Jeb Bush and CPAC: how he answered some questions...

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

I suspect that these answers (via the Daily Signal) by Jeb Bush on immigration and Common Core questions will not much move the needle, one way or the other.

Jeb Bush is clearly a capable public speaker… but. He has some unpopular opinions on the subject, and that is the meat of it. Whether that hurts Jeb Bush in the primary any more than it has already is going to be the big question.


Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: As you can see from the format, Sean Hannity asked the questions, Jeb answered them (some of my colleagues muttered that Jeb ‘answered’ them). I… well, there is no nice way to say this: having somebody there to ask the questions is often a good idea, because many (if not most) people don’t know how to ask questions. Far be it from me to criticize people for something without offering some advice in the process, so here goes:

How to ask questions.

  1. Keep it straightforward. This is not an opportunity to match wits with your opponent; if for no other reason than your opponent will likely win, because he or she is not your opponent: he or she is the person who will have the last word. So avoid going for a ‘gotcha,’ because you’re not going to get it anyway. Limited exception: you just want to see the politician squirm a little.  Fine, but remember the two rules below.
  2. Keep it simple. Multi-sentence, complicated scenarios – besides violating Rule #3 below – will just confuse everybody involved. I understand that this may be somebody’s only chance to speak to a particular politician, but that merely means that you have to strip your questions down to the bare essentials. You might actually get an answer to your core inquiry that way, instead of an answer to the irrelevant tangent that you inexplicably included.
  3. Keep it short. This is honestly the big one: most questions go on forever, to the secret annoyance of everybody who isn’t asking the question (or planning to duck it). Let me just use a hard number: for the average town hall or conference, no question should be longer than fifteen seconds. Ten would be better. So… time yourself. Repeat the question in front of a friend, and encourage them to give you critical feedback on how to tighten it up.  Do that, and you give the politician more time to respond.  More importantly, everybody else waiting to ask a question will get a slightly better chance to ask theirs.

Seriously, politicians love getting long, rambling questions that go nowhere, while also attempting to trip that particular politician up.  Much easier to obfuscate those; it’s the simple, yet deadly questions that a politician dreads. No reason to make it easier for them.


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