Governor Mike Pence of Indiana made a big mistake Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. He went on the show to clear up confusion over his state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act and walked face forward into a liberal buzzsaw.
Pence made a mistake conservative politicians often make — they believe common sense and the truth will win out in such an interview. How many times will conservatives watch liberal hosts like Stephanopoulos act as agents of the Democratic Party before it will sink in?
Conservatives like Pence have to prepare for rhetorical battle against liberal hosts just as they would against an opponent in a debate. Pence came on the show and had some solid talking points but Stephanopoulos threw him off his game by insisting he answer whether the law could be used by business owners to not provide services to gays.
Pence's specific mistake was not war gaming questions like that beforehand, and not knowing the material better than Stephanopoulos. Conservatives only win in these circumstances if they know the subject better than the hosts and can throw them off their game. They must learn to play offense, not defense (See Ted Cruz).
Pence also erred by not calling Stephanopoulos out for carrying Democrats' water by repeating exactly all the distortive liberal talking points. Conservatives must make liberal journalists pay a price for their blatant liberal narrative pimping.
A few lines like this would have chilled George out:
George, if you had done your homework on RFRA you would understand that the rights of gays have never been impinged by these laws. So I don't know why you are obsessing over something that never has happened and won't happen under our law.
Again, George, the only questions you are asking me mirror exactly Democratic talking points, which are false and misleading. You and they are trying to promote a narrative that doesn't exist.
George, it is no surprise a few corporations are disturbed by this. LIberal journalists have presented such a false, misleading picture of our law that this was inevitable. We plan to talk to entities like Angie's List and give them the real facts, not the distorted liberal narratives being promoted by the news media.
If conservatives are going to go on shows like Stephanopoulos,' they better be prepared to do battle. If not, they should decline the invitation.