp attack on the media. Expose the question as a proxy for Democrats.
3) Don't answer the question directly. If you do #1 and #2, the news media is still going to cover the answer to their slanted question. Don't provide it.
Here's what Rubio said today in response:
I don’t feel like I’m in a position to have to answer for every person in my party that makes a claim. Democrats aren’t asked to answer every time Joe Biden says something embarrassing, so I don’t know why I should answer every time a Republican does. I’ll suffice it to say that I believe the President loves America; I think his ideas are bad.
Rubio followed #1 and #2 but not #3. His last sentence should have been something like: "I don't know what is in Barack Obama's heart, but I do know his ideas and policies are bad."
By tweaking his answer a little bit he would prevent liberal reporters from saying: "Rubio disagrees with Rudy's claim that Obama doesn't love America."
Certainly, from a tactical point of view, Rubio's answer was better than most others but it wasn't perfect.