For voters, coping with the presidential campaign season and the litany of promises made by candidates is like dealing with a car salesman while listening to nails on a chalkboard. The months drag on and the experience becomes so intolerable that whatever happens in November is a disappointment. Granted, the results of this election have a lot more potential for profound, hope-shattering despair than most. Still, there are some simple rules that Republican candidates can follow to add a little integrity to the process before we get to Tampa, and to keep the monotony of hearing the same speeches every four years bearable.
1. Do not tell us to put our faith in America.
We already do. The problem is that we don’t believe in our government.
2. Do not tell us you will change America, save America, or fix America.
America does not need to be saved, changed, or fixed. Washington needs to perform the tasks we pay for and it needs to keep its snout out of places it does not belong.
3. Do not tell us you will change the way Washington does business.
You can’t and you won’t. Washington is bigger than you, badder than you, and is going to be doing business the same way it always has long after you are out of office. Why set yourself up for failure?
4. Do not tell us about restoring America’s moral compass.
Worry about your own morals so we don’t have to read embarrassing exposes with our morning coffee. You will have better things to do as president than imposing your moral beliefs on the nation (see: Republicans Miss the Point About Government and Religion). When you have reduced the debt, cut the deficit, slashed spending, fixed Social Security and Medicare, and kicked out every last illegal immigrant, maybe we will humor you with a few minutes of air time about how America should conduct its moral affairs.
5. Do not tell us you will bring back jobs and prosperity.
It took years for Washington to drive our country to the brink. It is going to take a long time to repair the damage, give or take another recession. If you can keep from scaring businesses into their bunkers you will at least have done better than Barack Obama.
6. Do not tell us you will save billions by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse.
This is one issue where we have true bipartisanship. Republican and Democratic candidates alike always insist they will cut waste, fraud, and abuse. It never happens. Worse, voters know it is never going to happen. If you are elected and manage to pull this one off, let us know after you are finished.
7. Do not ride your moral high horse.
Shoot that horse. Stay out of our bedrooms, do not look over our shoulders when we are on the Internet, and stay away from our doctor’s office and pharmacy. Fix the immorality in Washington first. Immoral behavior occurs in places other than the bedroom. Consider how long it took Congress to take up its own insider trading.
8. Do not tell us about all the bills you will pass.
You are not going to pass anything. The president is not a legislator, and without an agreeable Congress even a cure for childhood cancer will never leave the Oval Office. Granted, one of Barack Obama’s talents is his genius at coming up with ways to avoid the inconvenience of our legislative process. This is not something to be proud of. It is not something Republican candidates should consider imitating, either.
9. Do not hand us a laundry list.
Everyone would like to see you cut taxes, slash spending, remove regulations and red tape, replace the health care law with something better, secure the border, and end improper payments. Pigs will be flapping their wings on Capitol Hill before you claim victory at even one of these things. Just remember, whatever you do, it will likely be better than anything President Obama has done.
10. Do not put yourself first.
All three Republican candidates need to pay attention to this one. Do not show up in Tampa scratched, bruised, and beaten by your GOP competition, despised by supporters who would have happily voted for you six months ago. We have been told in no uncertain terms by each of your opponents seeking the Republican nomination that you are unsuitable to hold any job, much less the highest office in the land. This is about defeating Obama in November. Why are you so intent on making sure that our victory will never happen?