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Primary Tactics that Blow Chunks

January 24, 2012

My wife is sick of debates, but the kids and I eat ‘em up.  I have to admit, much of my fervor is because my kids are so interested, but I’ve been a politico for quiet awhile.  It’s often good entertainment.

These primaries, for example, have been an amazing show.  My nephew posted a derogatory comment on Facebook about “is this the best they can offer?” but he’s a liberal, so does anyone expect him to like them?  Of course not.  Still, we’ve certainly been helping the nation look down their nose at our candidates as they jockey for the nomination.  Here are the really dumb tactics that should never have been part of this primary:


  • Romney’s time at Baan.  Let’s not target people for their success.  Some companies fail, some do well.  Romney, for all his passionless vanilla personality, is a man of integrity.  Attacking that makes you look stupid.  Heck, keep him in the marketplace to create more jobs.

  • Santorum’s attacking Romneycare, especially when Mitt’s defense is the exact same as Rick’s defense of his former stance on right-to-work.

  • Santorum claiming either Romney or Gingrich won’t defeat Obamacare.  They both say they will; Rick just looks pedantic ringing that bell.

  • Attacking Gingrich on lobbying.  Most Americans only think they know what lobbying is, and Mitt is playing on that ignorance (a favored Obama tactic).  Newt didn’t lobby.  He was hired by FM’s lobbying director because that’s the fellow in charge of strategy and educating his lobbyists.  Doesn’t make Newt a lobbyist, it makes him a subject-matter expert, which he is.

  • Virtually everything Rick Perry leveled at Romney.  I like Perry, but finesse isn’t his forte and striking those notes with a hammer hurt Rick more than Mitt.

  • Romney’s (until recently) unwillingness to engage.  I don’t want a president who plays it safe because he doesn’t have to take risks and only takes risks (badly) if he has to.

  • Striking at each other during debates.  I want to know what makes your ideas better than the other guy’s and why you think you can deliver the goods.  Not why you think the others can’t.

  • Tax Returns.  Why is it our business what their incomes were?

Each candidate does have weaknesses; not necessarily for the other candidates to attack:

  • Romney’s weakness: Lack of passion and compassion, dislike of conflict, his break for the middle when things get tough. Not much of a sense of humor but could beat Obama.
  • Santorum’s weakness: He’s scary to a lot of Americans because he stands so tall and ramrod straight.  He’s the opposite of Romney.  Could use some compassion (which he has shown, just not enough).  Major weakness: Lacks grace and statesmanship.  I think this is a big deal.  Obama has him some wacky charisma and could get at Rick just by displaying a sense of humor.  The easiest way to enrage Rick is to not take him seriously.  I think Santorum could be a strong candidate in 16 years.
  • Ron Paul:  His own worst enemy.  They’ve all realized it and leave him alone.  Worst delivery of some great messages (and some wacky ones) ever.  He does resonate with people who have had enough of the wars, but who don’t concern themselves with the bigger picture (hello, under 30 people! And many older folks).  I do think he could beat Obama, though.  Obama would come off like he was beating up the weird but harmless uncle.  Paul’s world does not exist, but neither does Obama’s and Paul’s fantasy is a lot more endearing than Obama’s.  Paul will not get the nomination, though, so no worries.
  • Gingrich’s weaknesses and why he’s got my vote:  For the first several debates I though, “man, he’s good; too bad he’s unelectable.”  He won me over.  His weakness is his tremendous baggage; but really, for the middle voters who lovedClintonand are morally challenged themselves, does the (repented for) infidelity really matter?  Sometimes it’s the people who screw up and realize it that understand the values. And for all his issues during his Speakership, he ended up being right.  Polls say Obama would beat him, but so what?  The campaign hasn’t happened yet.  If he could win me over, he can win over the majority of Americans (I hope).  I would bet that he can beat Obama no matter what undecideds are saying now.  Best sense of humor of the bunch and that can really win people over.  How he could win:
  • As many debates as Obama wouldn’t chicken out of.
  • Several in-depth interviews where he comes clean about his failures, accepting full blame and showing his personal growth.  I think showing humility in this kind of interview would go a long, long way to assuaging voters.
  • A strong Internet campaign, even more so than TV (though clearly, some good TV ads.  Get the guys who do Ron Paul’sHollywoodads to help out… or maybe they should do the superpac ads.)
  • YouTube videos clearly explaining his political baggage, again offering the facts, but taking the blame where appropriate.
  • Speeches with questions from the audience.  And not planted ones.  Use his ability to think on his feet to his advantage.
  • Emphasis on humility, knowledge and compassion; for every Government cut, envision the country for private solutions as well.
  • Slogan:  Engaged Americans Makes Government Small!
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