Basic Questions Linger About Barnette as GOP Senate Primary Approches – Opinion

It will take just hours for voters to decide in Keystone State next Tuesday which candidate the GOP will elect to represent them in the U.S. Senate elections.

On Thursday, well-respected conservative journalist and author Salena Zito (who writes at Washington Examiner and the New York Post) wrote what I think is a crucial story on the primary, though it’s much like the writing you’ll consistently find from her. It’s not meant to be a negative piece or to praise one issue or another policy. A balanced story that asks the right questions to allow voters to make their decisions.

In this piece, Kathy Barnette (a Republican U.S. Senate Candidate from Pennsylvania) is her subject. And the headline is just as plain-spoken as the article: “Who is Kathy Barnette?” As she writes, “She could be hiding nothing. Her hiding could mean she is hiding everything. We don’t know because there are no answers.”

Which answers do Zito consider incomplete? She writes that she spoke with the campaign and sent via text  “[a] series of questions… about her background for a story that was supposed to be a profile.” But Zito, who has interviewed several of the candidates – both Republican and Democrat – wasn’t able to write the profile because most of them “went unanswered.”

She adds that “[t]he questions….were pretty straightforward and simple.”

Her hometown name

What was her adjunct faculty name and where did she live?

What year was she an officer candidate?

Which financial institution did she work for and at what time?

What year did she relocate from Virginia to Pennsylvania, and when? In her bio, she states that she lived in Virginia. When did she leave for Pennsylvania in 2018?

This is a confirmation of Troy State University being the college that she graduated.

The campaign manager did answer one of them, she says, “but that too was vague. When asked about her military service, the answer was: ‘Kathy noted basic training was Fort Dix, Army Reserves.’”

Go back through the list. Pretty basic questions you’d expect to be in any candidate’s publicly available bio, right?

As readers are aware by now, Donald Trump made an endorsement in the Senate primary race–Dr. Mehmet Oz– back in April. RedState wrote on the Oz endorsement, exhaustively covering both the positive and negative aspects of the move in several pieces. Personally, I’m not a fan of Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz’s now-canceled television show and the magazine which promoted it were top-notch quack material. However, Trump made a mistake here.

Now, fast forward to May. In the first two weeks of the month, Kathy Barnette began showing up on people’s radar — first with a hard-nosed effort against Oz in a debate, then rocketing to a tie for second place with him in new polling.

Over the last few days however, several issues came to an end. They started late in the week. Bonchie, my colleague wrote on Thursday that Rik Grenell, Donald Trump’s surrogate was going after Barnette over some edited tweets and videos. This attempt to denigrate Barnette as a false conservative especially in light of Black Lives Matter.

Also on Thursday, I happened to be tooling around PlutoTV (which streams some BlazeTV content for free), and caught an episode of a condensed version of “The Glenn Beck Radio Show.” I tuned in just as Beck took a break, but teased that he would interview Barnette next.

I wasn’t able to find video of the entire interview (you can watch this closing bit; the full segment starts about 25 minutes into this audio version). But here’s what I heard in the interview with Barnette — and it’s not good.

What I heard was uncalled-for defensiveness, in what couldn’t be a more friendly forum.

How do I mean? Barnette displayed a very ugly trait, a flash of self-righteousness, when mentioning-several times- that she’s been campaigning for about a year. (I’ve heard her variously say, in different videos, 12 and 13 months.)

This was the most frustrating part. Beck mentioned Zito at one point. This gave Barnette an easy exit and allowed her to answer any questions that might have been asked by voters.

That’s when Barnette lashed out at Zito as “disingenuous.” She then had the gall (or the ignorance) to tar the journalist (who I think wrote the definitive book on why Trump won in ’16) as being part of a mob of “outsiders.” I am only guessing here, but that appears to be her label for “enemies.” I have an big issue with that.

Barnette is not being snatched by anyone in the conservative media. This is the latest news. She has taken on another surrogate Friday. Splashed across social media was a new endorsement from “former Philadelphia Eagle and Trump appointee” Jack Brewer. Barnette was praised by Brewer in an interview. video (also, coincidentally, in an op-ed at our sister publication Townhall), stating that “Trump got this one wrong.” As you know, I don’t disagree with that.

However, there are many questions. Barnette’s most recent statement (as far as I can tell) was in a video blog she released on Friday. She uses the video blog, just like in Beck’s interview to address some of Grenell’s allegations and those who back Oz.

However, the video does not answer Zito Beck’s gentle questions about Beck and her campaign. Who she is. It’s a mystery. Barnette responds to conservative media outlets but gives it a stiff arm, much like an Eagles linebacker. This isn’t a good sign.

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