We’re now seeing the first wave of 2016 presidential candidates having their big launch events to kick off their campaign. Looking at something common to all these benchmark events, it seems it would be a good idea if they would all just GO AWAY.
That’s not to say they should stop doing the big launch. I mean that instead of going home, they should consider going away
Rand Paul, looking to go national, went back to the district — Louisville or bust.
Marco Rubio, with his day in the sun, went home to the cozy confines of the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami, doubling down on his inner croqueta.
When Scott Walker announces, doubtless it will be from… Lambeau Field? That brewery in the opening credits of Laverne & Shirley? I don’t really know what location is considered the cheese-filled heart of Wisconsin. Chris Christie will announce from somewhere New Jerseyan, which probably means it will be directed by Kevin Smith.
Campaign teams dream of the opportunity to influence the narrative, and for many campaigns they’re rare. Launch events are the first, perhaps best chance you get to have a chapter of your story told the way you’d like. It’s a time to make the argument that you’re national
Rubio’s first optics were that of the Miami boy turned South Florida politician standing in a Miami landmark referencing the Cuban expatriate story. Imagine instead standing with the Statue of Liberty over his shoulder. What message would that have told? Hillary Clinton, I’m coming after you in your own (sorta) home state. My family’s story and struggles are the struggles of every American, regardless of how or when or where they arrived. I’m here in the media capital of the world, and I’m ready to go anywhere because this new vision sells anywhere.
Imagine instead of Paul digging in his heels at home plate across from the Louisville Slugger museum, the different ways he could have hit a home run. Paul could go to Miami and announce. He could stand defiant and say “You can have ten Miami candidates run. I’ll eat all their lunches and come back for more.”
Paul could have announced surrounded by 100 small businessmen who had to close because of onerous federal and state regulations. He could have gone to a privately operated school in a minority community in Chicago or Oakland and said “THIS is an example of the kind of change we need to encourage, not the same tired big government model.” Instead, what do we get? Kentucky senator can gather together a couple of dozen Kentuckians to come hear him speak in Kentucky. That’s struck out looking, bat doesn’t even leave the shoulder.
Ted Cruz may not make a lot of wise decisions in this campaign. Certainly, signing up for Obamacare the day after announcing his run was not wise from an image standpoint. But at least he got one thing right out of the gate. He announced from a Christian college in Virginia. His message was loud and clear, “HEY, this voting bloc! Consider me to be one of you, please.”
Everyone assumes the former mayor of Okahumpka can get a small crowd in front of him in Okahumpka. But a nationwide campaign has to show it has the sales pitch to sell nationwide. If it “has to play in Peoria”, well you’d better go rent a lecture hall at Bradley University, because Peoria is calling. And bring me back a coffee mug.
The first event is a chance to “Go Big or Go Home”. So often, candidates go home. Maybe they should just go away.