Pro/Con: Is the GOP starting their campaign too early?
Keith Kaczmarek and Tyler McGinty
September 21, 2011
Filed under Opinion
This election cycle, the Republicans need to start early and they need to start hard. They are facing an incumbent president with a historic pedigree and a spotless record for presidential behavior and a few wins like the death of Osama bin Laden and healthcare reform, but the thing really working against them is their own candidates.
The field of potential candidates for the Republican nomination is somewhere between “grim” and “pathetic.” Early front-runners are cash-poor, weighed down in scandal and missteps, or simply have the charisma of an animatronic character at Disneyland.
This means that they need to make all their mistakes now so that when the election comes, they won’t be remembered for the crazy things they said before, but for the soaring rhetoric that they can bring to the moment now.
Gov. Rick Perry needs time to live down his “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme” comment and the fact that he led a mass prayer meeting for the purpose of bringing rain to Texas only to have historic fires ravage his state (for better or worse, Biblical symbolism is noticed in conservative states).
He also needs time to keep pushing his “Texas Miracle” narrative of economic growth in Texas amidst the recession so that people can forget that it was debunked by the simple mention of the massive federal spending in that state.
Mitt Romney needs time to build a new narrative altogether. His new centrist platform doesn’t play well to his old followers and he needs time to find some people that weren’t paying attention to the old Romney and won’t be accusing the new Romney of being a flip-flopper.
Michele Bachmann simply needs time to adjust to the limelight. Her Tea-Party roots, adorable gaffs, strong to the point of delusional religious ideas, and lack of knowledge on key historical facts make her a prime vice-presidential candidate in the Sarah Palin model, and those qualities can be nicely glossed over when she joins forces with the presidential candidate.
She is also a more gifted speaker and debater than Sarah Palin, so given time these strengths will overcome any amateurish early moves and rhetorical over-reaches.
As for the rest of the candidates, they need their own various forms of seasoning. Ron Paul simply needs people to hear his full platform so that he can be neatly removed from the running altogether while the rest need to start taking some risks in order to get noticed for the VP slot.
For example, Jon Huntsman has become a maverick in his own party for the outrageous pro-science position of stating that he believes what 98 out of 100 climate scientists say about global warming and then also throwing his hat in with evolution, and it’s going to be that kind of move that actually builds some name-recognition and later secures the centrists that neither front-running candidate really has a lock on.
Early front-runners also allow for early failures, leaving room for a dark horse candidate to emerge on the field in the next few months before the first primary in February, someone who will look amazing when compared to the current offerings.
The election isn’t for over a year now and yet the Republican Party already had candidates vying to get their party’s nomination as early as this June. I can’t be the only one who thinks that the GOP is jumping the gun a little bit here.
I understand that campaigning against an incumbent is difficult, but I think that would make the GOP keep their campaign tight. With so much time spent campaigning we may get to know the candidates better, but the candidates have far more opportunities to make mistakes.
Michele Bachmann is the prime example of the perils of campaigning so early. She kicked off her campaign in Waterloo, Iowa claiming that John Wayne, the western star, was born there, which isn’t the case.
Not only was that incorrect, but Waterloo is where John Wayne Gacey, serial killer, had his first criminal conviction.
These little slip-ups might not be the thing that makes or breaks her campaign, but maybe if she spent a little more time fact checking before the announcement of her bid for the GOP nomination, she wouldn’t have made any mistakes. Americans can be fickle and if they forgive one slip-up, they might not forgive many more.
But Bachmann still has a long time to make similar mistakes.
I don’t think it will be too long before the candidates start running out of things to say, either.
Unless some brand new and incredibly important issue suddenly comes up, they still have over a year to say they’re going to stand for the same things over and over again.
They’ll have their poor speechwriters working overtime, coming up with new metaphors and more inventive ways to convince the American public to vote for them.
I don’t think I can stand another year of speeches about jobs and health care.
It makes me incredibly glad that the Democratic Party is most likely going to nominate Barack Obama again. I don’t need a year of speeches from both sides.
I’ll gladly listen to debates between the two nominees for president, but I don’t have the energy to keep up with a long battle for the GOP nomination.
I doubt it takes as long as they think to convince the average Republican to pick a candidate for their party.
All it takes is seeing where each candidate stands on the issues important to you and whether or not they carry your party’s ideals as far as you want them to.
They don’t need a long drawn out campaign to convince the Republicans to pick which Republican they want to vote for.
Furthermore, don’t these people have jobs to do?
Bachmann is a senator and the current front-runner, Rick Perry, is the governor of Texas. I wouldn’t put much faith in people that take time away from their jobs to look for another one, especially in the same field. If they’re willing to abandon their post for this so early on, how can I expect them to focus on their presidency?