The Selling of the President 2016 — No More BOMFOG!
In 1969, I signed on to the John Lindsay mayoral Republican-Liberal primary campaign in New York City. For two and a half months, every evening after work I rode in the campaign car with Fioravante (Fred) Perrotta, John Lindsay’s running mate for the office of comptroller. My main job: scout out men’s rooms and pay phones while Freddie speechified.
Occasionally, one of our stops would be a religious gathering at a synagogue or church where politics is out of place. “What are you going to say?” I once asked Fred.
“I’ll give ‘em BOMFOG,” he said with a grin.
“BOMFOG?” I asked.
“Brotherhood of Man Under the Fatherhood of God.”
(The result of my dabbling in 1969 local politics was a political thriller, The Fingered City, about the Mafia running a candidate for mayor of New York.)
Politicians bloviate, equivocate, pontificate, obviate and flat-out lie.
Often they are deliberately short on specifics
“Specifics sell,” said the great freelancer Andrew J. Byrne. “Generalities do not.”
When a campaign is based on speeches, politicians can run ideas up the flagpole. If nobody salutes, the candidate can veer off and hope nobody remembers.
In the immortal words of Texas Governor Rick Perry, “Oops.”
Politicians are terrified of saying what they truly believe for fear of ticking off the “base.”
They want votes, not controversy.
So far, four Democrats have declared.
In the case of the Republicans, 16-person televised debates are unworkable. The electorate will be forced to make one of the most serious decisions of their lives based on the delivery of snappy one-liners.
What’s needed is a short manifesto in print from every candidate. These must be long on specifics and short on BOMFOG — enabling voters and the media to understand precisely the positions on each issue.
Suggested Candidates’ Manifesto: Standardized Format
Part 1. CV — (99 words maximum.) Name, family, net worth, education, career.
Part 2. Preamble — (249 words maximum.) Basic philosophy of governance.
Part 3. Issue Stances — (99 words each.) These are specifics on each of 23 (or more) burning issues.
Two examples of what I am talking about. If I were running here’s what my manifesto would say:
150 million Americans cannot read at the 8th grade level and cannot balance a checkbook. 47 million are functionally illiterate and read below the 5th grade level. The idea of forcing a basically illiterate nation into the nitty-gritty of health insurance choices under the Affordable Care Act (which runs 363,086 words) is preposterous. All the consumer cares about are 6 words: “See to me and my family.”
- Medicare has worked flawlessly for 50 years.
- Repeal Obamacare.
- Amend the 1965 Medicare Act by deleting 4 words: . . . “age 65 or older.”
Foreign Wars, Defense and the Pentagon
We lose wars because the Pentagon ignores world conditions. Example: The U.S. Navy has ten carrier strike groups costing $5.5 million daily or $20.075 billion a year. Our enemies are not nations with fleets, but rather individual tribes and insurgents making mischief out of caves and woods. With ten carrier strike groups, the Pentagon is operating under an outmoded WWII philosophy. Quite simply, it is preposterous to drive a carpet tack with a sledgehammer. Why ten carrier strike groups? That’s where the money is. Eliminate five carrier groups and put that $10 billion saved into Special Forces.
You Are Invited Weigh in!
- Choose one or more issues you care about and create your own manifesto on how to best cope.
- Click on “Post a comment” and paste your solution(s) in the box. 99-word maximum per issue.
- If an important issue is missing below, kindly insert it and go for it.
Note: Your response can be anonymous. Use an alias or a handle if you wish.
23 Major Issues
(99 Words Each Maximum)
- Abortion vs. Choice
- Campaign Spending
- Crime and Punishment
- Energy — Clean, Renewable, Nuclear, Fossil
- Entitlements — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance
- Foreign Wars, Defense and the Pentagon
- Global Warming/Climate Change
- Government Dysfunction
- Health Care
- Infrastructure — Roads, Bridges, Rails, Air Traffic Control
- Middle East — as in “We broke it; should we fix it?”
- Minimum Wage
- National Security, Surveillance and Privacy
- Regulations & “Too Big to Fail”
- Taxes — Income, Corporate, Sales, Sin, Death, Import
- Terrorism — Domestic, International
- Voter Access
Takeaways to Consider:
- On the campaign trail, politicians — the men and women who govern and control our lives — bloviate, equivocate, pontificate, obviate and flat-out lie.
- All of us in business must have résumés — a précis of our lives and careers.
- These are printed documents, frozen in type, (hopefully) readable, easy for referral and essential for hiring decisions.
- Same thing should be true for politicians seeking support. Make available to the electorate and media a short, punchy printed résumé and manifesto to be questioned, expanded on and hotly defended.
- In short, what is each candidate’s USP — Unique Selling Proposition(s)?
- These pithy, personal manifestos are the only way for the electorate (and the media) to keep the candidates straight, study the issues and make and informed choices.
- Enough BOMFOG! We want specifics!
- P.S. in the 1969 Fred Perrotta won the New York City primary, but lost in the general election to Sandy Garelik, the first Jewish Chief Inspector for the New York City Police Department.
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