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  • Writer's pictureMike Del Ninno

The Art of Saying Nothing

It never ceases to amaze me how politicians can talk so much while saying nothing. That’s definitely a talent I wish I had when I ran for office. Being new to the game, I spent weeks developing a plan for key issues. My tennis buds joke I need a spreadsheet just for keeping score. And my web site had a pretty extensive FAQ page disclosing my position on a wide range of subjects. I’m pretty sure that’s why I never got elected (that, and running against a career politician didn’t help either).

I actually thought the public would appreciate a fairly well thought out platform. Man, was I surprised; on two fronts. First, I severely over-estimated the amount of people that actually care about political elections. Secondly, the 20-30 individuals showing up for events were consistently the same faces. Eight years later, still the same faces. And these individuals love and appreciate candidates excelling at the art of saying nothing. Why not, it’s definitely the safe way to go. No gaffs, embarrassments, or tackling uncomfortable positions. Stay the course…..blah, blah, blah.

I guess I’m considered a super-voter. I’ve had three congressional candidates knock on my front door (actually two staffers and one candidate). I also get tons of mail. Not only are politicians good at the art of saying nothing in person, they also excel at saying nothing in print. Being a marketing guru, I get it. I mean, you’d rather sell the public on the “personality brand”, than the “what are you actually proposing to solve our problem” brand. Every mail piece is the same. Cut taxes, stop wasteful spending, reduce government, stimulate the economy…….and by the way, here’s a picture of my beautiful conservative family on the backyard swing set. May the prettiest picture win!

Is the system really that broken? You’d think individuals would be craving someone to jump into the fray with a really substantive platform, but NOOOOOO. We’d rather encourage the gamesmanship of the system. I mean how boring would MSNBC be if we simply applied basic fixes to advance and correct our longstanding issues? BORING!

Now that I’m an experienced candidate, I now know what it takes to win.

Keep it general. No specifics.

Use kids, family and backyard swing set pictures in campaign literature.

Avoid campaign stops that clearly aren’t friendly.

Get a good team (translation: make sure you use one of the 20-30 individuals that are always in the game).

Raise a ton of cash.

And the most important, master the art of saying nothing.

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