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Rules for Republicans: Use Obama’s playbook against him.
Weekly Standard ^ | 1/2/12 | Jeff Bergner and Lisa Spiller

Posted on 12/28/2011 1:58:51 PM PST by rhema

The two of us​—​a marketing professor and a political analyst​—​have just published a book about the highly successful Obama presidential campaign of 2008. We have distilled a number of lessons from our research. Since the Obama camp already knows these lessons firsthand, we call them “rules for Republicans” and have presented them to a number of the 2012 Republican presidential campaigns. In summary, here they are:

Rule 1: Define your “big idea.” What is the overarching theme of your campaign? What is the first thing you want people to think and say about you? What do you stand for? What does your candidacy mean? This is harder than it looks. In answering these questions​—​which are really all the same question​—​you are creating your brand. In doing so, remember two things. First, a successful brand will reflect what people actually want, not what you think they should want. Your campaign needs to be voter-centric, not candidate-centric. You are a vehicle for responding to the hopes and fears of the American electorate. Second, your brand must connect with voters emotionally, not just rationally. Your campaign must speak to voters personally and create an emotional bond between you and them. “Change” was a beautiful brand in 2008.

Rule 2: Sell your benefits, not your features. Electoral success is not a reward for past services rendered; it is about promises for the future. Virginia governor Bob McDonnell has correctly said, “It’s not where you are that matters, it’s where you’re headed.” Do not put your biography, however eminent, at the center of your campaign. Your “experience” is not important in itself; what’s important is how your experience can get voters where they want to go. You have to explain the benefits of voting for you, not tediously list your qualifications. Both Hillary Clinton and John McCain found this out the hard way in 2008. If your campaign is centered around your “experience” or your “record” or your “competence,” you are on the road to defeat. Your biography is useful only in a supporting role. You need to put front and center what President Bush 41 dismissed as “the vision thing.”

Rule 3: Do not dilute your positions to win over middle-of-the-roaders. If that worked, the moderate John McCain would have defeated the very liberal Barack Obama. And Jimmy Carter would have defeated Ronald Reagan. You will never win the presidency by being the lesser of two evils; you have to attract voters to win. Boldness, directness, and honesty will trump subtlety and nuance every time. Just ask Mike Dukakis, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, or John Kerry. Stand for something.

Rule 4: Do not let the Obama campaign brand you. Brand him. Your campaign must clearly shape the choices for the American voter. If you do not, the Obama campaign will do it for you​—​to your detriment. You must relentlessly advance your own brand, and you must relentlessly aim to brand President Obama. If you are not on the offensive, you will be on the defensive. You may not like this, but you have no choice about it if you want to win.

Rule 5: Locate your campaign headquarters outside of Washington, D.C. You will be running against Washington. This may seem obvious​—​though somehow it wasn’t to the Clinton or McCain campaign in 2008. Even the ultimate Washington insider​—​the president of the United States​—​is locating his headquarters far from Washington. Why would you do otherwise?

Rule 6: Develop an electoral strategy with multiple avenues to success. You can’t take for granted the states that John McCain carried in 2008, but you can reasonably expect to win them. The 2012 election will be all about the same 16 “battleground states” it was in 2008. Compete aggressively in all of them. You have good reason to think that the Republican nominee can recapture Indiana, Virginia, and North Carolina. Beyond these three states, you need to pick up only Florida, Ohio, and one other state to prevail with 270 electoral votes. Give yourself multiple ways to reach 270. A corollary: Don’t waste your time and resources where you can’t win. And don’t waste your time with demographic groups you will never win over. Choose the markets that are advantageous to you; it is a mistake to try to convert your clear opponents.

Rule 7: Quickly and categorically reject public financing. Do not be defensive about this. If a longtime champion of public financing like Barack Obama can turn his back on public financing when it suits him, this should be easy for you. Be as cavalier about it as he was in 2008. Raise as much money as you can. Cede no financial advantage to the Obama campaign; there’s nothing in it for you to participate in another lopsided financial contest like 2008. Focus especially on the Internet to raise funds​—​it is the quickest and easiest way to do so.

Rule 8: Run a good ground game. Nothing beats your or your surrogates’ direct contact with the voters. Take a page from Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s 2008 playbook: Do not treat your staff and volunteers as pawns, but as valued customers and colleagues. Provide them with tangible and intangible rewards throughout the campaign. This is the path to creating an army of committed volunteers, a legion of Internet supporters, and, by the way, vastly expanded Internet fundraising.

Rule 9: Consider someone like Marco Rubio as your running mate. You need to bring energy and freshness to your campaign. Choosing Sarah Palin was not wrong in 2008; letting her twist in the wind in the face of media attacks was. A positive, Reaganesque running mate like Marco Rubio will help you. The fact that he is Hispanic will help even more. And the fact that he is from Florida makes choosing him a trifecta. A bit of the “cool factor” will be a big help, especially with younger voters who will not be as monolithically for Obama the second time around. Choose someone obviously fit to succeed you as president if necessary, and neither the Obama campaign nor the press will get traction in suggesting otherwise.

Rule 10: Go all in. The vast majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. A sizable number believe the country’s very future is at stake in this election. Act like it. Do not pull your punches, especially in a vain and benighted effort to curry favor with the media. The days of neutral media, if they ever existed, are over. The media are partisan, as in the early days of the republic; they have chosen sides. You must​—​or at least your campaign and surrogates must​—​take on Barack Obama directly. When you are criticized for doing so, know that you are having an effect. Double down on it. Your media critics are not your friends​—​they are on the other team. Be absolutely insensitive, even impervious, to any and all media criticism. Your market is the electorate, not the media. And one more thought: The most devastatingly effective form of negative campaigning is ridicule. This is liberalism’s tool against Republicans, and the left hates it when it is turned against them. That’s why the Paris Hilton “celeb” video was the most effective ad of the McCain campaign. Ridicule exposes how joyless, humorless, and brittle is today’s political left.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: obama

1 posted on 12/28/2011 1:58:54 PM PST by rhema
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To: rhema
Consider someone like Marco Rubio as your running mate.

Didn't I read on FR not long ago that Rubio is Constitutionally ineligible for POTUS/VPOTUS?

2 posted on 12/28/2011 2:02:05 PM PST by Old Sarge (RIP FReeper Skyraider (1930-2011) - You Are Missed)
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To: rhema

3 posted on 12/28/2011 2:02:08 PM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: rhema

I don’t see any of our candidates doing any of these things this year.


4 posted on 12/28/2011 2:03:13 PM PST by Cyber Liberty ("If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." --Winston Churchill)
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To: Old Sarge

According to some FReepers, nobody’s eligible unless they can trace their ancestry to the Mayflower.


5 posted on 12/28/2011 2:05:11 PM PST by Cyber Liberty ("If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." --Winston Churchill)
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To: Cyber Liberty

I LOL’ed!


6 posted on 12/28/2011 2:06:50 PM PST by Old Sarge (RIP FReeper Skyraider (1930-2011) - You Are Missed)
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To: rhema

Very good...#4 is essential. The left always defines the arguement/issue and sets the tone and the GOP lets it happen every time. They have to be on top of things and be proactive. We’ll see


7 posted on 12/28/2011 2:20:22 PM PST by PeachyKeen
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To: rhema

bump


8 posted on 12/28/2011 2:20:39 PM PST by CPT Clay (Pick up your weapon and follow me.)
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To: Timber Rattler

The Alinskyite on the republican side in Romney and he is using Obamas methods against any conservative that might threaten him. His people did a total Alinsky number on Palin and now he is applying it to Newt.


9 posted on 12/28/2011 2:21:40 PM PST by Breto (The republican leadership are morons)
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To: Breto

Love your tag line...so true!


10 posted on 12/28/2011 2:23:32 PM PST by PeachyKeen
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To: Timber Rattler

It’s really past time for the bulk of American society to recognize that the democrat party is for the eventual destruction of the civil society. To those not yet informed, it will appear insidious... even diabolical. They can continue with their heads in the sands, but unless enough of them join the other patriots in the know, that recognize the destructiveness of progressive big-government socialism/marxism/obamunism, the society WILL fail. And, if enough of those folks do indeed join the patriots in the know, and become knowing themselves... the society may (or may not) be saved, but at least it will have a fighting, albeit limping, chance.


11 posted on 12/28/2011 2:24:20 PM PST by C210N (Dems: "We must tax you so that we can buy your votes")
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To: PeachyKeen
That one stood out to me as well.

Rule 4: Do not let the Obama campaign brand you. Brand him.

Newt will do this. Every day, on the attack. Aside from Bachmann, the others will cringe in fear of criticism from the Compost and Slimes.

12 posted on 12/28/2011 2:28:14 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: Cyber Liberty

Pulling of punches is the one talent the Republican candidates seem to share in abundance. We KNOW for absolutely sure, that Mitt Romney will always take the “gentlemanly” course, and that way, lies certain defeat. As shabby and ramshackle as the record of the current regime in the White House is now, they should be target-rich, with all the vulnerabilities they now carry. They should be swept away like the coastal regions of Japan in the 2011 tsunami, leaving only an uninhabitable desert that may not be productive again for years.

But NOOOO. Where Republicans could press an advantage, they seem to prefer to haggle over small points, like finally caving on this “reduction” in payroll FICA tax for - TWO MONTHS!? - only to have to fight this all over again in February.

Hammer the Senate, and Harry Reid, day and night, to pass the 2012 Federal Budget, already passed long ago by the House, and in a timely fashion. Get out there every day, demanding that Harry Reid ACT, or respond to the clamor of the American public tht SOMETHING positive come out of the Senate.

In fact, while they are at it, keep pounding away at the Senate Democrat leadership on ALL fronts, emphasizing their total lack of action, and make that the focus of this campaign - if the resistance crumbles there (and the potential exists), the floodgates open up, and the struggle of the majority of Americans to be heard will at last begin to pay off, big time. Without the Senate Democrats running interference for him, the facade that is the regime in the White House would melt away like a quiche in a crocodile’s mouth.


13 posted on 12/28/2011 2:32:21 PM PST by alloysteel (Are Democrats truly "better angels"? They are lousy stewards for America.)
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To: Cyber Liberty
Newt did it today in Iowa. His speech is on C-Span here.
14 posted on 12/28/2011 2:34:05 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: rhema
You need to put front and center what President Bush 41 dismissed as “the vision thing.”

We should nominate whomever can do that best.

15 posted on 12/28/2011 2:42:18 PM PST by cynwoody
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To: cynwoody

I’m sick of these pofs politicians’ VISIONS!

These psychos mneed to do one thing and one thing only - follow the US Const. All of these pieces of garbage from GHWB on through Obama have done so much damage to this nation - we can’t afford any more damn visions from this psycopaths.


16 posted on 12/28/2011 2:47:06 PM PST by GlockThe Vote (The Obama Adminstration: 2nd wave of attacks on America after 9/11)
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To: rhema
The right doesn't have the intestinal fortitude for a real knock down, drag out fight against the leftists vying for control of this country. At the first sign of trouble, the right drops their candidate like a hot rock. This says a lot about the make up of what constitutes the right; a lot of people who don't want to rock the boat and upset their various interests. The surest way to defeat the left is to take their s#!t and throw it right back in their face, don't back down, and stand behind the person who we believe can best lead this country. Anything less is surrender, or worse collaboration.
17 posted on 12/28/2011 2:56:17 PM PST by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: Cyber Liberty
According to some FReepers, nobody’s eligible unless they can trace their ancestry to the Mayflower.

You mean the limousine liberal types...
18 posted on 12/28/2011 3:10:50 PM PST by kenavi (1% of the 1% were born in the 1%.)
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To: rhema
Do not dilute your positions to win over middle-of-the-roaders. If that worked, the moderate John McCain would have defeated the very liberal Barack Obama. And Jimmy Carter would have defeated Ronald Reagan. You will never win the presidency by being the lesser of two evils; you have to attract voters to win.

This is my greatest fear.

19 posted on 12/28/2011 3:27:23 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.)
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To: rhema

‘consider someone like Marco Rubio as your running mate’

WRONG!
Like obumo, Marco Rubio is NOT a natural born citizen because his father was not a US citizen at time of his birth.

We are trying to remove the usurper and you are advising the candidates to violate the constitutional requirement for VP?

Rubio knows it and avoids the issue.

If Rubio is upright, courageous and a constitutionalist, he can say: thank you for your confidence, but, like obama, I am not constitutionally eligible because I am not an article 2 natural born citizen.


20 posted on 12/28/2011 3:47:39 PM PST by chrisnj
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To: Cyber Liberty

How you exaggerate! You don’t have to trace your anvestry to the Mayflower. All you need is to have been born in USA to 2 USA citizen paretns.


21 posted on 12/28/2011 3:51:12 PM PST by chrisnj
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To: rhema

Aside from the ethical issues, you are not going to see any activist judges unsealing Obama’s records for his Republican opponents to use against him.


22 posted on 12/28/2011 3:54:00 PM PST by Little Ray (FOR the best Conservative in the Primary; AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: chrisnj

oops, parents not paretns.


23 posted on 12/28/2011 3:54:07 PM PST by chrisnj
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To: Old Sarge

According to some FReepers, nobody’s eligible unless they can trace their ancestry to the Mayflower.


24 posted on 12/28/2011 6:33:31 PM PST by Cyber Liberty ("If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." --Winston Churchill)
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To: Old Sarge

I am so sorry about the multiple posts over the course of *hours.” Laptop locked up on the posting page, and it took me a while to clear it...


25 posted on 12/28/2011 6:45:52 PM PST by Cyber Liberty ("If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." --Winston Churchill)
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To: Jacquerie; alloysteel

If there is one left who will take it to the enemy, it’s Newt. He won’t endorse Obama as McCain did in ‘08.

But, I am plagued with memories of disappointment almost from the moment he took up the gavel in ‘95. It’s like he was in one of the 600+ FBI files the Clintons snatched up in ‘92.


26 posted on 12/28/2011 6:51:41 PM PST by Cyber Liberty ("If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." --Winston Churchill)
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To: Cyber Liberty

Heh. Understood, I get those same ghost posts sometimes.


27 posted on 12/28/2011 7:00:45 PM PST by Old Sarge (RIP FReeper Skyraider (1930-2011) - You Are Missed)
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To: rhema

!


28 posted on 12/28/2011 7:26:39 PM PST by skinkinthegrass (I can take tomorrow, $pend it all today. Who can take your income, tax it all away. Obama Man can. :)
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To: Cyber Liberty
Hmm, well he promised and delivered on his Contact With America in 1995.

That is why I believe he will do as promised to Constitutionally stomp the tyrannical blackrobes, as described here: http://www.newt.org/sites/newt.org/files/Courts.pdf

29 posted on 12/29/2011 2:42:25 AM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: rhema
bttt

This article is one of the best I have ever read about what is needed to elect good Conservative candidates to offices. Some think that it is enough to have the right convictions and be able to carry them out. That doesn't do us any good at all, though, if the person with the right convictions and ability to carry them out doesn't get into office in today's superficial climate.

Mat 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

30 posted on 12/29/2011 10:34:46 PM PST by Bellflower
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To: Cyber Liberty
You lost me there... is there a point you are trying to make FRiend?

An American Expat in Southeast Asia

31 posted on 12/29/2011 11:06:14 PM PST by expatguy (Donate to "An American Expat in SE Asia" By Paypal)
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To: expatguy
You lost me there... is there a point you are trying to make FRiend?

I learned a long time ago that if it needs to be explained, it isn't funny....

32 posted on 12/30/2011 8:04:24 AM PST by Cyber Liberty ("If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." --Winston Churchill)
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To: rhema

bttt Hoping that some who have position to help Conservative candidates win elections reads this.


33 posted on 12/31/2011 9:24:57 PM PST by Bellflower
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