Republicans Need A Clear, Simple Message To Appeal to Undecided Voters: By MICHAEL LARRICK

Tuesday August 31, 2004

The presidential election is to be decided by those voters who have yet to make up their minds. Who are they, and how do you get them to vote for George Bush? 

I believe these voters are largely honest and practical citizens. They are concerned about our involvement in Iraq and national security. They care about the environment and jobs. They expect that their children will receive a decent education and have a chance to compete and succeed. 

The Republican National Convention needs to speak to these good folk by keeping it simple, direct, and by making sense. Give them a choice of black or white, not Kerry’s 40 shades of gray. 

They have already heard that Germany, France, Russia, England and even John Kerry thought there were weapons of mass destructions in Iraq. Yes, repeat it one more time and tell them about the flaunting of U.N. sanctions, etc. Make the war more personal. Congratulate the Iraqi soccer team and all the Iraqi athletes who no longer have to compete with the fear of being locked up, beaten and even killed for a poor performance, as were the conditions when Saddam’s son Uday Hussein was the “athletic director.” Welcome these athletes and all Iraqi citizens to the free world. 

Speak to the good women of America about the horrific conditions under which most of their sisters in the Islamic world exist. Ask them to look at their daughters and imagine them covered in cloth from head to toe, denied an education and living their lives as little more than slaves in service to the men. Explain to them that raising the status of women brings benefit to all of society. Women’s education is key because as the literacy rates rise, the birth rates fall and the first steps out of ignorance and poverty are taken. Gender equality initiates change economically, politically, and finally culturally.  

Showcase the most progressive achievement of Iraq’s new constitution, a mandate that 25 percent of the legislature be women. This ascent of the status of women in an Islamic nation and the planting of the seed of democracy in Iraq is the beginning of the end for the tyrannical regimes of the Middle East. Make no mistake; we are in a culture war. George Bush and our brave men and women have taken the fight to the enemy and the fighting is fierce because the Muslim extremists know that if they lose the battle of Iraq, they lose the culture war and their dream of an Islamic world. 

Address their concerns about the environment and job creation. Explain how, if we signed on to the Kyoto Treaty, U.S. manufacturing would be greatly restricted while large green house gas producing countries like China, India, and Brazil would be completely exempt. This would do great damage to our economy without doing much good for the environment. There is great debate over the cause of, or the legitimacy of “climate change.” Over the past 3,000 years the Earth’s temperature has fluctuated, due to natural causes, over ranges much larger than that predicted to cause global warming. As has been the case in recent years, technologies will continue to develop which will clean up our environment without us having to go back to the horse and buggy. 

Please, allow protesters to be seen and heard. Interview the rank and file. They typically come across as very angry and in nearly every case are unable to coherently articulate their position. This does not play well in Peoria. 

Kerry must be exposed for what he is, a man who thinks of himself first and foremost, a man who during 20 years in Congress has not exhibited the leadership quality needed to guide even one piece of legislation with his name on it past the president’s desk. The public already sees him as a flip-flopper and this image should be reinforced. He is not talking about his voting record because he has the most liberal voting record in Congress. Kerry has chosen to run as a war hero and that choice may be his undoing. There is no need to mention the Purple Heart and medal mess, that has a life of its own, but if John McCain attempts to discredit the brave war heroes who oppose Kerry, it should become an issue at the convention. It will not hurt, when talking about health care, to link John Edwards and his band of brothers, personal injury lawyers, to the obscene rise in medical cost due to malpractice lawsuits which the Democrats refuse to place a cap on and is a major stumbling block on the road to affordable health care. These issues will play in Peoria. 


Michael Larrick is a Berkeley resident and a registered Republican.h