B²: Patriotism and War Powers

Do you love America? That’s one media question you wouldn’t expect to leave you flat-footed. Radio hosts around the nation are asking our leaders their opinion on the president’s patriotism following Rudy Giuliani’s salvo on the subject. The B² team noticed that some have found themselves on their heels (no names!).

Red State reported how Sen. Marco Rubio came out clean on this non-winner of a question:

“Democrats aren’t asked to answer every time Joe Biden says something embarrassing, so I don’t know why I should answer every time a Republican does. I’ll suffice it to say that I believe the president loves America; I think his ideas are bad.”

The B² team anticipates journalists will ask questions coupling the president’s love for America with the current debate in Congress over when and how America should go to war against a growing global terrorist threat.

Our political leaders are making decisions about whether to commit tens of thousand of troops, air strikes, and/or proxy warfare. These decisions are not light ones: they have the potential to shape U.S. foreign policy for the next decade, and will require American blood and money. What is patriotic is to effectively combat terrorism.

If you stumble in a media interview question about our political leaders’ patriotic commitment to dealing with ISIS, you could be called an Islamaphobe, a bigot, a weak leader, or worst of all… unpatriotic. That’s not your message.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q1: When and how should America beat ISIS? Wouldn’t it be unpatriotic to commit troops when it will only inflame ISIS and feed more violent extremism?

Q2: When and how should America beat ISIS? Wouldn’t it be unpatriotic to fail to commit troops because Americans can’t sustain a long war and it won’t work?

: America has always stood for defending the natural rights of women and men to enjoy life and liberty. ISIS oppresses people, denies their human rights, and silences dissent. This – terrorism – is what we are fighting. That’s real patriotism. What’s most important is to stop it, and this is how <insert talking point>.

Wherever you take the conversation next, realize that “patriotism” and “policy” are different. Your implementation of policy may seem patriotic to you, but take the extra three seconds in your sound bite to explain why. Use your next answer to explain the policy nuance. Don’t get caught in an ad hominem attack that makes you look weak. Keep your eye on the ball – preventing another terrorist attack.

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