Piers Morgan learned the hard way the futility of trying to get a straight answer to a simple question out of Christine O’Donnell on his show the other night. What Piers no doubt recognizes is that no Republican likes being questioned. The Republican (and Tea party) attitude toward questions is the only good question is the question that goes unasked.
Republicans think it’s some sort of natural right to be and remain un-questioned. Questions are a sort of affront to their dignity. They are used to droning on about their talking points no matter what the actual question is a la John McCain and Sarah Palin in the 2008 Presidential Election. If there are questions they simply don’t want to answer they either ignore the question or refuse to answer it, as O’Donnell does here, telling Morgan that he is rude to even ask (or they can beat you up but that was obviously not an option for O’Donnell here).
O’Donnell did not want to answer the questions the interview wanted to ask (any interviewer, let’s face it). What she wanted was a platform in which to promote her talking points and her book. Now just as Morgan can’t be unaware of Republicans and their attitude toward questions, O’Donnell can’t be unaware of how talk shows work. They’ve been around since before she was born, after all. If you’ve wondered what happens when a Tea Partier with talking points runs into a talk show host who stands his ground and demands an answer, watch this interview and you will find out:
Morgan: Right now, I’m curious about whether you support gay marriage
O’Donnell: You’re borderline being a little bit rude. You know, I obviously want to talk about the issues I choose to talk about in the book. Um…
Morgan: Do you answer that question in the book?
O’Donnell: I talk about my religious beliefs, yeah I absolutely do.
Morgan: Do you talk about gay marriage in the book?
O’Donnell: What relevance is that right now? Is there a piece of legislation? I shouldn’t be voting on anything…
Morgan: Its obviously, as you know, because of Michele Bachmann’s views and others a highly contentious political issue. You keep saying its in the book so I’m amused as to why you wouldn’t just say it in an interview if it’s in the book.
O’Donnell: Because I don’t think it’s relevant. It’s not a topic I choose to embrace. I’m not championing it right now. I’ve been there done that, gone down that road. Right now what I’m trying to do is promote a that book I hope to be a very inspiration story to people who are part of the tea party movement so that they can continue in this movement to bring America back to the second American revolution. That’s my goal, that’s my focus right now
Morgan: So would you agree with Michele Bachmann that we should maybe repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? We should restore that?
O’Donnell: I’m not talking about policies. I’m not running for office. Ask Michele Bachmann what she thinks. As the candidates running for office what they think.
Morgan: Why are you being so weird about this?
O’Donnell: I’m not being weird about this, Piers. I’m not running for office; I’m not promoting a legislative agenda. I’m promoting the policies that I lay out in the book that are mostly fiscal, that are mostly constitutional. That’s why I agreed to come on your show. That’s what I want to talk about. I’m not being weird; you’re being a little rude.
Morgan: I’m baffled as to why you think – I think I’m being rather charming and respectful. I’m just asking you a question based on your own public statements and now what you’ve written in your own book. It’s hardly rude to ask you that surely!
O’Donnell: Well, Don’t you think as a host if I say this is what I want to talk about that’s what we should address?
Morgan: Not really no. You’re a politician!
O’Donnell: Okay, I’m being pulled away. We turned down another interview for this.
Morgan: Where are you going? You’re leaving?
O’Donnell: Well I was supposed to be speaking at the Republican Women’s Club at 6 o’clock and I chose to be a little late for that not to, you know, endure a rude talk show host but to talk you about my book; to talk about the issues I address in the book. Have you read the book?
Morgan: But these issues are in your book, that’s my point; you do talk about them
Morgan: Alright, are we off? We done?
Morgan: I’m still here! It would appear the interview has just been ended because I had the audacity to ask questions about stuff that’s in this book. Anyway, it’s a good book.. It’s called Trouble Maker. I bet you now know why it’s called Trouble Maker.
If O’Donnell would have simply answered the question without making a big deal out of it, Morgan would have certainly moved on to other subjects but she chose to draw a line in the sand, a line that said, no questions. She wanted fluff, not journalism. To which we can only respond: but it’s a talk show! Morgan is right: the questions, the subject matter, are up to the host. She agreed to talk about her book and he did not ambush her with surprise, unrelated questions. He picked a subject she does talk about in her book and asked her a question about it. She refused to answer. Perhaps she can approach FOX News, famous for asking Republicans it likes (at least) the fluff questions. Certainly a washed up politician should be willing to answer a few questions.
Ironically, the subtitle of O’Donnell’s book is “Let’s do what it takes to make America great again” – I guess not including answering questions about the book in question.
Of course, you have to wonder had she been elected if she would not simply pulled a Sarah Palin and when faced with some truly tough questions, simply have walked away like she did here. The voters, it would appear, dodged that bullet. It’s time the Tea Party recognize that we’re not marching to their tune. That we will ask questions and we will demand answers. We’ll see if they finally pick up on that message in 2012. O’Donnell got her answer early.