Advice to Democratic Presidential Candidates from A Random Voter
by bruh21, Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 05:31:01 PM EST
In another diary, there is a dustup about whether Obama is like Lieberman, but I think this is a question that really isn't getting at what is on all of our minds: Can we trust you?
I don't mean can we trust you like we trust a family member or a friend. We know you are politicians. We know you are ambitious. What we mean is can we trust you to do a few things that have been talked about, but have, nevertheless, been lacking in national Democratic presidential primary and general election discourse and in general governance for a few decades now.
So, I have decided to have a bit of hubris by acting as a filter for some of my conservative, moderate and liberal friends offline who are typically tired of me talking politics, don't give a shit, or occasionally give me a polite nod pretending to listen. When they do talk, they all tend to say some very general things that may be of use to you.
more below the fold
1) Nature don't like vacuums.
Or, to put another, define or be defined. I give you Kerry, the swiftboated, and Gore, the fibber, as Exhibits A and B. Define yourself in the positive before the other guy or gal does, AND define your opponent in the negative before the other guy or gal does. That doesn't mean I have to agree with you. It means definition is a strategy. Definition allows one to set forth what one's character is or is not. It's not what your personality really is that matters- it's how the narrative defines your personality. This is how a lose can be a win, by the way.
2) We voters maybe dumb, but we ain't that dumb.
We eventually catch on. After being hoodwink with this last past President, you need to realize that saying all the right things is no longer enough. Treat us like we are the women from Sex and the City. We have seen and done it all. We have heard and seen it all. That doesn't mean you can't still romance us. But come with your A game. Not your B game. By game, I mean say something, anything that will say to us, it's not a game. We will no longer give the milk for free.
3) "Kumbaya" is nice, but "kick your ass" is what we like for entertainment
We are fond of saying "why can't we all just get along?" Don't believe us. We are saying what we would like in a perfect world, not in the world we know we really inhabit. We want our leaders to reflect this. John Wayne, The Terminator, Clint Eastwood, Borat, you name it. That's how we view leadership. It maybe wrong. It don't matter. That's what we are.
4) As a corrolary- when the Republicans attack- not if, but when- FIGHT.
I don't mean fight as in a Kerryesque "I think Bush should call off his attack dogs." I mean fight like you are on a street corner, and your life depends on it. Fight like winning is all you know how to do. If you got to cheat, do it with a smile, but fight. This comment by the way has been the only thing that links my GOP, moderate, liberal, and socialist friends (yes, I know even a socialist in this day and age).
Don't fight nice. Don't worry whether you are 'better' than the other guy. We don't want you to be better in that sense. We want you to lead to better ideas, but your tactics must be about winning.
5) You don't need to divide us to do this. You also don't need to tell us what you think we want to hear.
The lesson of 2006 was not only about economic populism, or netroots, or the Democrats. The lesson was also one about strategy. It was also about how you can be conservative, moderate or liberal as a Democrat, and across the board win- but to do so, you got to come to the table with clean hands. Don't say you are a Democrats and separate or divide us. Unite us through a clear vision. I hate to do this- but ask us if it's morning in America, and tell us, if you don't think it is, how we are going to get there. I think they call that transformative politics. I call it the vision thing.
6) Bush ain't running.
Use him as much as you want to tar and feather the others, and link them to him. But, ultimately don't forget, Bush ain't running.
7) Make us laugh.
Seriously. You want to win my heart over, not just my mind. Let me know that you are human. Gore didn't do this until the end. If he started off where he ended, he would have been President today because it never would have been a close call.
8) Don't forget for one moment that you work for us.
Your supporters will make you think you can walk on water. You can't. Besides, we don't want messiahs. We want leadership. But leadership that remembers that you work for us.
9) Policies are more than just wonkery, they are people.
Bill Clinton show us the people. You can learn a lot from Bill Clinton.
10) My final suggestion: Take all advice with a grain of salt.
Seriously, there is no divine path to the White House. None of us knows shit about everything, but we each maybe able to give you a bit of advice here and there. If you get some advisor saying you must listen to him or her to win, dump 'em. No one is that infalliable.
I hope this advice wll be taken with about as much weight as number 10 suggests. G'day.