By Grant Davies
Dear Dr. Paul,
I am a supporter and I have done all that I possibly can to promote your candidacy on my website and in personal discussions with friends. I've done that despite breaking my own goal of making the site about concepts and ideas rather than politics or people. I think it's that important because I think it may be too late if the country gets even one more term of Obama/Bush governance. And I want my freedom back.
Having said that, what the heck are your advisers doing to earn their money? Last night, the incompetents at ABC news finally gave you an opening that you should have made for yourself long ago. They asked you the ONE question in last night's debate that, if answered correctly and passionately, could ignite your campaign like no other single thing.
They asked you (I paraphrase) about how you could envision something different for the country if you were elected. About what might happen to us if we elect you to the White House. It was the equivalent of teeing up a political golf ball for you. AND YOU WHIFFED!
The time for telling the country what is wrong and what caused the problems is over. Not everyone "gets" it, but most of them never will, no matter how many times you repeat it. So it's time to change lanes, hit the accelerator and work on the "vision thing." Not your vision, but theirs.
Not the vision that your supporters have in their imagination. They "get" it. They have formulated it from what you say at the rallies and on the college campuses. You are preaching to the choir with them. It's the vision of the non-political types you need to inspire, those who don't have the time or the inclination to follow politics or economics because they are caught up in the struggle to live their everyday lives. They escape into sports or entertainment when they need a break from that. They need something to focus on in this election.
I didn't major in business or marketing in college. In fact I didn't even go, but I know the difference between a feature and a benefit. You have been talking about features. It's time to close the deal by emphasizing benefits. People buy cars or houses because they can envision themselves in them and "feel" how their life will improve if they sign on the dotted line.
People want to know how their lives will be better, or at least how they can expect them to be better after a few years of a Paul presidency.
Will they be more free? How can you say it so they can see themselves "out from under?"
Will they be more likely to get a job? They need to see themselves working again because of your policies.
Will they have a more predictable life?
Will they be able to plan again instead of merely survive the recession? Make them believe it because it's true, but not just because you say it.
Will the value of their houses begin to slowly rise again? Why?
Will they be safer from terrorists because you are president? Why?
They think Obama is an appeaser, you need to tell them the difference between his approach and yours and allow them to envision why they will be safer with your approach.
Will their crushing health-care expenses begin to get better? Tell them how and why. Convince them to envision why they will have better lives with your approach, not just why the current system or Obama-care is unacceptable.
These things seem obvious to me, but if they are to your advisers, it's not apparent, and I've seen every debate. I'm not a political consultant and this advice is free. But unlike most free things, it's worth something. At least I think so. So get the people you pay to polish up the concept and prepare you for tonight's debate. Or kick them out and do it yourself.
Your campaign needs to learn from two very different, but successful candidates. Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan. They both sold hope. And the people were buying.
Now Obama sells resentment. And the "hope product" the people bought is being returned to the store. You need to sell them a product that actually delivers what his failed to.
You have been scolding the people for a long time, and they deserved it. But the "Dutch Uncle" message is old now, they need an inspirational pep talk now. It's past time to give it.
Tonight is the time to start. It may be too late already, but you'll never get too far past your current support level with the old game plan. If it's too late for your candidacy, it's probably too late for the country. That is why I'm risking being so presumptuous as to tell a future President what to do.
Start now. There isn't a moment to waste. The ball is on the tee and it's begging to be hit right down the fairway.
God bless you for your efforts no matter whether you take my advice or not.
Yours for liberty,
PS --- Pick your son Rand as your VP. Do it soon. People want continuity when they sign on to a vision. They have their antenna up for what they perceive as cynical choices for geographic electoral advantage. You are 76, they want to know that they will still be free if you cannot continue. So pick Rand. It's bold and it will work. (He's going to be President someday anyway, might as well get him started now.)
This article was cross-posted to WhatWeThinkandWhy and The Humble Libertarian.
By Grant Davies