What We Can Learn From Gomez’s Great Klan Gaffe

There has been a lot of criticism of Gabriel Gomez’s ‘Klan’ comments here on Red Mass Group.  Such criticism is well deserved.  Mr. Gomez’s comments are not becoming of an aspirant to public office at any level let alone the US Senate.

But what can readers of RMG–as GOP activists, candidates and office holders–learn from this incident?  I offer three take aways from the Gomez brouhaha.

1. Shoot at Your Opponents, Not Your Supporters.  As a former Navy Seal, Mr. Gomez should know that battles are never won by firing on one’s own troops.  The same is true in politics.  Sure there will be times when those on the GOP side may frustrate or make you mad.  That’s natural.  But take a lesson from our opponents.  Diminish but don’t disparage those on our side you disagree with.  In 2008, when the Jeremiah Wright controversy surfaced, Obama likened Wright to “an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with.”  http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/…   With the attention span of the public these days chances are that would have been the end of it (it was only when Wright made disparaging comments about Obama that he was thrown under the bus).  Gomez should have taken a page from Obama’s playbook.  Downplay controversy with those on our side.  Don’t engage in friendly fire. Shoot outward, not inward.

2. Don’t Pick Fights With The Media.  There’s an old political adage that goes “don’t pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel”.  In the electronic age, that could be updated to “don’t pick a fight with someone who buys bandwidth by the terabyte”.  The media has far more ability to shape public opinion than any candidate or individual.  Best to not provoke them.  That goes for social media and bloggers as well as print and TV.  In the context of the Gomez ‘Klan’ comments, everything I learned about the incident comes from RMG (I read RMG daily.  I never go on Facebook).  Editors Eno and Pinto shaped the set of information available to me about Mr. Gomez’s comments and the context.  Even if Gomez were in the right, I would never have known.  As GOP activists, it’s true that the media will usually be against us.  That goes with the territory.  Keep control.  Hold your tongue.  Don’t go after the media.  Don’t let them shape the field of battle against us.  Zip it up.  Go after our opponents.    

3. Keep Control. Don’t Make Over The Top Comments.  Exploit Your Opponents When They Do.  Mr. Gomez is fortunate that his comments were taken as an attack on Mr. Eno and Mr. Pinto or a swipe at part of his own party.  A skillfull opponent could have exploited the ‘Klan’ comment to much more damaging effect.  For instance, one could say “I find Mr. Gomez’s comments offensive on a much deeper level than simply an attack on two individuals.  Comparison to the Klan diminishes the real suffering and fear that millions of African-Americans, Catholics and Jews experienced at the hands of the Klan.”  That would put Mr. Gomez on the defensive with thousands of minority and religious voters, not just two party activists.  This is a powerful type of response for GOP activists because those on the left are much more prone than we are to over-the-top comparisons than we are.  The left was fond of equating George Bush http://www.foxnews.com/story/2… and Romney http://reason.com/blog/2012/03… to Hitler.  Maybe they’ll try that sort of stuff with you too.  If they do, turn it around.  Nobody wants a hater or hothead in public office.  Respond to their over-the-top comments by exposing them for what they are.

About yankeepundit

  • RRRR

    This morning I was reading one of the many threads about GG’s latest gaffes when I stumbled upon something deeply disturbing … Simple J Malarkey on Christmas morning …


    I knew Simple was an angry guy (you have to be if you visit an opposition blog every day to argue with people) but I had no idea how bad off this guy really was.

    In Simple’s never ending pursuit to make people on this blog as miserable as he is, he chimed in with a comment that was more revealing about his life than anything I have ever read from him.   It said basically this …

    ‘While it is 8:29 on Christmas morning I find myself away from my family, my friends, my neighbors etc. … and in front of my computer reading that asshole Rob Eno’s blog!  This is the most productive and important use of my time right now this Christmas Day 2013.’

  • If by “we” Yankeepundit means prospective GOP candidates for office the above is pretty sensible advice. But what can “we” who select and support those candidates (i.e. Republican rank and file)learn from this? At the very least that who we select may turn into a millstone around our necks.

    It seems to me that Gabriel Gomez was an obviously inappropriate Republican candidate from the start. He was completely inexperienced, of dubious loyalties and had no discernable ideological profile: A Triple Threat Now he turns out also to be an ass. Yet quite a lot of the GOP establishment worked hard BEFORE the primary to foist him on the party. Why? Was it just the Hispanic name and military creds? Or was it his ability to write lots of checks to political mercenaries? Or did he serve some other purpose? Does the fact that he is a political empty suit considered to be an asset in some quarters?

    [BTW, Rob, if you are reading, there is a datum I have been curious about for the last six months: How much Gomez spent on his campaign BEFORE the primary as compared to the general.]

    Edward ww

  • Maybe we need to ask our candidates go through Wonderlic testing like the NFL does to quarterbacks. They want their leaders to be smart. Shouldn’t we want that too?

    I don’t think Mr. Gomez would score very high on a wonderlic test, but I could be wrong.

    Additionally I found it very offensive that Mr Gomez refers to himself as a leader, but I guess that is best interpreted as “self proclaimed leader” since he has never won an election and has never shown true leadership skills.

    In the military you would not live very long if you kept attacking and disparaging the ranks, so maybe the best thing that could happen is for Mr. Gomez’s political life to come to an end and then we can all put this awful event truly behind us.

  • Never trust a man that writes a letter saying he supports Obama and expect him to be a  true republican.

    I’m glad I stayed home & didn’t waste my time voting for him.

    As much as I dislike Ed Markey, I prefer that I know what my senators will do.

    Gomez would have voted for Amnesty and any progressive dem bill that came up.