For years politicians have been trying all kinds of ways to get your vote. There is a particular method of solicitation that has always bothered me. I am sure you have seen more than an ad or two where the carefully staged candidate says to the camera “Send me to Washington where I will fight for you!” They typically try to look as tough or earnest as possible. These are usually democrats, but republicans will use this tactic as well. There must be some marketing research that shows this works on people, or else we wouldn’t be subjected to it every election season. If I actually wanted someone to fight for me, the last person I would think of is some politician. This has always come across as sort of creepy, and not fitting of their job description. Who are you fighting with? Why are you fighting in the first place?
Maybe this line is supposed to brunt some of the criticism of politicians as being sort of slippery and not sticking to principles. It’s bad enough that you have to declare allegiance to any of these politicians. It is also a shame that they have enough power over our lives to actually be important. It really would be ideal if they were inconsequential to your life. The best government would be one we barely notice. I thought they were supposed to go to D.C. to solve problems, reach across the aisle, and be bipartisan to get things done. Isn’t that the opposite of fighting?
Perhaps this “Fight for you”, conjures up some sort of gladiator picture in the viewer’s mind. Even if it does initially, when you look up and you don’t see anyone who resembles Russell Crowe, you have to be disappointed. Maybe the whole advertising angle needs to be rethought. Use this type of statement only in radio ads. This way the voter wouldn’t have to see the wimpy guy who is supposed to be fighting for us.
Another issue with this line of campaigning is our cynicism of politicians. They often are trusted slightly less than car salesman. They are also very ineffective in their work, and rarely get things done to our liking. It would be more to your advantage to find out whoever your particular politician is fighting against, and try to get that person or group on your side. This way when your politician predictably fails, you will win.
If we can get past this sound of fingernails on the chalkboard as we hear this “fight for you” pitch my advice to politicians would be the following…Set out a series of principles, convey them to the voters, keep those principles when you go to Washington, and work with people to get things done while not abandoning those principles. Put your swords down and get to work on making yourselves insignificant.
Copyright © 2013 BernardGoldberg.com