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March 21, 2015

Fundamental Concepts - "Electable" [Weirddave]

As the 2016 presidential campaign lurches to a start, we are faced with the daunting prospect of selecting who we want to run for president in an election just 20 short months from now. One of the things we are sure to hear endlessly prattled about is a candidate's "electability". It doesn't matter if its RINOs trying to discredit a conservative candidate, or conservatives attacking the spineless establishment, everyone has an opinion as to whether or not a person is electable. The crazy thing is, nobody on either side knows what the hell they are talking about.


First of all, lets state the obvious. Not everybody wants the same thing in a candidate. Some people use the term simply to mean "I wouldn't vote for them" (Pauline Kael syndrome). Others use it to discredit a candidate that they don't favor, but that they fear IS electable, if they gain any traction. It's a preemptive attack to knock someone out of the race that before enough people notice them and they become electable. Sometimes, it's an honest assessment. I don't believe that Rick Santorum is electable in America today, which is not to say that there aren't some things about him that I like and some issues where he's spot on. I actually think that an America where Santorum was electable would be a much nicer place to live in than this America.

The word is most often used by campaign consultants of the dubious kind, who will be pleased as punch to tell a candidate just how to be "electable" for the low low price of millions of dollars, and when that doesn't work they go on talking head shows and trash the vice presidential candidate. These folks are the worst offenders of all, because they have absolutely no idea how to do what they promise. (I'm speaking of the folks on the Republican side here. Their donk equivalents are similar, but they use a different set of tactics).

Lets go to the videotape, shall we? Carl Rove. In 2000 he manages to have Bush lose to ManBearPig, saved only by the wisdom of the Founders in creating the Electoral College. In 2004 he was the architect of a very close victory over John Kerry. Great. A close victory over Kerry is like a Community College team coming within a missed extra point of beating an NFL team. It's still a win for the NFL, but it's nothing to be proud of. In 2008 these geniuses squandered McCain's greatest asset by muzzling his VP, and in 2012 made Mitt so damn electable that the country forgot that it had to actually vote for him. Now they want to tell us who is electable for 2016. With a track record like this, I'm all ears!

So what exactly is their major malfunction? It's simple. They fervently believe that what makes a candidate electable is making them as bland and inoffensive as possible. If my candidate doesn't say anything beyond platitudes, then he won't offend anyone. He must float on the shifting winds of whatever poll results have us panicked this week, and he must never, ever show any backbone. If he did that, he might offend the media and they would say something bad about us. Deflect. Pander. Appease. If they were cooks, ever meal they served would be porridge.

So what is the solution? How does a Republican get elected? It's not that hard, all he needs are a few principles.

Principle #1: The media is not your friend. They are actively working to subvert you. Remember this. Be ready to deal with it. Confront it head on when it happens. Correct their misstatements, don't allow their assumptions to go unchallenged. The model here should be Newt. Example:

Media "Mr. Candidate, given the Republican war on women, what.."

Candidate "Excuse me (name), what war on women is that?"

AND THEN SHUT UP AND POLITELY WAIT FOR AN ANSWER.

Most of them will be flabbergasted and will struggle for an answer. Nobody in their world even questions the premise. Everybody knows the Republicans have a war on women. Why? Because they just do! Everybody says so! Let them flop about while you wait, smiling, polite, attentive. This is fun, but....

Principle #2: Have a simple answer prepared. Democrat talking points aren't a secret. A candidate should have 5 stock answers in his pocket for each one. He should have 10. Some media members will have an answer ready, you better have one too. If they don't come up with one, they've just handed control of the interview over to you. This is a gift. Take it.

"I'm sorry (name), I didn't meant to put you on the spot. (laugh) Why, for a minute there it seemed like I was interviewing you, didn't it? I'm glad you asked because that's something that's rather important to me...(insert prepared remarks here....off the top of my head, something like this "There is a war on women, and combating it will be a priority of my administration. Did you know that in the last X years, the prevalence of sex selective abortions has risen Y%? Can you imagine? Terminating the life of an unborn baby, just because she's female? It sickens me that so many little girls are being killed like this. Why, we may have lost the next (name) or (name), and we wouldn't even know it! That's why I'll make banning abortion for the purpose of terminating little girls illegal"

Media "But that's not what I meant,"

Candidate "Oh, I'm sorry, which war on women were you referring to?"

AND THEN SHUT UP AND POLITELY WAIT FOR AN ANSWER.

Now, you might not think that's the place to bring up a subject like abortion, and I'm not saying that should be, but have a reply ready. If it is abortion, look at how I framed the issue, not about taking away a woman's choice, but in opposing those who would kill babes just for being female. That's a pro-life argument from a pro-woman POV.

Principle #3: Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Ronald Reagan is called the great communicator, but remember his training was as an actor. He knew the value of knowing your lines cold. Reagan used to practice his bon mots. I'll bet he said "Well, there you go again", with that little smile, to the mirror a hundred times, maybe a thousand, before he pulled it out in the debate, and when he did it brought down the house. I'd have people on staff whose job was to ambush the candidate around the house with talking points like Kato does to Clouseau physically in the Pink Panther movies, or treat the candidate like Janet Leigh in Psycho. Pull back the shower curtain and shout "RAPE! ABORTION! GAY MARRIAGE!" until the response comes right from the subconscious.

Principle #4 Tell Stories. They know this one, but the donks use it far more effectively than we do. The candidate should have specific stories, all with an emotional anchor, that supports all of his positions. This is how mankind is hardwired to transmit and absorb knowledge. It's a mighty tool.

Principle #5: Don't apologize, and don't accept ownership of someone else's gaffs. "I think Todd Aiken's an idiot, and if you want to talk about some imaginary world where women don't get pregnant from rape, go ask him. I think rapists should be castrated. Next question." Or "Well Candy, I'm not worth $200 million, I'm worth $220 million. Please get it right, I worked hard for that money, and I earned it by creating X00,000 jobs so that hard working Americans could earn the money they need to support their families. That $220 million is a fraction of the $X billion in economic growth my companies were responsible for, and last year I paid $Y million in taxes and gave $Z million to charity to help others achieve their dreams." Mic drop.

Principle #6: Know what your believe and be able to explain why. There was an article in the dump yesterday from Red State, and in it the author made the most extraordinary statement:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is probably the closest guy to me, ideologically speaking, in the expected field, but he is polarizing even within the Republican base to a degree that he cannot win, and even if he does, he will be manhandled in the general (precisely because he agrees with me so much).

What the hell does that say about the author's ideology? Presumably he thinks it's great, because it's his, after all, but that doesn't matter because it's "polarizing"? Says who? The media? See above. What is this, campaign by Stockholm Syndrome? If this is what he believes, what is the point? I can explain any conservative principle simply, in a half dozen sentences, and illustrate why I believe in it in a half dozen more. Anyone who isn't capable of doing the same shouldn't be running for office. All of this is just basic sales, it's not hard, any idiot can do it, even me. Contrary to popular entertainment, you don't become good at sales by tricking people, you get good at sales by explaining your product clearly. You get great at it by focusing on meeting their needs and wants. It's actually kind of zen, when you stop trying to "sell" something, suddenly you find yourself selling everything.

Principle #7: 40% of the electorate is going to hate your guts no matter what you do or say. Fuck 'em. Don't waste your time. Good news is that 40% will support you. Your job is to reach 11% of those in the middle. You do that by standing for something, and by having the ability to make those people want to stand with you. Not on every thing, but on most things. The best way to achieve that goal is to be friendly, happy, funny, optimistic and above all CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF AND IN YOUR BELIEFS. My candidate's alarm clock will wake him each morning to the Alec Baldwin speech from Glengarry Glen Ross. That's confidence. Project that, and the world is your oyster. You'll be shucking it in the Oval Office.

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posted by Open Blogger at 10:10 AM

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