Random thoughts on CPAC 2015 and advice for conservative politicians

-To me, it’s clear that the following candidates are definitely running for president in 2016:   Walker, Carson, Christie, Bush, Perry, Rubio, and Cruz.

-I will admit that Walker isn’t quite as prepared as I would like on certain policy issues, but then again, how could he be?  He’s been busy fighting off crazy liberal protesters and winning elections in Wisconsin.  He doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who’s been thinking about running for president for the past 10 years.  I’m not sure when it first dawned on him that he would actually have a chance to become president and that he’s qualified to even run, but I don’t think it was in the distant past.  To me that’s refreshing because guys like Obama and Romney basically had been thinking about being president their entire lives, which tells me their motivation for doing it wasn’t to make the country a better place primarily, it was their own personal ambition and to prove something to themselves.

So we need to have some patience with Walker and allow him to have some time to get up to speed on issues he hasn’t studied up on like foreign policy and immigration.  It’s ridiculously early, which reminds me of one thing I hate about our political system.  We start campaigns way too early, and it becomes a circus where we’re just constantly focusing on the next election instead of what’s actually going on in our government right now.  Plus it gives too much attention to candidates and increases their chances of making gaffes and unforced errors.


-I must admit, even though I don’t think Rubio has the executive experience needed to be president, I was really impressed with his speech and his answers to all the questions he was asked.  Out of all the candidates, I would say he’s the most prepared in terms of policy and ideas.  He’s clearly spent a lot of time thinking about the issues and how to articulate his position on them.  Of course that’s not enough to be a good president.  One needs experience in managing people, working with people who disagree with you, and handling conflicts, and Rubio simply doesn’t have that experience.

That’s why I think he’s the ideal candidate for VP.  He knows conservative issues up and down, knows the history of this country and what makes us great, and can talk about it in a way that inspires the average american.  He has a passion and authenticity that is rare in politics today, and an amazing story as well.  You don’t need tons of experience to be the VP, but you do need to be able to make up for some of the nominee’s weaknesses and defend his strengths, which Rubio will be able to do probably better than anyone else.

-Chris Christie did well in his Q&A segment with Laura Ingraham, which is why he chose to do it in the first place I’m sure.  My opinion about him is that most conservatives and the media in general are underestimating him big time.  Regardless of his policy positions and mistakes he’s made in the past, he still has a larger than life presence that can’t be ignored, and that will serve him well in the debates.  As we saw in the segment with Ingraham, he has a great ability to think on his feet and to answer any question.  He’s also a great retail politician, which is proven by the fact that he’s held over 100 town halls in New Jersey during his time as governor.  He isn’t afraid to get tough questions and give honest answers, and regardless of what you think of him, that’s something a lot of people are looking for in a president.

I think Jeb Bush will look small compared to him, both literally and figuratively, because he just has a much bigger personality than Bush, and is more confident in himself.  He knows who he is and isn’t pretending to be someone he’s not.  I think as we get through the debates and Jeb starts to fade in the polls, more of the GOP establishment will throw their support behind Christie.  I think he’ll be the last establishment candidate standing, but ultimately I don’t think his style will appeal to the grassroots as much as Walker’s will.

-I don’t really have much to say about [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] that I already haven’t said.  He’s a great speaker, but doesn’t have the experience we need in a nominee imo.

-I was really impressed with Carly Fiorina.  Of course she doesn’t have any chance of winning the nomination, but I do think she has a chance to be the nominee’s pick for VP.  She definitely would have some advantages over other VP candidates.  She could help take away some of the female vote from Hillary, and she’s already proven that she is a great communicator and would do a great job giving speeches at campaign rallies.  I’ve already said I think Rubio’s the best candidate for VP, but she’s a close second in my book.  I still favor Rubio over her because she doesn’t have any political experience and thus would be vulnerable to mistakes, plus she was in the corporate world for some time and would be attacked by liberals using the whole 1%, evil rich Republican logic they used successfully on Romney.  In any case, she would make a great Treasury Secretary or other high-up position in a republican administration.

-I liked Ben Carson’s speech, but it’s clear he still has a long way to go if he wants to convince a majority of conservatives he’s ready for primetime.  Since CPAC he’s made several mistakes, the most recent one being his comment on gays and prison sex, which he subsequently apologized for.  We simply can’t have a nominee who makes unforced errors like that this time around.

-Jeb Bush did better than I thought at defending his liberal positions on such things as Common Core and immigration.  He handled the questions fairly well and didn’t try too hard to pander.  But in the end all his effort will be for nothing, because he simply doesn’t have enough appeal with the conservative grassroots, who have plenty of electable conservative candidates this time around.  There’s simply no reason to settle for a moderate, no matter how much money he’s getting from donors.

-I like both Jindal and Perry, but they seem to be trying too hard to win over the base with red meat instead of just being themselves.  I understand why they’re doing it, but that doesn’t make it any more effective.  They’re trying to stand out in a crowded field, but if they really wanna be president, they just have to be themselves and let their records speak for themselves, because they both have great records as governors, although Perry certainly has more to brag about than Jindal.  My advice to both of them would be to talk about your records and your vision for this country.  Leave the red meat and the fiery rhetoric to less serious or more desperate candidates.

-Lastly, on [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ], I’ve already written everything I think about him and his candidacy, there’s no need to repeat that here.

My advice to any conservative running for president in 2016:

-1) Tell stories– Reagan did it, Rubio does it, Walker does it.  The best politicians know that this is necessary to connect their vision for the country and their policies to the average american who knows nothing about those policies and doesn’t follow politics.  There’s science behind this approach too, because neuroscience tells us that the human brain learns and remembers information best when it’s in the form of a story or narrative as opposed to just raw facts, data, and abstract concepts and ideas.

2)Be specific-  give details to your proposals and ideas and when you make a general statement, back it up with facts.

3)Don’t exaggerate or make hyperbolic statements-  Walker fell into this trap recently with his comment on isis and the protesters in his state.  It’s always tempting to fire up the crowd you’re in front of with these kinds of statements, but you have to remember that they only have a temporary effect on them, but they have a long term effect on you because in the age of the internet they don’t disappear, and will come back to haunt you.

4)Words matter, but actions matter a lot more.  In politics today we place WAY too much emphasis on what a politician says instead of on what he or she does when they’ve been given the opportunity to actually do something.  So yes, Walker’s made some verbal mistakes, but it’s really not a big deal because he has a track record of getting results and implementing conservative policies that work, and that’s what matters most.  Don’t get me wrong, our nominee still needs to be able to effectively articulate the conservative message and vision for the country, but just being able to do that shouldn’t be the main thing we look for when we choose our nominee, it should be whether or not they have the experience and character traits necessary to lead our nation during these trying times.