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November 29, 2011

Three Things The GOP Field Can Learn From Herman Cain

These are pretty damn fine points.

Here's number one:

If you want to sell a pie, you need a good hook: Cain has taken a lot of heat over how often he mentions his 9-9-9 plan, but it’s beating the stuffing out of all the other candidates’ plans right now. Why? Because Cain, a corporate marketing expert, knows deep in his bones what most politicians still can’t figure out: if you want people to remember you, you have to give them something simple on which to hang that memory. There’s a corollary here, by the way, that probably should get its own point: If you don’t build the hooks for your campaign, your competition will, and they won’t be good.

Mitt Romney has a fine economic plan, but it’s spread out over 59 points and has no unifying theme he can put into one short sentence. Rick Perry has a strong three-pillar plan but his hook, “Cut, Balance, and Grow”, is not only boring but so close to “Cut, Cap, and Balance” that it makes him look lazy and unimaginative. Newt Gingrich knows how to write a good hook — remember “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less”? — but he hasn’t gotten around to writing a good one for his own plan.

Cain put a strong hook in front of a plan that turned out to be less than half as comprehensive than any of the other candidates’ plans and his is the one that still dominates the tax reform discussion.

Point 2 is keep it positive -- I guess I agree with that, generally -- and Point 3 is related to point 1: If you want your supporters to sell your plan, you'd better sell it strongly yourself (Nine! Nine! Nine!), and not just treat it like a Check That Box thing to get out of the way, just to say you have a plan.

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posted by Ace at 04:10 PM

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