How to talk like a viable candidate

Brief by Martha Quillen

Political Humor – November 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine

You can be a viable candidate

With these fail-proof suggestions about what to say

(After all, with so many candidates saying this stuff, some of them are bound to win.)

Remember, it doesn’t matter what accusations you make — it is your anger and righteousness that resonate. You can say that you opponent has cut important environmental funds, or that he’s tossed money at the environment. You can even say he spends too much time with his mother. The issue is moot, but your indignant tone must be convincing.

Your opponent has just said he wouldn’t consider the death penalty for possessing Tylenol on school grounds.

You say, “Well, just look at his record; he’s always been soft on crime.

When asked about your opponent’s character —

You say, “Well, I really don’t like to comment on that, but as for myself, I’ve always been known for my honesty and integrity. My record speaks for itself.”

Your opponent criticizes your economic policies.

Accuse him of being a tax and spend liberal, or a Newt Gingrich clone — whichever is appropriate.

Other Handy Lines:

Unlike myself, my opponent (or his children) went to private schools. (Remember Catholic schools, Baptist schools, and some small colleges are private. Furthermore, he or she may have attended a cheerleading clinic or academic seminar at a private school.)

While my opponent was abusing controlled substances, I was on the beaches of Normandy. (This is a little tricky, but perfectly true — if you take a quick jaunt to the French Coast, while your opponent drinks alcohol.)

No one is more important to this country than the American working people. Hard work and the extraordinary work ethic of our citizens are what made this country great. This has universal appeal because even millionaires who haven’t made a sandwich in a decade think they work.

My tax cut is bigger than your tax cut; my tax cut is bigger than yours. (This is safe even if you win — since congress is unlikely to approve such a cut.)

If you really want to know where my opponent stands just look at the facts. More than three-quarters of his campaign money comes from special interest groups. (Ah, this is good — because just what is a special interest group? Who doesn’t have a special interest? Teachers, doctors, lawyers, the Episcopal Church, the Boy Scouts? )

Our advice: Be confident, be positive. After all, you can’t say anything more foolish than what others have already said.