Thursday, December 8, 2011

Who is your box of rocks?

Today is going to be fun…today I am going to do something totally different. Today I am not going to look at what somebody else has said…or done…or lied…or pretended. I am not going to talk about the lies and corruption of current politicians.

I am not even going to discuss the state of the economy, or taxation or any of that stuff.

Today I am going to reveal how conservatives can win the 2012 election.

My many regular readers are already aware that I have strong opinions on many things. They know that I have a business background. They know that I have traveled extensively. They know that I have an interest in pop culture particularly as it pertains to the way we live and act.

What you may not know is that one of my favorite past-times is understanding marketing. At University I picked up additional subjects…psychology and marketing…to ensure that I could develop a deep understanding of what the human psyche wants and how marketers can feed that need.

Using this knowledge, and being a keen observer of politics, I have come to the conclusion that a box of rocks can beat Obama if it is positioned properly in the marketplace. It doesn’t have to be a box of nicely rounded soft edged and perfectly coiffed rocks (Romney comes to mind), nor does it have to be a box of standardized rocks of similar sizes and shapes. It could be a box of rocks with sharp edges, and missing rocks…it could be half full of broken rocks, or overflowing with giant boulder sized rocks. It doesn’t matter what sort of rocks are in the box….

What matters is that the electorate can understand that the combined value proposition of the box of rocks is much better than the value proposition offered by Obama.

So, to all you people taking sides and saying that “Romney is too liberal, or Gingrich has too much baggage, or Bachmann is a lightweight, or Santorum is just like a schoolboy, or Paul would be great if he got foreign policy right….or who is Hunstman?”…to all you folks, I want to leave a strong message. Each of these candidates is a box of rocks…each one is different, with different sized rocks, different shaped rocks, and some are clearly broken while others are simply smaller.

If we stop looking at these candidates as people who will solve all our problems, and start looking them as a box of rocks, we find that they all could make “good” presidents. They all could start the process of leading the country back from the brink of socialism to the growth of capitalism.

But it is likely that some can do it better than others. And that is what we as conservative voters need to decide. Which of these fine people will be the best option for directing this country back from the brink.

I said today was going to be fun for me, and it is….for the first time, I am going to outline the things that matter to me when selecting the conservative candidate. I guess you could call it my “platform” if I was going to run….but I prefer to call it my yardstick. When I measure the candidates stated positions against this yardstick….and only against that yardstick, leaving personality and past performance out of the equation….I find that I am able to see more clearly. When I look at a box of rocks instead of a person, I find the emotional clutter that prevented me from making a good decision dissolves, and the facts are laid bare.

So, here is my yardstick:-

1.      The economy - Jobs

Any candidate who says they can create jobs get a downgrade. No President can create jobs worth a damn. Nor can any government.

A candidate who says “I know how to create jobs” gets a downgrade. I know how to create jobs too…but that doesn’t mean I can. These are just words that are designed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside but they are meaningless. They are nothing more than a psychological ploy.

The candidate who wins the “jobs” points is the one who humbly states…”I can’t promise that I will create jobs because Governments cannot create jobs. However, I CAN promise that I will government out of the way so that you, the hardworking people of America, will create the jobs and economic growth that will return this country to the economic powerhouse she can be. My job is to get government away from you…your job is to work hard and be successful. If I do my job, and you do yours, we make an unbeatable team!”

2.      The economy – Taxes

We have heard a lot, and will continue to hear a lot, about taxation programs going forward. There are the flat tax proponents, the “999” type plans, the promises of “Fixing the tax system”.

There are plans for value added type taxes, flat taxes, progressive taxes, closing of loopholes, and all manner of stuff that most people do not understand.

The candidate that wins the points on taxes is the one who says this….”It is wrong that government should take from you that which is earned by the sweat of your brow. You only have so many heartbeats on this earth, and every time the government takes money from you, it is stealing those heartbeats. Unfortunately, governments need money to provide some of the benefits for which it was designed. Security of the border and the nation costs money. I would love to tell you that taxation under my watch would cease…that can’t happen. What I can tell you is that I will stop stealing your heartbeats to pay for inefficient government waste. I will immediately cut spending by 20% in EVERY department. I will then commence a program of finding the waste, starting in the White House and cutting it out. After the White House, I will work through the Congressional budgets, finding and eliminating waste. Cutting spending dramatically will allow the rapid repayment of sovereign debt…and over the first two years of my term we will work hard at revising the taxation system to a flat tax where everybody pays the same % regardless of income. I can’t tell you what that percentage is, but current analysis indicates it could be as low as 10% -15%. The tax legislation will be simplified…you will not need a CPA to prepare your returns. We will reduce the size and power of the IRS. You will keep more of your money…the way it should be!”

It is time for our leaders to acknowledge that the money we earn is our money….and that we should keep as much of it as possible, rather than continually hearing that the government needs it.

A conservative candidate must be strong and unwavering on this point.

3.      The economy – entitlements

Skirting the issue of entitlements is not going to win any points from me. This is a problem that needs to be handled head first. It is in this area where the addicted will object but here is the stance that wins my vote:-

a)      Social security will be phased out over a 50 year period. Anybody 55 or older who qualifies for social security will still receive it. Everybody under 50 will receive a declining amount depending on their age. For every year under 50, they get 2% reduction in the social security payment. In conjunction with this, the social security deductions taken from employees pay packets will also reduce by the same amount of 2% for every year they are under 50 years of age. Ie. If you are 30 years old today, your SS contributions would be fixed at 60% of what they are today, and your benefits will be reduced to 60%. In addition contributions to retirement funds that you control and that have age based restrictions on taking your money out, are 100% tax deductible. Anybody born after today, does not qualify for any form of social security and must manage their own retirement.

b)      Medicare. Scap it and replace it with private health care but make all health care costs 100% deductible.

c)      Unemployment. While ostensibly a state obligation, the federal government seems to continually tell the states what to do. Not on my candidates watch. The states can chose whether to provide unemployment, how much to provide, and for how long. This should not be a federal issue.

d)      Food stamp programs. Scrapped entirely. To ease the transition, some funding will be provided to faith based organizations for a short period.

e)      Section 8 Housing program. Scrapped completely. To protect existing landlords, section 8 payments will be made for a period of 1 year or until the current lease expires, whichever is soonest. After that, landlords and tenants are on their own.

I am sure I haven’t touched on the large number of entitlements out there. But the candidate who will win points is the one who stands up and says…”not only can we not afford these programs, but they are constitutionally wrong and should be abolished as soon as possible.”

The measure of this man or woman is that they are prepared to face the ire of an angry entitlement class….so be it!

4.      Foreign policy

At the risk of sounding parochial, the only reason for foreign policy decisions is to protect the United States from enemies abroad. That is a very simplistic view of the world, and the reality is that alliance must be formed, treaties executed, and long term friendships and associations formed.

If the role is to defend the United States then it is clearly less expensive to do it diplomatically than any other. However…I want to hear a candidate stand up and say this. I want to hear them say that when possible they will apply diplomatic pressure, they will apply pressure to friends and allies to add leverage, but that, if these attempts fail…that they will go in with the full strength of the US military and kick some bad guy ass…and then leave as quick as they arrived with a strict warning that if a new government comes in and pulls the same crap, we will be back to give them another ass whooping. None of this nation building crap, winning the peace BS…winning the hearts and minds of our enemies stuff. That is just liberal wankerville stuff. We go in, we kick butt, we leave…and we take the spoils with us.”

That is what I want to hear….we do not want to be at war for 10 years….that is just a slow boat to defeat. Go in, get out. Done. Go back again if we have to…and again….but sooner or later they will learn that if they leave us alone, we leave them alone. Done.

5.      Immigration

This is easy. We will protect the border and apply current immigration law. There is nothing hard about that one. The candidate that gets votes from me will not make this a complex equation. They will not try to reinvent the wheel. Simply protect the border and apply existing law.

And finally….

6.      Gay marriage, abortion, and all the “soft” social issues

Let me say this clearly…I am pro-life, I am against gay marriage and I am most definitely a social conservative.

However, in the next 4 to 8 years, these social issues will neither fix nor destroy this country. There are much larger and fundamental issues to be taken care off. In my opinion, these “social positions” are not good metrics by which to measure your candidate. What good is it to have a President fighting to stop abortion if he does nothing about spending and taxation.

I want to hear a candidate say this….”All of these “social” questions are important questions, and individuals have strong opinions on them. I too have strong opinions, but the country is in dire condition right now and as your President I will be concentrating firstly on fixing the fundamental problems this Country is dealing with. I do not wish to belittle the importance of these issues to you…..and I say this….the decisions you must make and the positions you hold are personal to you. I am not the one to judge nor am I the one to determine right from wrong on these personal matters. I know that one day I will stand before my God and answer for my choices. You too, must one day answer for your choices. As your President I will work tirelessly to fix this country…these sorts of social issues will be with us whether we are a socialist nation or a nation growing under a capitalist system. They will be with us long after I have passed on. They cannot be allowed to distract us from the hard work we have ahead.”

This is not sidestepping the question. It is clearly prioritizing the work that has to be done…and I for one, like that.

Ok…so there are my yardsticks on a number of issues.

I think these are important for winning the next election for a number of reasons (apart from simply being right!):-

1.      It is clear that the democrats have abandoned the white middle class in their arrogance. The next election will see Obama seducing the blacks, the unemployed, the low income earners, the unions, the dead and the uber-wealthy. The vast white middle class will be ignored.
2.      The candidate that can unite the vast white middle class across the blue collar/white collar divide will encourage a vast army of supporters to go to the polls. The students are a lost cause. The addicted are a lost cause. The uber- wealthy are a lost cause…so what is it that conservatives can offer the middle classes? The answer is simple. A return to the policies that made America great. A return to the freedoms that provide opportunity. A return to the belief that America is great and a great place to live and work; a land of opportunity to those that want it.
3.      This section of the electorate is screaming for a leader who can unite them… a leader who can show them the way out of the despair they feel today. They look at the OWS folk and, regardless of past political affiliations, know in their hearts that there is something wrong today. They may not be able to articulate it, but they will know it when they hear it…and they will fight for their belief in right at the ballot box.
4.      The vast middle class across this country did not work and scrimp and save so that their wealth could be stolen by people demanding they pay their fair share. The vast middle class did not grow up wanting class warfare…and if they are reminded of this, they will definitely respond. The vast middle class is predominantly conservative…even though many label themselves democrats. A leader can tap into this conservativeness and generate the support he needs to beat Obama.

So….think of your candidate as a box of rocks…measure him against your yardsticks and see how s/he really scores. You may be surprised.

Oh…and if anybody doubts that a box of rocks can win an election….here a little trivia for you….

In 1973, an advertising executive, Gary Dahl created Rock Bottom Productions…and was a millionaire in around 6 months. What did he sell….?

Pet rocks.


A rock would not need to be fed, walked, bathed, groomed and would not die, become sick, or be disobedient. He said they were to be the perfect pets, and joked about it with his friends. However, he eventually took the idea seriously, and drafted an "instruction manual" for a pet rock. It was full of puns, gags and plays on words that referred to the rock as an actual pet.

A thirty-two page official training manual titled “The Care and Training of your Pet Rock” was included, with instructions on how to properly raise and care for one's new Pet Rock (notably lacking instructions for feeding, bathing, etc.). The instruction manual was the real product: it was full of gags, puns and jokes. It contained several commands that could be taught to the new pet. While "sit" and "stay" were effortless to accomplish, "roll over" usually required a little extra help from the trainer/owner. "Come", "stand" and "shake hands" were found to be near-impossible to teach, but "attack" was fairly simple (also with some additional help from the owner). The owners/trainers also found that potty-training their pet rocks was fairly simple, given that they were, in fact, rocks.

Dahl's biggest expense was the die-cutting and manufacture of the boxes. The rocks only cost a penny apiece, and the straw was nearly free.

Selling for around $3.98 each, this 6 month fad put Dahl on the fast track to being a 1%er.

Do you see what happened? The rock was not the thing that people wanted….they wanted the instruction manual…which made no sense without the rock.

Put the two together and Dahl had a winner on his hands.

Now…let’s think about our box of rocks. The constituents don’t want the rocks….they want the policies….but the policies make no sense without the rocks…they cannot be executed regardless of how good they are. Combine the two…and you have a new President in the White House.

Who is your box of rocks? And if that box of rocks doesn’t get the conservative nod, look to the winning box to earn your vote.

Maybe my wife is right….she thinks I have rocks in my head….lol


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