Yesterday, I watched some of the Chris Christie presidential campaign announcement. All in all, I liked it. I liked the extemporaneous approach. I liked the intimate "in the round" setting. And I really liked the fact that he went to his high school in Livingston, NJ as opposed to standing in front of a massive B-52 Bomber. Even better, standing on an aircraft carrier. We call that "Bush envy." They should've announced in front of a mammoth widescreen replaying the Hindenburg tragedy.
"My name's Chris Christie and I will courageously defend your blue state butt."
I'm Chris Christie and I approve of your butt." Oh, the humanity.
I think voters are finally growing wise to the excessive use of military props. Not the American flag though. Regrettably, one flag still ain't enough. You need a half dozen in a row of perfect symmetry. Hey, how else are you gonna be able to quantify their patriotism and love of country? More flags... more flags... more flags. They should hand out tiny little edible flags for the crowd. I love the flag so much, I'm gonna eat it. Then, I'm gonna shit it out and eat the shit. Truth be told, many consider the American flag a regurgitated delicacy.
Call it a hunch, but I think the "zero teleprompter" approach (ironically embraced by Trump the carnival barker) could heavily influence future candidate speeches and strategies. Voters have grown exhausted with these badly rehearsed, environmentally controlled soirees. Seriously, you gotta love the superimposed, ethnically diverse backdrop when Rick Perry hits the stage. Yes!!! Hmmm, now what do legal immigrants from Uganda, India, Singapore, Mozambique, Uruguay and Sudan all have in common? Well, they're indubitably diehard Perry fans residing in Waco and Galveston. Now THAT makes sense.
With the Republican field currently surpassing 15 "credible" candidates, the most important consideration is trying to distinguish yourself from the herd. That's NOT going to be accomplished with canned speeches at the Western Baptist church or the regional pig-squealing contest. You gotta think outside the box. Granted, it'll be a total nightmare for the damage control consultants. But the needs of the candidate take precedence. You must come across as an authentic human being. That means taking actual, real questions and demonstrating a willingness to cope with occasional backlash. And sometimes that lends itself to unpleasant realities. Hey, not every voter mindlessly applauds at the Sarah Palin rally (U.S.A.! U.S.A.!, hockey moms of the world unite, drilling for Jesus, whatever). It might sell in Iowa to the pill-poppin' Jesus freaks, but definitely not in New Hampshire.
Now this requires an incredible degree of discipline. You actually have to listen to your advisers, be able to take constructive criticism, and most important, study and rehearse. Over the long haul, a self professed know-it-all like Trump will eventually implode. His ego won't be able to reconcile the reality of the situation on the ground.
There is certainly merit in appearing off-the-cuff and flying by your seat of your pants, or in the case of Carly Fiorina, flying by the seat of your pantsuits. I'm just sayin' --- you gotta thread the needle and walk the line. With all of these candidates, you gotta incorporate some calculated risk. The 2016 race is noticeably different. You need to stay relevant and in the news. And the best way to accomplish this? Venture into unexplored territory. Try something new, something different. Much like a gift assortment of fruit syrups.
The media becomes more "tuned in" when a greater level of spontaneity lends itself to miscues and general intrigue. So you're more likely to get the attention of the major news networks. Seriously, other than friends, family and political consultants, who the hell actually watched George Pataki's announcement? Who the hell actually knows he's running for president? Peculiar... you would think a 3-term former New York Republican governor would command a little more weight.
But if it's weight you seek...
Yep... sit down and shut up! Close your damn mouth! CHRISTIE IS BACK. I'm not sure whatever happened with Bridgegate. Honestly, for the vast majority of voters, it's a distant, forgotten afterthought. Most people don't care unless they reside in Fort Lee, NJ.
I generally don't care for Christie. But if I had to place a bet. I think he has a better shot than the odds claim. Because he has the strongest niche. Not necessarily the best niche for an ultra-conservative primary, but it's still a niche. It's all about differentiation. If he can somehow miraculously survive Iowa and South Carolina... Nevada seems more feasible with his AC connections. And it's very conceivable he could play in Florida. The pundits say he's putting all his deviled eggs in one basket --- New Hampshire. Smart move. This is going to be a lengthy primary. Nobody wants to concede too early. Many envision a book deal or want to raise their coinage. Longer they're in, the better.
So here's my idea. Instead of preaching at every church bingo and flipping pancakes inside the local diner. Instead of going the typical route with visits to veteran organizations and small businesses, here's what I'd do.
Some (scatterbrained) advice.
I'd make it a theme to go outside every Target Department store in the state of New Hampshire. Do it right before every debate and USE THE EXPERIENCES TO DELIVER YOUR MESSAGE. I just met with Dale Jenkins and he told me he needs back surgery.... I just had an encounter with retiree Charlene Locke and she's worried about her benefits.
There's only a grand total of 6 Targets in the entire state so they're relatively easy to navigate. Just meet people out front and listen to their concerns. Here's why I think this would be a novel idea. First, the word "target." Any time the press mentions it, there's a subliminal inference that he's the candidate with a "target on his back." To the uninformed voter, it makes you appear as the frontrunner. All of a sudden, Christie's the one that everyone is trying to dislodge or take a shot at. Remember, at this point, it's about separating yourself from the pack.
'Ol fashioned retail politics. In New Hampshire it still counts. Plus, I think the "target" reference might attract a few confused gun nuts or 2nd Amendment fanatics. Sounds imposing. Best of all, once you do it, you own it. If anyone else from the clown car tries to pull it off, the late night comedians will annihilate them. Christie could really sell something like this. Definitely, one of the more capable, convincing aspirants (with a focus on the ass part). He puts the "candid in candidate." Note to Christie campaign > use that line. It's a winner.
Second, it's totally in keeping with his brash blue collar, populist message. Reminds me of the Gore 2000 campaign (angry populism, we can do better jibber jabber). Christie's trying to appeal to the common man. Not the elitist, millionaire Republican voter. There's already plenty of competition for the Koch-Adelson-Friess money. And hey, they're not going to back Christie anyway. He just doesn't fit the ass-kissing profile. Certainly not to the extent of Rubio, Santorum and the remainder of the lapdog ilk.
Third, what better a place to embrace his campaign slogan --- "telling it like it is." Target. What better a location? The place regular Joes and Josephines shop for basic necessities. For some reason, Target never gets hit with the anti-Walmart bashing criticism. Not sure why, but Target and other big retailers seem to get a pass. Everything's always walmart-centric. Funny how people easily make the distinction.
Fourth, since he's made a deliberate choice to go unscripted, why not TRULY go out and be a man of the people. Get your hands a little dirty. Assuming Hillary gets the Democratic nod, this makes Christie look like a champion of middle class. Four years later is a good time to recognize the "out-of touch" issues that devastated Mitt Romney. Who knows? Maybe the narrative would actually stick. Could be an unanticipated setback for Hilldog. Either way, it's the vote Christie needs if he's going to actually win the White House.
Fifth, I think Christie is a good candidate to pull off a debate zinger. He's pretty comfortable and plain spoken. Now with most of the others, that bazinga moment is going to come across as scripted and desperate. If I were in charge of his campaign, I'd have a few "spontaneous" attacks directed at the other major candidates, not just Hillary and Obama. Preferably ones that make him appear to be a champion of the common man. Stuff like, "Mitt, how's the car elevator working?" Ridicule Trump too, "How are all your lawsuits doing?" Seriously, who the fuck has a dozen simultaneous lawsuits?
Sixth, play up the Sopranos angle. Don't go overboard with it, but throw in some Italian/Jew comments and ethnic humor. Here's one --- Listen, Bobby Jindal is an national security expert just because he travels to New Dehli? Hey now, I've traveled to many delis. And specifically rattle off a list of privately owned delicatessens. Lotito's, A&S, Jerry's, Giovanni's, etc. Another winner. Nullify the weight issue on YOUR terms. Self-deprecation is a hot commodity these days, especially when your main competitor is an arrogant, prick-like fuck (Trump).
Play up the Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi angles too. You can even use my joke, "Hey, I'm not only good friends with Bon Jovi, I'm friends with his aunt as well. Her name's anchovy." Maybe emcee a "get out the youth vote" rally with a drunken Snookie.
And throw in some Jets/Giants comments about the stadium being located in East Rutherford. Anytime the conversation shifts to the liberal, elitist New Yorker refrain, you tell them, hey I was just at the Jets game... in New Jersey. Rock music and football sell well in mainstream America. This is how the majority of dumbshits will remember you. Not social security. Not national defense. Go for the classic drugs, sex and rock'n'roll. Minus the drugs and sex of course. I don't use drugs, but historically speaking, I have had a case of the munchies. Play up the fact that you've seen Springsteen over a hundred times. Leaves people with the impression that YOU are the rock star... or at least you speak to them on a semi-regular basis. Just as good.
Seventh, use policy to shred Trump. Call him out on all that birther nonsense. A New Hampshire crowd will NOT be receptive to that line of bullshit. Explain how a big part of politics is when there's a national disaster (Hurricane Sandy), you require normalized relations with the President, regardless of party. Lives are on the line. It's not about you. The real-world doesn't work in your narcissistic fantasy world.
Push the red governor in a blue state aspect. It's one of your best ideological attributes. And it's handed to you on a silver platter.
Explain how we might not like Obama, but he has been effective in getting things done. Getting his agenda railroaded through Congress. Just not the stuff the Repubs want done. I am Chris Christie. I have learned those tricks of the trade, firsthand. And I'll use them to defeat Hillary.
Push Sandy too. It's your environmental 9/11. Coming together in the aftermath of a tragedy. Reaching out across the aisle. Bring people together. Unity.
Also, go after Trump on a livable minimum wage. I think Christie is the only Republican candidate willing to go on record for an increase in the federal minimum wags. Ask him how a multi-bilionaire deals with cleaning the gutters or mowing the lawn. Mock the shit out of that fuck... with a smile on your face. If you're going to target any of them, go after the one who will naturally be at the center of the controversy. People love the "regular guy" who puts "the boss" in his place. Embrace the role of the underdog.
Be bold --- "Donald, Ronald McDonald, whoever... you are destroying the Republican brand! And I take this stuff seriously. Because the damage you're inflicting now, could be our demise in the general." Crowd goes "Yay." Then, follow it up with, I'm not trying to beat you guys. I'm trying to beat Hillary and put a Republican in the White House. Crowd goes "Super-duper yay!"
That's really the secret for Christie - a smooth transition from "angry, hostile" Christie to "introspective, tempered" Christie. With frequent moments of "seemingly spontaneous" passion.
Alright, lemme just say that I'm doing my part. I've been spamming the hell out of Christie on social media... so much so, that they banned me from making public comments again. Curious to see how long this one lasts. Not too concerned about it.
Governor Christie, here's an idea. Hope you can incorporate it in the campaign. It's about transparency, the truth and "telling it like it is." It's about keeping Americans safe.
Every NFL stadium has 50,000 - 100,000 active cell phones. We need to explicitly warn fans that LEGITIMATE emergency evacuation orders do NOT come from their mobile devices. If something like this were to happen, it's a malicious HOAX designed to create an "artificially generated stampede."
Just some common sense, public safety info that nobody's allowed to talk about. The federal government and private industry won't go anywhere near it... unless there's a tragedy. Chris Christie, do you have the moral courage to acknowledge this asymmetric national security issue?
Ask him (or any other presidential candidate) about it and you'll likely be hailed as the "Edward Snowden of sports journalism." Great question for a town hall. Because they'd never allow it in the televised debates.
Note: I use the same spam on Ted Cruz, but I refer to him as Senator Crud. "Ted Crud... do you have the moral courage...?"
I really like the sound of that.