Memo to Candidates Running for __(fill in the blank)__

  • Tuesday, September 24, 2013

 Well, folks, it’s about that time again in the political election cycle when candidates for statewide offices are starting to make their announcements about running for office. If you’re thinking about running for US Senate, Governor or the other statewide offices you know it’s only about nine months until the June ’14 primary and you need to do something soon.
Now we all know that campaigns cost big money these days and some would-be candidates maybe haven’t decided which special interest groups they are going to cozy up with to get their campaign money – so they don’t have a lot of cash right now to hire out-of-town consultants to write their announcement speech for them.
In my time I’ve heard more than my share of campaign announcement speeches, so in the spirit of trying to help out and hold down costs, I’ve prepared an all-purpose speech (adapted liberally from a draft that first appeared in the pages of the Harvard Political Review in the fall of 2012) that most any traditional South Carolina politician of either party can use to announce their run. So here goes:
My fellow citizens,
I humbly stand before you today to announce my candidacy for __(insert office)__. I run for this position not as a  __(insert your party)__ but as a South Carolinian and an American. I am deeply concerned about __(insert hot issue)__ and the impact it’s having on our state and nation. As all of you know, I have been __(pro or con)__ this and __(insert another hot issue)__ since day one. These are not issues we can stand to ignore, not when __(insert statistic)__ % of South Carolinians are suffering every day as a result.
Years ago, __(insert name of favorite dead patriot)__ and the rest of the founders of this great nation wrote “we the people” for a reason. Now, we the people must act; we cannot let the growing threat of __ (hot button bad guys, religion, etc.)__ be ignored. Forgive me but I feel very  __(insert emotion)__ about these critical issues.
This is why, here and now, I announce my candidacy for __(fill in the black)__. I pledge to you that I will __(insert action)__ every day I am in office. United we stand – and may God bless you the people of __(insert city)__and the people of South Carolina.
Now for most traditional politicians this speech will work pretty much any time for any office for either party. If you are a new candidate and really haven’t figured out what you believe yet but have a little money, you might want to hire a consultant to take a poll and tell you what issues and ideas you believe in to fill in the blanks.
But, if you don’t have much money and are “running a grassroots people’s campaign” (this works for either party too), you can pretty much just read the local newspaper or listen to talk radio and make up what you want to insert in the blanks.
But I must give you couple of words of warning. First, stay away from going too much in depth on any of these issues you mention in your speech.  Just work on a few snappy sound bites and throw in a quote or two, depending on your party, from either Reagan or Kennedy and you’ll be just fine.
Second, for God’s sake, don’t ever agree to any serious debates or even sitting down and talking to reporters. It’s all just a trick, they (whoever you don’t like) are just trying to trip you up and make you look bad. If you can avoid even taking questions from real voters, that would be good too.
So that’s about it. Stick to the script; make sure you know who you hate; and don’t put yourself in a situation where someone might ask you a question that will only make you look bad.
And now with all the money you saved by not hiring one of those slick campaign consultants to write your speech, you can take your __(insert spouse or significant other)__ on a nice vacation to “think deeply about the issues” before the campaign really heats up.
Phil Noble is a businessman in Charleston and President of the SC New Democrats, an independent reform group founded by former Gov. Richard Riley to bring big change and real reform to politics.  phil@scnewdemocrats.org   www.SC NewDemocrats.org

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