Last Friday the all-news channel I was watching broke into their programming with Donald Trump’s press conference. I am not a fan of his style of politics which to me is akin to sand paper being rubbed on the raw emotions of the body politic. But I will be the first to admit he was not afraid to tangle with the press and respond to every question thrown his way.
On Tuesday I watched in dismay as Hillary Clinton could not—or more likely would not—address forthrightly a series of reporters’ questions concerning the email debacle that has sidetracked her candidacy. But with pluck and punch Clinton did not duck and hide but instead stood to face the questions and should at least be credited for stepping up to the podium and the cameras.
But what has troubled me most over this week concerning candidates and their dealing with the press is how Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is unable to stand on his own two feet to answer their questions.
On Tuesday, Walker’s policy team held a press call with reporters to discuss the Wisconsin governor’s health care plan, as well as his intention to repeal and replace Obamacare. But when reporters tried to submit a question, they were greeted by a press aide who demanded to know what question each reporter intended to ask.
“Was on Gov. Walker health plan press call. First time as a reporter I’ve ever had my questions pre-screened before I could ask them,” Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal’s health care policy reporter, tweeted after the call.
One of the reasons this nation has such a long campaign season for president is that we want to truly vet the candidate who will lead this country and be the most important person on the world stage. We want to know how they think and will respond to unpredictable events. That includes how they respond to reporters’ questions.
The working press should have probing questions of candidates and demand answers. After all, reporters and the press are essential components of our democracy. To undercut or bypass the press underserves the citizenry the candidates claim to have such an interest in representing.
Walker can tout all he likes about being “unintimidated”. But we have witnessed yet again that he is not as agile on his feet with reporters as he would like to be when on the national stage.
Walker is not ready for prime time when it comes to off-the-cuff responses as his immirgation comments over the past few days prove. I can understand why his handlers want to protect him from saying things they need to later address in a press release or work to iron out on the campaign trial. But the people of this country deserve and expect a candidate competent enough to handle questions without needing to have them pre-screened.
One has to wonder if pigs ever fly and Walker should be elected to the Oval Office if Russia’s president will present his talking points in advance so not to blindside Walker?
There is just no getting around the fact Walker is over his head in his quest for the White House and falling further behind as a result. The way he is now trying to thwart the working press is just one more example of the limitations Walker has of thinking and talking at the same time.
I very much dislike Trump and find Clinton less than forthright but they at least step up and take reporters questions head-on.