Kari Lake offers a master class in avoiding the media's 'gotcha' questions
A huge rhetorical error is to get entangled in your opponent's fake premise. We all recognize that problem with the hypothetical "when did you stop beating your wife" question, but Republican politicians often find themselves playing defense against a fundamentally flawed question. Kari Lake, however, does not do that. Her response to a reporter's loaded question about Blacks and police shows how to avoid this rhetorical trap.
Lake, who is running against Katie Dobbs to be governor of Arizona, appeared at a press conference against an Arizona Police Association backdrop. An unseen reporter fired off a loaded question:
Kari, a lot of people of color feel like they are unfairly targeted by police. Are they wrong to feel that way? And regardless of if there's any merit there, what can you as governor do to improve the perception of police?
Most Republican politicians, when asked such a question, would have begun a stumbling defense about how most police are good people, but it's up to everyone to make sure to protect the minority community from bad police, and blah, blah, blah. In other words, they would have accepted the premise while, at the same time, trying to walk away from it. It's a normal human response, but a bad one if you're running for office.
Image: Kari Lake. Twitter screen grab.
Kari Lake doesn't respond that way. She immediately questioned the reporter's premise: "A lot of people of color? How many people of color have you talked to about that?"
Suddenly, instead of Lake being on the defensive, the reporter was, as he mumbled about "surveys." With the reporter caught flatfooted, Lake shifted to her own unassailable position: all people, regardless of color, want to be safe. Crime is everybody's problem.
BIG MISTAKE: Reporter claims People of Color are "TARGETED" by Police@KariLake: “Every Arizonan wants safety & security in their neighborhood. It doesn’t matter what your skin color is.”@AbrahamHamadeh: "Do these these brave Men & Women look like racists to you?"— Kari Lake (@KariLake) September 16, 2022
WATCH & RT! pic.twitter.com/TplhIIrLsX
Which surveys? I'm happy to look at those stats. Because I will tell you this, that I talk to people of color. I talk to all Arizonans. They're all concerned about the crime. Just because your skin isn't the same color as yours doesn't mean you want your kids to be walking down the street in an unsafe neighborhood.
Every Arizonan wants safety and security in their neighborhood. It doesn't matter what your skin color is. And if you look at stats, you will look and see that police do not target people of color. That is a lie that's been perpetuated by the left and then spread and disseminated and re-spread in the media. Check the stats.
That is exactly how you do it. With today's hostile media, you don't defend your position; you challenge their narrative. Moreover, Lake did it calmly, clearly, gracefully, and without any overt hostility.
After Lake spoke, Abraham Hamadeh, the Republican candidate for attorney general, chimed in to reinforce her point. He was less effective than Lake because he sounded more aggressive and hostile. Following her almost queenly presentation, Hamadeh came across as a bit weak.
Overall, Lake gets an A+ and Hamadeh an A-. Both showed political savvy, and Lake gave a primer in handling the press.
Incidentally, I've heard concerns about both Lake and Hamadeh. To the extent that Lake was once a Democrat, people worry that she's a plant — someone who runs from the right but will govern from the left. That's possible.
However, I am also someone who was once a Democrat and is now a conservative. I believe that people not only change their views, but, having changed them, become very passionate about their newfound values. A gamble on Lake being the real deal seems like a better bet than voting for Katie Hobbs, a known leftist.
As for Hamadeh, the hard-left Jewish Forward outlet claims he is an antisemite and offers four pieces of evidence. First, when Hamadeh was three, his Syrian-born father, Jamal (then an illegal alien because he had overstayed his visa) was indicted for conspiracy to commit arson against a firebombed Chicago synagogue. The charges against Jamal were dropped.
There is no indication, however, that Hamadeh supports violence against Jews. He is part Druze, and the Druze support Israel, and he claims some Jewish connections.
Second, when Hamadeh was 16, he posted at the Ron Paul Forum saying Jews are rich and influential, a typical antisemitic trope. A year later, he argued for cutting U.S. funding to Israel. However, just as I forgive Lake for being a Democrat because I was once one, I am disinclined to judge someone for what he did at 16 or 17 because I was once that age. I was really stupid then, too, with a lot of bad ideas.
Third, Hamadeh opposes George Soros. All thinking people, Jewish or not, should oppose Soros, who is a megalomaniacal anti-Semite and anti-Zionist who happens to be genetically Jewish.
Fourth, after the Syrian civil war started, Hamadeh dreamed of an Israel-Turkey alliance to help topple Bashar al-Assad. I'm at a loss to see why that's anti-Semitic.