I’ll admit: I honestly don’t have a horse in the race this time around. I have a list with constantly shifting components, but there’s not a single candidate this Primary season about whom I am really excited. I’d like to be — and maybe it’s just because I’ve been taking so much time off from political writing and ranting — but this time around, I just don’t like the field.
So, like many, I look for information. I check the candidate websites, I scan the news, but even more importantly, I look to see what other Conservatives are saying about them. And every year, I notice the same thing (this year being no exception): a whole lot of people have chosen a candidate, and are doing what they can to talk him (or her) up, but with next to no meat, be it in blog form or in the comments section. And often what there is simply lacks focus.
Now the old salts — the guys (and ladies) who have been doing this for a while — tend to represent their candidate pretty well, where they’ve picked one. I’ve actually noticed, though, that a lot of those to whom I often look are just as nonplussed by this year’s lineup as I have been.
So you want to get people to notice your candidate. And not just notice, but maybe even convince them to vote for your guy. First, there are a couple of things you should know:
1. If you’re on a political website, you’re going to deal with a lot of people who know politics. Just because they aren’t in office or working for a candidate doesn’t mean they haven’t spent a LOT of time studying history, political strategy, and issues. Most of the people who’ve been around RS more than a year or two, have been doing exactly that.
2. Red Meat talks. Bulls__t walks. If somebody has already chosen a candidate, the chances that you’re going to change his or her mind are slim to none. The people you want to convince are those who haven’t chosen a candidate, but don’t assume it’s because they’re ignorant of the facts. Chances are, in this Primary season, if somebody is undecided, it’s precisely because they have been paying attention.
And finally, as a public service, here are a few things I would LOVE to finish out the Primary Season never having heard again. They’re split into two primary categories: Givens and Fluff.
“He’s better than Obama.” – This is true for all(!) of ’em.
“He can beat Obama.” – The same could be — and has been — said about pretty much every candidate in the Republican field. Unless you have new information, let’s just take it for granted.
Of course, generally, when somebody says this of their candidate, the implied meaning is that it is true only of their candidate. Which brings us directly to…
Fluff falls into several types. Most of it is little more than masturbation – the kind of thing you find all over unofficial candidate fan sites, designed to make other Candidate X supporters feel good. There are also the Epic Generalities ((s)he is the ONLY ONE who…), like this one:
“He’s the only one that CAN beat Obama!” There’s simply no way this claim can be reasonably made. You can’t possibly know that. If you’re going to say it, back it up and prepare to argue at length with somebody who has said the same thing about their own guy.
“He is the ONE” (variously stated as ‘the Name Above All Names‘) – Seriously, without further comment, this statement not only borders on blasphemous, but just reads downright silly. Most of us remember with clarity the last candidate about whom that was said; and we didn’t vote for HIM, either. Again, it may be nice for the Candidate2012 fan forum, but not out in public.
“The ONLY TrueConservative(tm).” Bull. If it were true, all the Conservatives would already be convinced. Get it in your head that Conservatism, while having standard core principles, is varied in execution.
How about the rest of the gallery? What are you sick of hearing when it comes to candidate pimping?
As for the Primaries, if you’re excited about a candidate, that’s awesome. And I’m not just saying that. Help the rest of us get excited too. Take this post in the spirit in which it was intended, and remember, you’re not selling us a car, but trying to get us on board with the policy, experience, and overall quality of a candidate for President.