Don’t answer like this Republican when asked why he’s careful to state that he’s a Republican, not a Tea Party candidate. (And, of course, don’t let your deputies grab the camera of a citizen blogger who is asking the candidate questions. Personally, I find this blogger’s manner in asking questions and narrating his video highly irritating, but that’s no excuse either. Jim Holden, as a displaced Hoosier, I’m ashamed of you.)
But back to the political advice: When you’re a Republican stating from the platform at a Tea Party rally that you’re a Republican, not a Tea Party candidate, and when somebody asks you why you’re overtly distancing yourself from the Tea Party at a Tea Party rally:
1) Saying, as you did, that the Tea Party doesn’t actually have any candidates on the ballot and so you couldn’t run as a Tea Party candidate if you wanted to is okay, but we already know you wouldn’t even if you could, so that doesn’t advance the ball all that much.
2) Saying, as you did, that there are people who would like to “paint” you as a Tea Party candidate gives your game away–that you are trying too hard to walk the line and really do want to keep your distance. So–
3) You should say the following: “Because the Tea Party folks don’t want a bandwagon-hopper. I’ve been a Republican [for X years], long before the Tea Party came into being. I admire the things they stand for such as [X, Y, Z], and my mission here is to show them that I share and support those positions and hope to get their votes for the U.S. Senate. But it would be dishonest to identify myself wholly with the Tea Party, and the Tea Party itself wouldn’t like it if they thought I was trying to cash in on their movement. I’m a Republican who admires the Tea Party and agrees with many of their positions, and I hope they will see that I’m the best candidate to advance those positions in the Senate.”
When even I can see what the answer should have been, you’re heading toward a FAIL.
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