GOP Candidates Need to Refuse to Answer Stupid Questions Such as Whether Obama Is Christian

Expand | Collapse
(Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) addresses the American Action Forum in Washington January 30, 2015.

You know the saying "there's no such thing as a stupid question"? That's not entirely accurate, as it seems the press of late ask them all of the time.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was asked about whether or not he thought President Obama was a Christian.

The Washington Post reports:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a prospective Republican presidential contender, said Saturday he does not know whether President Obama is a Christian.

"I don't know," Walker said in an interview at the JW Marriott hotel in Washington, where he was attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

Told that Obama has frequently spoken publicly about his Christian faith, Walker maintained that he was not aware of the president's religion.

"I've actually never talked about it or I haven't read about that," Walker said, his voice calm and firm. "I've never asked him that," he added.

"You've asked me to make statements about people that I haven't had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?"

Walker said such questions from reporters are reflective of a broader problem in the nation's political-media culture, which he described as fixated on issues that are not relevant to most Americans.

"To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press," he said. "The things they care about don't even remotely come close to what you're asking about."

Walker said he does not believe that most Americans care about such matters. "People in the media will [judge], not everyday people," he said. "I would defy you to come to Wisconsin. You could ask 100 people, and not one of them would say that this is a significant issue."

Walker is right, this is not relevant… his opinion of President Obama's faith is not relevant to the 2016 election, nor is anyone else's. This is just another example of the media trying to play "gotcha" with Republican candidates.

The focus is now on Walker saying he doesn't know. The press will point out how he attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, "pastored" by Dr. Jeremiah Wright. They will point out references he has made about his faith in Christ during the 2008 election. Forget the fact he has largely not attended church since becoming President, espouses views more in line with popular culture than the Bible, and seems to be more concerned about defending Muslims against being painted as extreme all the while painting those who hold a biblical worldview as extreme.

It's not a question any politician can answer successfully because if you say no they'll paint you as extreme. If you say you are not sure they'll bash you for it. If you say yes, the press will just move on to another question and then you'll likely get dinged by some for not adding at least some qualifiers to that statement.

Any candidate who receives a question like this should just say, "if you ask me a serious question or a relevant question I'd be happy to answer."

Just refuse.

Another way the media plays this game is when one conservative figure or candidate says or does something viewed as "extreme" they go around asking other candidates whether they agree. In the same article, they mention Rudy Giuliani's statement that President Obama does not love America.

Walker's comments Saturday came after a week in which he was asked repeatedly whether he agreed with former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani when he said at a private dinner last Wednesday that he was not sure whether Obama loves his country. Walker was a guest at the dinner.

Who cares? Again candidates should just refuse to answer. Simply say Giuliani has his opinion, and my opinion of his is not relevant. I can tell you that I love America. Whether President Obama does or doesn't is irrelevant to my campaign.

Another example is asking tabloid type questions instead of serious questions. During the press conference with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in Des Moines on Friday. I asked him a question about what his timeline for making a decision about a presidential run will look like. Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican asked him a question about foreign policy. What does Jennifer Jacobs of The Des Moines Register ask? She asked him about not knowing the difference between a cattle castration tool from a hog castration tool. In honor of U.S. Senator Joni Ernst's "cutting pork" campaign ad where she mentioned castrating hogs growing up on a farm Graham gave her a castration tool, which ended up being for cattle not hogs. Graham acknowledged the mistake, wow, stop the presses!

Seriously you are going to ask a question about that?

Will that change anyone's mind? "You know I was going to vote for Graham, but dang it, he just doesn't know the difference between a cattle castration tool and a hog castration tool."

Get real! It's time for Republican candidates to stop feeding the media "animals" who ask asinine questions such as these.

This column originally appeared in Caffeinated Thoughts.

About the Author: Shane Vander Hart is the founder and editor-in-chief of Caffeinated Thoughts. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, LLC, a social media & communications consulting/management firm. He is a communications director for American Principles Project's Preserve Innocence Initiative. Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.