Helping Conservative Candidates Gain a Competitive Edge

This video is a word about that campaign message. As in your message, your slogan, your rationale, or whatever you want to call it.

Great technology, fancy micro-targeting and targeted internet ads are not going to save a campaign with a meaningless or incoherent message. Before going crazy with all the bells and whistles available in the political marketplace, make sure your message is clear, compelling, memorable and worth repeating.

Watch this brief video to learn how to construct a compelling message. It’s easier said than done which is why so few candidates do it well.

Stay tuned for more on the art of being a good candidate for public office:

Click here for past videos on the art of being a good candidate.


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For those who may be running not in 2016, but in 2015. The lessons of election year 2014, what we learned, and what it portends.

If you’ve kept a copy of the 2014 playbook, put it on the shelf and let it draw dust. Very little of it will apply to the 2015 election year and only the stupid will use it.


The mistake that many candidates and their consultants make is they assume the next election will play out just like the last election. It won’t. It never does.

Watch this brief Campaign tip video for more insight and time honored tasks that must be performed in preparation for a 2015 race, tasks that are essential in any election.

Stay tuned for more on the art of being a good candidate for public office.


Subscribe to My YouTube Channel for Campaign Tips & Candidate Training Instructional Videos.

Get Your Free Copy of My Book: The 10 Worst Mistakes That Candidates Make. Enter email below and it will be sent to your mailbox.



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Guest column by Steven Moore, Managing Director of Campaign Grid, one of the nation’s leading on-line advertising companies.

Guest Column by Steven Moore, Managing Director of Campaign Grid

This past fall I called a client to let him know that his principal opponent had just made a heavy investment in on-line advertising. “That’s a waste of money,” my client responded, despite my efforts to convince him otherwise. He lost by a handful of votes.

On-line advertising is here to stay, and those who ignore it are destined for the loser’s circle. Today a guest column by Steven Moore, Managing Director of Campaign Grid, one of the nation’s leading on-line advertising companies. Steve and his partner Jordan Lieberman are some of the brightest people I know, and their company is breaking new ground every day.

Six Reasons to Start Using Digital Advertising on Your Next Campaign

By Steven Moore, Managing Director, CampaignGrid

The campaign world is going digital, because voters are increasingly consuming information digitally. You don’t want to be left behind. Here are six reasons to add a digital arrow to your campaign quiver.

1) A majority of voters no longer watch broadcast TV.

A February 2014 survey sponsored by Google and conducted jointly by Public Opinion Strategies and Global Strategy Group showed that less than half of voters say broadcast TV is their primary means of consuming video. Other than live sports, 30% of voters said they did not watch live TV in the preceding week.

If you are spending all your money on broadcast TV and nothing on digital, you are not communicating with a significant portion of the electorate.

2) Those who vote most are online.

Older Americans are among the most likely to vote, and in this last election, seniors were among the fastest growing demographic online.

A recent Pew Internet poll showed that 59% of Americans over the age of 65 currently use the Internet. That number is even higher among demographics more likely to vote. Nearly 80% of American seniors with household incomes of more than $30,000 annually are online. Among college educated seniors, that number is 87%.

What are seniors doing online? Social networking is among the most popular pastimes for Internet surfing seniors. Nearly half of seniors who use the Internet report using social networking sites.

Make sure you are in their newsfeed with your candidate’s message.

3) Digital advertising is highly targetable.

You can now target online any demographic you are targeting with conventional forms of voter contact.

If your polling shows that independent Hispanic women between the ages of 45 and 65 who voted in four of the last four general elections are most receptive to your candidate’s message, we can reach that group online.

Have you ever gone to, looked at a pair of hiking boots then noticed that pair of hiking boots following you around the Internet no matter which website you happened to go to? You can target your voters in exactly the same fashion.

However, make sure that your digital ad vendor is using data-driven advertising. If your vendor does not have data backing up the buy, then you are doing the digital equivalent of sending out a piece of mail to everyone who has a mailbox.

Or worse, your vendor may be selling you “remnant advertising.” Scroll down to the bottom of your local newspaper’s website. See the ad on the bottom of the page? That is not where you want your ad dollars going.

If your vendor is selling you advertising cheap, there is a reason.

4) Digital advertising complements and amplifies conventional forms of voter outreach.

CampaignGrid research shows that adding online ads to mail is a powerful combination. In the 2014 Arkansas primary, we conducted an experiment. We divided voters into three groups for a GOTV effort – a control group with which we did not communicate, a group that received mail only and a group that received mail and CampaignGrid’s data driven online ads. The message was “What if your friends in Arkansas knew you did not vote in the May 20 election?”

The mail-only group had an 8% lift in turnout over the control group, while the mail + online group showed a 14% increase in turnout.

The multi-channel amplification effect is apparent within digital advertising as well. An aggregation of analyses for several thousand Audience Partners campaigns shows the interaction rate for display and mobile is 126% that of display alone. The interaction rate for display, mobile and video combined is 281% that of display only.

Don’t stop mail. Start digital.

5) Digital advertising is very affordable.

You can have a big impact for not a lot of money. For the price of an average piece of mail, you can show a voter a digital ad about 36 times. Make no mistake, a piece of mail is a very rich impression, but it is only one impression, and you don’t know if the person who picked it up from the mailbox is the voter, her husband or her teenage son.

CampaignGrid allows you to target voters, individually on their desktops, tablets or mobile devices. And if a voter sees your candidate’s ad 36 times over the course of a week, that is going to get their attention.

The 2015 cycle is going to see a lot of low-budget municipal elections. A perfect time to see just how cost-effective digital advertising can be.

6) Digital advertising is easy.

While seniors are rapidly joining the online community, among the 41% who are not yet online, three quarters said they felt they would need assistance from someone else in getting online.

Coincidentally, this sentiment mirrors CampaignGrid’s experience among political consultants.

The good news for campaign professionals not currently online, CampaignGrid has made it very easy to learn how to target voters on the Internet.

CampaignGrid Direct is a self-serve platform that allows even the smallest campaigns to target voters with the same precision as a multi-million dollar super PAC.

Go to the site. Check it out. With CampaignGrid Direct, incorporating online ads into your next campaign is slightly more complex than buying something on Amazon.

Steven Moore is Managing Director at CampaignGrid, and has been a user of their services since 2007. In addition to serving for 7 1/2 years as chief of staff to a Member of House Leadership, Moore has fought the resurgence of communism in Eastern Europe in the nineties, debated the finer (and more blunt) points of US foreign policy with Islamic extremists in Indonesia and, in Iraq, adapted public opinion research techniques for use in free fire zones. He can be reached via email or at 202.544.5471.

At the bottom of this post are links to several articles on why some won, some lost, plus first class behind-the-scenes reporting from journalists allowed inside campaigns. They are well done, well written, entertaining, and an accurate picture of the ugly side of politics.

In this post I write about what has largely been ignored.

Two Seminal Events behind the Rout in the 2014 Midterm Elections


Harry Reid had sown the seeds for a Democratic disaster a long time ago when he chose to make the Democratic Senate a do nothing Senate.

Harry Reid’s Democratic Senate, a do nothing Senate.

The seeds of the Democratic disaster were sewn by Harry Reid a long time ago when he chose to make the Democratic Senate a do nothing Senate.

The Senate went three years without passing a budget. There were no votes to fix, mend or fine-tune Obamacare despite the disastrous rollout. The House sent the Senate 340 bills, including several passed with bi-partisan support. Reid stubbornly sat on them. There was no energy bill. Not even a feeble attempt to fix the tax code. No votes on the Keystone pipeline. Nothing to jolt an economy that isn’t working for a lot of the 99%. (Obama can cite all the stats he wants. But if Americans don’t feel a ‘recovering’ economy, good stats are irrelevant.) Too much of the floor debate time was spent haranguing about the Koch brothers instead of conducting the nation’s business.

Thus, when Democrats running in red states desperately needed proof that they had deviated and differed from the unpopular policies of an unpopular President they had none. Nearly every incumbent Democrat had to defend voting with the President 97%+ of the time because Reid never gave them the opportunity to separate themselves from the Administration.

Which brings up the second seminal event of the season. The President uttered a profoundly stupid comment in a Chicago speech in early October, and his one line nationalized the election. Although he claimed to have been taken out of context, the press reported Obama’s words as “Make no mistake. My Policies are on the ballot.”

Obama: I'm not on the ballot this Fall. But make no mistake about it, my policies are.

That line was in the ads of Republican candidates within 24 hours. What Obama said crystallized the choice facing the nation. The breeze that grew to a gale began the minute those words left the President’s mouth.

Article: What comes of the opportunity the GOP has been given is now up to the GOP.

Next week. Why framing the debate will always be more important than those fancy GOTV toys.


In the meantime, below links to some of the best articles about the election, the hopeless challenge faced by Democrats, the limits of technology, and a few other brilliant pieces of first class journalism. If you are a political junkie grab a coffee, click the links and enjoy the next hour.

Yup, It Was a Wave
Battle for the Senate: How the GOP did it
How the Democrats Lost the Senate
Why the Democrats Lost
Chastened Republicans Beat Democrats at Their Own Ground Game
For Midterms, Betting on Feet and Good Apps
Tech tally: What campaigns learned in 2014
G.O.P. Ads Chase Voters at Home and on the Go
Democrats Learn Tough Tech Lesson
What Happened to that Democratic Turnout Machine
Teachers Unions Flunked Their Midterms
Inside Mitch McConnell’s War
The Colorado GOP Mailed It In-But Won
How Larry Hogan won in Maryland
Wendy Davis Lost Badly. Here’s How it Happened


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What the Hell Do We Do Now?

John Boehner speaker of the house US Congress Mitch McConnell US Senate Minority Leadere


On Monday morning, October 27 The Wall Street Journal had a headline story, “GOP Targets More House Seats.” Judging from the money moving around it has become apparent the GOP is investing in democratically held seats. Democrats are pulling out of challenger races and using their resources to protect vulnerable incumbents.

At this time of year, if you really want to know what the polls are saying, follow the money. The only question that remains is whether the much ballyhooed advance in the GOP ground operation will match the better ground operation Democrats had in 2012. (“Republicans, outflanked by a superior Democratic turnout operation in the past two presidential elections, have been spending tens of millions of dollars to improve data collection to achieve a rough parity.” NYT 10-26-14.)

What the GOP does with its expected majority in the House and Senate will determine who is elected President in 2016.

The GOP, having concentrated its efforts the last six years on blocking the Obama agenda, needs to prove it can be a governing party. It will need to put a few of its own ideas on the table, and be prepared to defend its policy initiatives. What’s the alternative? Remain little more than an obstructionist Congress–which will become the rallying cry of whoever the Democrats nominate in 2016.

Everybody knows the immigration system is broken. A GOP immigration bill needs to be more than building a fence at the border.

The tax code is an embarrassment to the Republic. Companies are moving overseas, and sitting on trillions in overseas banks accounts that are not being invested in the U.S. because of a punitive tax code. The Tax Code is seven times longer than the Bible and harder to understand than the Old Testament.

Health care reform needs to be more than repealing Obamacare. Certain provisions of it are very popular. The GOP can and should pass a bill that has the reforms their candidates have promised: Giving patients the options to buy health insurance policies they actually like; Giving patients more say in their choices of doctors and hospitals; Allowing consumers to buy policies from other states; Expanding tax protected health savings accounts; Tort reform.

Practically every GOP candidate this year talked about the regulatory nightmare of the Obama years. Devise something that makes sense of the regulatory climate in Washington — a simpler, more transparent process that small business owners can understand and live with.

And if the GOP really wants to be ambitious, it can tackle entitlements and the trillions in deficits that have been tossed onto the backs of young Americans. It isn’t that hard: Index the retirement age to the increase in longevity; Encourage older Americans, many who will remain healthy into their 80’s, to remain in the workforce.

And get real about Medicare. The boomers are retiring at the rate of 10,000 a day. Many will run out of money before they run out of life. Unless the nation provides greater incentives for boomers to help pay for the health care they will need as they approach their final years, the Medicare system as it is currently financed will go belly up.

And Obama? Let him veto every bill sent him by the Congress. Worry not about Democrats that vote against it. Most will. What matters is that the GOP will be the party trying to solve a few problems – and acting like a party that can govern.

Disagree? Weigh in. Think there are other things the GOP should do? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section.


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Politics is a game of expectations.

Come from behind and win a race you are expected to lose and you’ll be called a genius.

Lose a close race you are expected to win and you’ll be called something else.

Politics is a game of expectations.This past week, both parties have been playing expectations games. Republicans (named and unnamed) are leaking news of good polls, money raised, and spreading the scent of a coming landslide to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and through opinion columns. (This is designed to pry money from beltway and K-Street bigwigs. They fear offending Harry Reid if they give to Republicans. They also fear being on the wrong side if Republicans win.)

Some unnamed Democrats echo the Republican leakers. (This is done to scare unions and democratic funders and black leaders into get-out-the-vote efforts and more money for last minute media buys.)

What is the truth? Obama is a drag on Democrats. Harry Reid and his party are paying a price for a do-nothing Senate. The Republicans still have no message other than ‘we hate Obama too.’ We have the makings of a low turnout election. If the ‘wave’ crests at just the right time, Republicans will win more seats than expected, and declare they have a mandate to oppose Obama. (They have not asked for a mandate to do anything else.) If the wave crests too early, Democrats may do better than expected and they will declare victory even if they lose the Senate.

Another Truth. At this point two years ago, the ruling consultant class, and the Republican smart boys were saying (and also honestly believed) that Romney would win. We know how that turned out.

A Final Truth: Play the expectations game at your own peril. Those who play it are often forced to wear egg on their face. Usually those in the know about the inner workings of a campaign don’t talk. Smart campaign operatives are too smart to believe the spin they see in newspapers. Smart candidates use their ink, tv, radio time to drive home the contrast with their opponent rather than spinning polls. It’s never over until it’s over and if you take your foot off the pedal because of what you see the spin doctors say you deserve to lose.

Campaign & Communication Tips:

How to Handle Sticky Issues on the Campaign Trail & Staying Focused on Issues That Help You Get Votes

Principles Are Not Policy Prescriptions.

How to Win An Election With the Right Campaign Strategy


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How to Handle Sticky Issues on the Campaign Trail & Staying Focused on Issues That Help You Get Votes.

Kay Hagan, Thom Tills

This is the time of the season for debates, contrasting in stark terms the differences between yourself and your opponent, and framing the election choice on your terms.

You don’t win when you spend more time playing defense than offense.

(I tried an experiment on Sunday morning with a couple prominent college football conferences. Want to know who won before you look at the score? Look at the possession time of the two teams. The ones who win are those that spend more time playing offense.)

It’s not what you are saying; it’s what you are talking about. My friend Bill Pascoe coined this one. It is his way of saying that if you do not steer the election agenda to issues that get you votes, you’ll lose no matter what you say. (That’s called offense). Likewise, in a debate a Republican who spends all his/her time discussing the minimum wage, the environment, who will spend more on education or health care will lose no matter how articulate and cogent their answers.

In this post I offer a few examples of how I have advised clients to handle some sticky issues… the war on women… minimum wage… Obamacare… education spending (Safe to assume these clients are center right in their positions). In addition, in this post there are some tactics you can use to keep debates and interviews focused on issues that help get you votes rather than lose them.


The Dangerous Issues for Republicans this year and some time-tested responses that have worked:

The War on Women. “The real war on women has been waged by Obama’s economic policies. Single women, mothers with children, and minorities have suffered more in this administration than any other portion of the workforce. There is more income inequality today than 10 years ago. My program will help all Americans climb the economic ladder, help wage earners pay for their child’s education and save money for retirement.”

The Minimum Wage. “All working Americans deserve a raise. The way to do that is grow our economy, not issue a government mandate that will cause 20% of our minimum wage workforce to lose their job.”

Obamacare. “Obamacare has caused skyrocketing insurance rates, is forcing layoffs, making it illegal for Americans to buy insurance policies that fit their needs, and forcing people to give up the doctors they like and want. My plan would give Americans more choices, empower them to buy policies that fit their individual needs and allow patients to keep the doctors they want.”

Education Spending. “We spend more on education today than at any point in American history. And judging by dropout rates and test scores we get less for it than most countries in the industrialized world. Charter and private schools are producing better educated children for less money than public schools. We need to look at what they are doing right, how they do it and learn from them so that all children have a better chance at the American dream.”


Staying focused on Issues in Debates and Interviews:

Most fatal mistakes that sink otherwise competitive campaigns happen in October because of words that come out of a candidate’s mouth in a debate, radio or television interview. Usually it is because the candidate is unprepared for the question, or answers it in a way that sounds well….stupid.

David Perdue, Michelle Nunn

Rule one: Practice and Prepare. Don’t even think of winging it. You’ll feel more confident if you are prepared. You’ll perform better if you are prepared. And if the staff preparing you for your debate or interview is on their toes, you will have already practiced the answers to the most difficult questions so that you are not left flat-footed in front of a TV camera.

Rule Two: Don’t go into any debate or interview without knowing the rules of engagement. Will there be an opening and/or closing statement? How long? Will there be a live audience? Who decides who the audience members will be? Will cameras be on you when your opponent is talking? (If so, always wear a smile) Will all the questions come from a moderator or will audience members be allowed to ask questions? How long will you have to answer questions? Will you have a chance to rebut what your opponent says? Will your opponent have a chance to rebut your rebut? Are candidates allowed to ask questions of each other? If you don’t know the rules, it is impossible to properly prepare for the game.

Rule Three: Look the part. Wear makeup when doing TV. Do not wear expensive jewelry, watches or gaudy ties.

Rule Four: Develop a debate/interview strategy. Know before the interview/debate what key points you are going to make…i.e. what you want the press to say in their stories the next day…what you want your audience to remember about you. You should have those talking points burned into your brain cells before the debate/interview and use every question and every answer possible to circle back to your talking points. Yes, it looks rude when you refuse to answer a direct question. But there is no rule that requires that you spend 90 seconds to two minutes answering the question you are asked.

Rule 5: Remember that how you look is sometimes more important than what you say. Voters are also judging your body language and taking a measure of your personality. While they like candidates with convictions, they are usually repulsed by those who snarl or hurl insults or act like they just sucked on a lemon. Smile during the debate and act like you are having fun, for while it is important that you win your points, it is equally important that you look like a likable human being. Voters expect reporters to dig and ask difficult questions and sometimes be combative in the way they do it. Voters expect their candidates to be steady, calm and composed, even in the face of adversity.


Other Posts You Might Find Useful:

Wrong Message @ The Wrong Time + Wrong Messenger = Flop

How to Run for Public Office Tip- Be Your Authentic Self

How to Run for Public Office Tip- Know Your Opponent

VIDEO: Developing a Political Campaign Budget & Managing Your Political Fundraising Money

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Chairman Reince Priebus is to be commended but principles are not policy prescriptions. And, he’s the wrong person to deliver this message.

GOP Chairman, Priebus, rolls out 11 "Principles for American Renewal"

GOP Chairman, Reince Priebus, rolls out 11 “Principles for American Renewal”

Last week Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus rolled out 11 GOP “Principles for American Renewal.” They included, among other profound and provocative items, ‘honoring’ our constitution and ‘growing our economy.’

The Chairman is to be commended for trying to stand for something. He said more about the GOP agenda in 20 minutes than the House and Senate GOP leadership have said in the last 20 months. But principles are a statement of strongly held beliefs and convictions. They are not policy prescriptions.

Thus the address was a little noticed flop…the wrong message at the wrong time from the wrong messenger.

Problem 1. This should have been done last year. According to Karl Rove, the material for the speech was derived from ‘focus groups’ conducted over the summer. Really? You need focus groups to decide what your principles are?

Problem 2. Principles are not Policy. At this stage in the cycle, the GOP should be contrasting how its POLICIES are a better deal for the voters because they put more money in the pockets of Americans, afford more freedom to buy inexpensive health care, allow parents to send their kids to decent schools and keep terrorists off of American soil.

Problem 3. A party leader is the wrong person to be delivering this message. His name is not on the ballot. He is not accountable to voters. Candidates are, and voters need to be hearing from the candidates or the House and Senate GOP leadership at this point.

Problem 4. Few would disagree with any of the 11 principles. Hell, Obama would agree with them. If you are afraid to say anything provocative, controversial or edgy, voters will not notice you. I am surprised the GOP left out #12…better weather…everybody wants that too…and the focus groups really liked the sound of it.

It may well be that the GOP will pick up a dozen house seats and take control of the Senate. If so, it will not be because the GOP won the election. Rather, it will be because Obama and Washington democrats lost it. (They have made more than their share of miscues as well).
What then? The GOP wins with no mandate to do anything because the GOP never asked voters for a mandate to do anything…except oppose Obama.

The United States faces some very difficult challenges. Our military is rusting. Companies are moving overseas. Real wages are falling. Fewer Americans are working today than in 1980. Our borders are a porous mess. The tax code has more holes than a train load of swiss cheese. Americans no longer have their own choice of doctors or health insurance that works for them. We are spending a fortune on schools that can’t teach children to read and write. We have 80 million baby boomers in or on their way to retirement and half of them will run out of money before they run out of life.

Thirty three days before the election, the GOP is offering platitudinous principles. The Democratic Party is waging war against a make-believe war on women. No wonder voters are tired of the circus. It’s not even entertaining any more.

There is a way out of the mess. If history is any guide, somebody will emerge that is not yet a household name that will move, touch and inspire a great nation to rise above the malaise and reclaim its place as the most powerful and advanced civilization on earth. He or she will speak with candor about the sacrifices required, and summon the patriots to come together for the common good. It has been two generations since we had a leader capable of lifting a nation off its knees and restoring the military and economic might we once knew. We are about due for another. It can’t happen soon enough.


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Senate Republicans have announced their ‘First 100 days’ agenda should they become the majority party.

Senate Republicans have announced their ‘First 100 days’ agenda.

Senate Republicans have announced their ‘First 100 days’ agenda.


They will approve the Keystone pipeline, stop environmental regulations, give the President ‘fast track’ trade authority, and repeal the medical device tax.

Whoever came up with this could not sell sex in a brothel. It is boring, meaningless to most, and devoid of emotional appeal. Worse, it looks like (and probably is) the wish list of K Street lobbyists.

Not a word about the tax code, fixing Obamacare, energy prices, immigration, terrorism, entitlements, putting people back to work or helping Americans find a better paying job. Not even a hint of emotional appeal.

How to inject emotional punch into your platform and rhetoric?

1. When you offer an agenda use language voters can understand. Express your ideas in a way that allows voters to immediately grasp how your agenda would improve their lives.

2. Speak to hearts before you speak to heads. We are inundated with messages every day. The ones that get our attention are those that trigger one of the seven human emotions…anger, sadness, happiness, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt.

3. More important than the how, and even the what, is the why. The why lets voters know you are in touch with their pain, that you share their values, understand the daily challenges they face and are worth listening to.

If anyone can explain how the GOP’s ‘100 day plan’ does any of the above, please do tell in the comment section.

(Article: GOP Senate’s First 100 Days by Alexander Bolton.

If you are a candidate for federal office, or helping one who is, don’t wait on the GOP to offer a compelling agenda. They don’t know how. Write your own.

What will you do to replace Obamacare with something that allows Americans to keep the doctors they’ve lost, and buy affordable health insurance policies that fits their individual needs? What will you do to create competition that will force insurance companies to cut their prices, and empower Americans to make their own choices instead of having health insurance plans dictated to them? Ideas here.

What will you do to fix a tax code that penalizes work, savings and investment, and gives American companies an incentive to create jobs here instead of overseas? Ideas here.

How will you stop the invasion of the Southern border, fix a broken immigration system and do something that provides security, speed and clarity to the rules about who gets to come in, work, go to college and when they have to leave? Some ideas.

What will you do to foster more energy exploration, drive down the cost of gas, electricity, propane and fuel oil so that Americans can keep more of what they earn? Some ideas.

What is your plan to preserve and protect Social Security and Medicare for the next generation, beef up a depleted military, care for veterans, fix bridges and roads? Some ideas.

Before you publish your platform, scrub the rhetoric and make sure it addresses at least one (or more) of the following…how your policies and ideas will improve the lives of your constituents, allow them to get a better and higher paying job, put their kids through college, save on health care costs, put money away for a secure retirement, buy a better house or car, and sleep at night absent fear that a terrorist cell will blow up their neighborhood.

GOP Senate Leadership 'First 100 Days' Agenda

GOP Senate Leadership ‘First 100 Days’ Agenda

When you are done, send it to the GOP Senate leadership. If you follow my rules, it will be better than anything they have come up with. Even better, send it to me at If it is really good, I’ll share your work so our subscribers can see something with sex appeal instead of the boring blah blah blah blather coming out of Washington.

Other posts you might enjoy:

A GOP Message Gone Missing

Congrats GOP Establishment. Now What?

VIDEO: Your Unique Talent To Change the Course of Human Destiny

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You Can Benefit From Some of the Lessons Learned from His Recent and Considerable Stumbles

Humiliation of Governor Andrew Cuomo

An Underfunded College Professor, Zephyr Teachout, Humiliated Andrew Cuomo in Democratic Primary

This post is about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Even if you don’t live in New York, you can benefit from some of the lessons learned from his recent and considerable stumbles.

Cuomo just received 62% of the vote in the Democratic primary; a smaller percentage than he received in the general election four years ago. He lost half the counties in New York. His opponent was an unknown college professor, a woman who until five years ago lived in Vermont. Her name is Zephyr Teachout and she spent about three cents in her campaign.

How and why did the underfunded, unknown, college professor humiliate a Cuomo?

Cuomo looked like a chickenshit, a hypocrite, and acted like a sexist thug. While touting his support of the ‘Women’s Equality Act,’ he spared no penny on lawyers who twice tried to knock his female opponent off the ballot. He refused to debate her, calling debates a ‘disservice to democracy,’ and refused to acknowledge her at a New York City parade where both appeared a few days before the primary. His boorish behavior cost him dearly with female voters.

There is a lesson in this, for all, in how you comport yourself in a campaign. You will look like a chicken if you refuse to debate. And even if you despise your opponent, voters expect you to be civil, especially if you are a man running against a woman. Cuomo treated his opponent in the same manner he treated his wife in their oh-so-messy divorce in 2003, when he used his agents to make sure the details of her adulterous relationship with another man were plastered on the front pages of New York tabloids.

Cuomo hid under his desk during the month before the primary. Voters expect candidates to campaign, to answer questions, face the media, hold forums and well, act like a candidate. Cuomo blew off the media, refused to engage the public, and conducted what some would call a ‘rose garden strategy.’ That may work when times are great, but it won’t work when half of the electorate thinks the state is headed in the wrong direction. Liz Benjamin, a well read blogger in New York, daily reports the Governor’s schedule. For most of the month of August and September it was the same…’Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.’

Cuomo ran against corruption four years ago, then acted corrupt. After he was elected Cuomo formed something called the Moreland Commission to investigate corruption, endowing it with the power to subpoena whatever records it wished, and vowing that the panel would have free reign and independence to ‘investigate any branch of government it saw fit—including the governor’s office.‘ A New York Times investigation this summer revealed that behind the scenes the Governor interfered with the Commission, told Commissioners to ‘walk back’ subpoenas it had issued to entities close to the Governor, including the Democratic party he controls, and an independent committee that spent more than $20 million in undisclosed donations on his behalf. One would think a man with Cuomo’s political skills would know better than to pull a stunt like this under the nose of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox News. Lesson to readers…don’t try to interfere with a prosecutor investigating corruption. If you do, don’t get caught. If you get caught you will pay a price.

The State of New York is reeling. Why do half the voters in New York think the state is headed in the wrong direction? It is. It has the second highest state and local tax burden in the nation, the highest property taxes, the highest energy costs and the worst business climate. More than three million people have left the state since the year 2000. Despite Cuomo’s $50 million dollar, taxpayer funded ad campaign touting New York’s economic progress, few believe it because it doesn’t square with the reality they know. Voters easily recognize bullshit when they see it. And they don’t fancy seeing it on their TV screens. Lesson here? When faced with the reality of tough economic times, acknowledge them and tell voters what you are doing to fix it. Don’t pretend that things are great when they suck.

Cuomo may win this fall if he chooses to learn from his humiliation. I would not count on it. The day after the primary he pronounced himself pleased. If he really believes that voters like him or his record, he is in trouble.

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