Republican candidates hurting selves
Gong, Gong, Gong! I don’t know about you, but watching the Republican primary season is making me feel like a judge on the “The Gong Show.”
I watched or listened to all three candidates after Tuesday night’s Illinois primary. I’m still crying.
If Mitt, Newt, and Rick had given those uninspiring speeches on Chuck Barris’ twisted 1970s amateur talent show, the celebrity panelists would have gang-gonged them in 30 seconds.
The speeches Romney, Santorum and Gingrich gave were the least inspiring of this trying campaign season. Each one was too long, lacking in vision and boring as hell. I think Santorum is still delivering his Gettysburg Address.
Hasn’t anyone on his staff ever heard the advice “less is more”? Don’t any of these guys realize that their rambling, dull speeches are carried live on the cable channels?
Win or lose, here’s a free idea for one of them to try after the Louisiana primary on Saturday.
First give a quick, sharp, inspiring, enthusiastic, Obama-bashing speech for the TV cameras. Use a teleprompter if you must or, if you want to look Reaganesque, write a few notes on some index cards.
Then, after three minutes, say “God bless America!” or “On to the White House!” and exit stage right.
Save the rehashes of your positions on healthcare or family values for your supporters in the room. Ditto for your sincere thanks to your loyal cousin Shirley and the assistant precinct captain of Peoria.
I have a more strategic suggestion for our three contestants before “The Republican Gong Show” gets to Tampa.
If they are truly serious about wanting to beat Obama in the fall, they’d better dump all their advisers now. They each need to find someone like a Michael Deaver or a Lyn Nofziger, the media geniuses who ran my father’s campaigns, and listen carefully.
The cold truth is that at this point there is only one professional campaign team in this never-ending primary and, like it or not, it’s Romney’s. The Santorum and Gingrich teams may be more conservative, but they are not well funded and they’re amateur league.
Newt says Mitt can’t beat Obama, but he can’t beat Romney or Santorum, and even Ron Paul beat him in Illinois. And Rick says Mitt will say whatever he needs to say to win. Welcome to hardball politics, Rick.
Let’s face it. There is no road for Santorum or Gingrich to the White House, not even a dirt road. That is unfortunate. But now the primary has turned into a “Stop Romney” campaign and that’s much more than unfortunate. It’s destructive. And it only helps Obama.
Here’s a suggestion for Newt and Rick if they insist on going one-on-one against Romney. Since primary loss after primary loss clearly isn’t working, how about a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors and the loser goes home?
Seriously, it’s time for Mitt to get some of his own ideas and not take them from Newt (energy) and from Rick (freedom). Without his own “big ideas” and own “vision thing,” he will lose. Trust me.
Most importantly, it’s time for Mitt to reach out to the conservatives. If he doesn’t, he won’t ever be president, either, and Obama will get four more years to continue his deconstruction of America.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution.” Visit his website at www.reagan.com, or e-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.