Politics really isn’t that difficult, and Elise Stefanik seems to understand it better than most. One of the easiest ways to keep the upper hand is to simply not give your enemies fodder. Unfortunately, that’s a lesson that few in the GOP have taken to heart over the years, spanning the awkward breadth from Mitt Romney to Donald Trump. Of course, the reasons why a Republican may indulge the left will vary, but the result is always the same: the Republican being put on the defensive when they didn’t have to be.
Stefanik is learning to play the game early, though, in her new position as a top GOP House leader. Having replaced Liz Cheney, there was a distinct difference illustrated between the two Republicans on Sunday. Namely, while Cheney continued to make the rounds with left-wing journalists yelling at clouds, Stefanik told the liberal Sunday shows to stuff it, sought out friendly waters, and stayed on message.
Stefanik appeared with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business, not even bothering to give Fox’s other Sunday host, Chris Wallace, her valuable time. Meanwhile, Cheney did various interviews stabbing her party, and Kevin McCarthy in particular, in the back.
But what will come from that is nothing. Again, Cheney is preaching to the choir on those shows, but Stefanik, on the other hand, took the one thing from the media that they can’t artificially produce — biased soundbites. They would have loved to have seen her on with Chuck Todd or Chris Wallace so that some “Stefanik gets owned” viral video clip, taken completely out of context and based on whatever false premise the host came up with, could make the rounds. She wasn’t willing to oblige, and they were left picking up the scraps.
And that’s really the long and short of it. The media are not entitled to have Republicans to beat up on in a setting that allows them all the control. These hacks have shown they have no credibility and should be treated as such. Liz Cheney never would adhere to that reality, and in fact, she’s embracing it to raise her own profile now. But any Republican who wants to serve in leadership has to understand that the worst thing you can do is give in to the false premises of a biased, left-wing media. The easiest way to avoid that is to starve them of oxygen, i.e. simply don’t go on their shows. There’s nothing to be gained by it.
Let Cheney scream at the wall. Republicans have bigger fish to fry, and Stefanik appears to understand exactly how to do the frying.