On the Need for Happy Warriors

November 2, 2011

An interesting thing is happening on the way to the GOP presidential primary election.  Have you noticed the rankings of the candidates in recent polling?  Herman Cain is number one is most polls.  Mitt Romney is a close second and who is in third place?  Newt Gingrich is shown as number in many of the latest polls.

Newt Gingrich.  The candidate who couldn’t do anything correctly in the beginning.  The candidate who soldiered through the publicity that his entire senior staff up and left him in the early stages.  Yes, that Newt Gingrich.

Governor Perry entered the race and was the flavor of the month in his first weeks as the favored non-Romney candidate.  Then he had some really bad debate performances and put out some negative ads and he plummeted in the polls.  Michele Bachmann was the Tea Party darling and quickly faded after her Iowa Straw Poll victory.  She turned more aggressively negative in debates and relished taking on Perry in his first debates.  Rick Santorum is no one’s favorite at this point due to his continued attack mode.  He seems to savor the nasty side of political campaigning, only too happy to jump out and criticize an opponent.

I think the key is a positive message and keeping focus on the fact that it is President Obama who is the true opponent, not fellow Republicans.  We are in it to keep Barack Obama to a one term presidency.  There will come a time when a nominee will be chosen and everyone will have to rally around him.  (Face it, Bachmann has no chance of the nomination.)  By the back and forth of negative ads and sound bites from debate performances being out there,  Barack Obama’s opposition research is being handed to him on a platter.  The campaign ads are writing themselves.

From the time he entered the race, Governor Perry has brought the fight to Mitt Romney.  It was understandable, as Romney was the number one guy, but the voters are not having it.  People are sick and tired of negative campaigning, especially the squabbling within our own party.  Debating the issues is healthy, to be sure, but going into personal attack territory is not a winning formula.

Whether it is Governor Perry going after Romney over his lawn care service or Romney proclaiming that Perry had some rough debate performances and that is making him cranky, it is all unnecessary.  We expect better. We are demanding it, as a matter of fact.

Do I think Herman Cain will get the nomination? No.  But I do see his appeal.  He is seen as a man with a smile on his face and a quick, easy laugh.  He’s a successful business man when our economy is in dire straits. He’s a happy warrior.  The same is true of Newt Gingrich. Gingrich refuses to criticize his fellow debaters and instead stays on point.  He attacks President Obama or the national press, which are the real opponents.  Newt Gingrich has the extra advantage of truly being the smartest guy in the room and voters are taking a second look at him.

President Reagan believed in being a happy warrior.  Even his political enemies found him to be a charming and likable guy.  It is important to offer solutions and common sense policies instead of simply criticizing another candidate.  Voters are desperate for the chance to vote for someone who can offer the possibility of getting our nation working again.  A feeling of national malaise has indeed set in. He need positive, not more negative.  We need a national cheerleader.

Let President Obama be the one campaigning by tearing down the Republicans and those who oppose his policies.  Let him be the bully.  Let us be the happy warriors.

written by: Karen Townsend, contributor





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