I usually try to stay away from politics in public settings. That hasn’t always been the case.
In my less mature years I used politics as a way to stir up lively debate. Luckily the years have made me slightly wiser. The thrill of seeing people get red and huffy trying to defend an indefensible opinion faded along with my penchant for ghastly Hawaiian shirts.
But, that doesn’t mean I don’t care deeply about what is happening to this country. Deficits, debt, bad monetary policy, even worse foreign policy have dragged this country into a perilous quagmire. Somehow, it needs to stop.
Fortunately there is a candidate running on the Republican ticket for President in 2012 who wishes to make the necessary changes. Unfortunately that same candidate also tends to ramble, go off on rants, and those in the media think he sounds like a “crazy uncle”.
But there are a few simple changes he can make that will give him the edge he needs in 2012.
If you are listening Congressman Paul, and I desperately hope that you are (or someone in your campaign), please take these ideas into consideration and implement them right away in all your future debates and interviews:
- State your principles first – You have a wonderful message of freedom and individual responsibility, but you tend to stray away from that when you first answer a question. When you were asked about the flooding and the government’s role, your first sentence should be your belief that it’s wrong for the FEDERAL government to take money from some people to pay for flooding.
- Be concise in your examples – After you state your overall principles, then you can use an example. But make sure your examples always tie back to principles. That’s how you stay on message. In this case you would say that the state’s should have all the freedom in the world to deal with this disaster, BUT the federal government has no right. You instead talk about flood insurance with vague references to FEMA and beaches. It’s confusing.
- Constantly remind people of your credibility and consistency – These are beliefs and principles that you have always held and practiced. You need to remind the people of this at all times.
- Use a story model in answering questions – The story model is time tested, effective, and you don’t use it:
- First, tell them what the current situation is (“Such and Such is a problem [based in one of your principles]“)
- Then what it’s consequences are (“This is why Such and Such is an issue”)
- Then the solution (“Instead of Such and Such, we should do This and That!”)
- Then outline the major reason why we don’t or wouldn’t (“We don’t do This and That because of our beliefs/actions/current principles/etc.”)
- And finally paint a picture of a better outcome (“Imagine how much better This and That would make our lives” or “If we are able to do This and That, this is what will happen, isn’t that much better than Such and Such?”)
Practice this story structure often, it will turn out to be Godsend. For example, when someone asks about your stance on Defense you would give them a short and sweet retort:
“I’m all for defense but our current policy is not about defense, it’s about militarism and there’s a dangerous difference. Our policy of Militarism drains our resources, creates enemies, and loses us respect from our allies. My stance is simple, close foreign military bases, pull our troops out of the 150 countries we are occupying, and let’s use the TRILLIONS of dollars we save doing those things to pay down the debt. This would actually make America much safer because we can focus the bulk of our defense resources on the DEFENSE of our country, and not on militarism around the world. I think that’s what the American public really wants, to be safe from those who want to hurt us, not to spend all our money trying to tell other countries how to live and operate.”
Short and simple, to the point. All you need to remember is the structure itself and your core principles, all your answers flow from that. The key is repeating your principles and staying on message. If you want to win, you have to do this.
There are many more hints, tips, and ideas I could give. I’m offering my help if you desire.
But please read the list, at the very least, and practice some answers. You will fare much better in the primaries if you do.
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