Some Simple Advice for the GOP White House Wannabes
– by David Matthews 2
Attention GOP contenders for the White House and their advisers, consultants, spin doctors, and whomever else may be reading this…
I’ve been keeping an eye on the White House race for quite a few decades now, and I’ve noticed that there are a few mistakes that are made rather frequently by candidates in these past few elections. These are mistake that can be easily remedied now, before you go full-blown into the 2012 primary and caucus season and make fools of yourselves.
Now I know that I’m not a so-called “political expert”. I haven’t spent my time and millions of someone else’s money trying to make grifters and shysters look like Arthurian Knights of the Round Table, and considering how much time and money is wasted on these quests, maybe you should be paying more attention to the people who don’t do that sort of stuff for a living.
So if you’re Internet-savvy enough to come across this article (or have someone on your staff that is), you may want to take some of this advice to heart.
The first advice I have is simple… don’t bet the farm on New Hampshire and Iowa.
Yes I know the myth is that the person who wins those first primaries and caucuses supposedly wins the White House. But have they really done that of late? Pat Buchannan won the New Hampshire primary in 1996 only to get beat out at the Convention by Senator Bob Dole. Senator John McCain won New Hampshire in 2000, but it wasn’t his name in the “win” column that was being contested in Florida that following December, was it? No, it was George W. Bush that went on to become President.
Okay, so what happens if you put every bit of campaign time and effort and money into New Hampshire and Iowa and you don’t win? Odds are, those that play that game will be the first ones to drop out of the race. And yes, we’ve all see that happen on more than one occasion.
Treat this as a marathon, not as a sprint. If you can’t be there for the long haul, state-by-state, from Iowa to the national convention, then you’re just wasting your time and a lot of people’s money.
The second advice goes along the same lines: everything going on right now until January does not count!
You know all of those polls that are out there right now telling people who is the supposed “front runner”? That’s nothing more than fantasy league posturing from the media. Yes, it’s nice to know that “X percent of likely voters” would support you, but that doesn’t mean that they will actually be voting on that day.
Remember former Governor Howard Dean? He was the big odds-on favorite in the fantasy leagues back in 2004. And then what happened when people started showing up for the caucuses and primaries? Suddenly he wasn’t “the favorite” anymore. And that was even before the “Dean Scream” went viral. Ditto with Congressman Ron Paul, who is also on the ballots right now. Big winner in the “fantasy league”, just not so big in the real one.
The only “polls” that really matter here are the election ones. Everything else is propaganda.
Next… get your skeletons in order!
Herman Cain is finding out the hard way that even the most seemingly inconsequential thing in your past will come back to haunt you. Plus you’re dealing with people with money, and that money can find any kind of skeleton that you thought was locked away and forgotten. Don’t think for a moment that this stuff can’t be dug up and used against you. Know that it will, period. Get your story straight before then and you won’t get caught up inventing three different accounts of the same incident. Again, just ask Mister Cain about that if you don’t believe me.
And along the same lines… there is no honor among candidates!
Sure everyone there can be all smiles and handshakes in front of the cameras. But if you’re on record saying that “God” told you to run and there are two other people saying the same thing, then either “God” is lying to at least two of you, or at least one of that three are running a scam and they (or you) don’t want to have the other two ruining it.
That means that they will do anything to bring you down. They will find whatever skeletons are in your closet and leak them. They will find any kind of rumor about you and twist it around to make you look like the biggest scum in politics.
Who do you think originated all the rumors about then-candidate Barack Obama back in 2008? Here’s a hint: it wasn’t the GOP. They didn’t consider him to be a viable candidate back then.
This one is rather important… don’t blame the media or the Internet for your mistakes!
Think of the insanity involved with appealing to people that have been conditioned like Pavlovian dogs to despise the media, to call them names like “Lame-stream” and “leftist media” and “the liberal media”, to then complain about how you’re getting portrayed by that same media. You created the enemy, so you forfeit any right to complain if they treat you accordingly.
Remember Linda Tripp, witness to the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal? Every time her still photo was used in the media, it was a picture of her looking like she was about ready to throw up. In contrast, Clinton and Lewinsky were usually seen either smiling or defiant in their still photos. Yes, the subtle digs are there. There is no denying it. So why complain when those same tactics are used against you?
And as for the Internet, well it’s an equal-opportunity exploiter. Just check out Snopes.com if you don’t believe me. Dean’s legendary “Dean Scream” was used by both supporters and opponents. So if you don’t like how YouTube makes you look like a dumbass, have your supporters come up with better material. Troll around the colleges and you should find plenty of eager Internet-savvy voulenteers.
And finally, and this one is focused more towards the bosses and consultants than to the candidates… don’t shop bad product!
What bothered me about the political ascension of former Governor Sarah Palin wasn’t really the Orwellian-like propaganda promoting her to be the “perfect candidate”. It was the eventual revelation that people were actually shopping her name around to be a possible running mate months before the decision was made! With all of the fumbles and flubs that really dragged her down, like what sort of newspapers she reads regularly, it would have been understandable if she was selected out-of-the-blue and then say that the “evil leftist media” ambushed her. But if you’re shopping that candidate around for a running mate position, then that means there’s plenty of time to get that candidate prepared for these kinds of questions. In other words, Palin’s people were shopping bad product.
Let’s get brutally honest here… there’s are several reasons why a so-called “perfect candidate” would not run for that higher position, and one of those reasons is that they’re just not ready for the big leagues. Look at former Senator Fred Thompson if you don’t believe me. He’s a very good actor. He’s a pitchman for gold merchants. But when brought in at the last minute as the so-called “perfect candidate” in the 2008 Presidential race, he failed. He became a political speed-bump.
That’s why New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has wisely said “no” to doing the same thing this time around, and why Texas Governor Rick Perry may eventually regret saying “yes”. Stop looking for a messiah and start looking for someone who is ready.
Of course I have no illusions that these simple pieces of advice will have any kind of traction outside of the blogosphere and social networks. But maybe somewhere along the line, some political consultant in the near future will Google this article and read it and say “gee… why didn’t he get paid the big bucks back then? Maybe then we wouldn’t be dealing with President Cletus ‘Nuke-Em’ Boscoe today.”