09/08/11 — GOP battle: Don't forget, front-runners -- it really is about substance, not flash

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GOP battle: Don't forget, front-runners -- it really is about substance, not flash

More than a few people have said over the past few weeks that the 2012 presidential election is the Republicans' contest to lose.

And rest assured, if there was ever a party capable of snatching another defeat out of the jaws of victory, this is the one.

So how does the party make sure it has a chance?

Simple, really, stick to the principles that brought you to the dance -- and make sure that there are plenty of ideas and solid proposals that interest voters.

It is the same lesson most parents try to teach their children -- be who you are, be honest with those around you and don't count on a flashy exterior to get you friends that will be around for more than a day.

Slow, steady and believable will win this race.

So, if the Republicans stick to what Americans want to see -- a sane, reasoned and tough policy on spending, with honest evaluations of what this country needs to get its employment numbers and economy back on track, they will be one step closer to the Oval Office.

But there is a catch.

And it is really the same one Democrats will also have to wrangle this election season.

Slogans and fancy speeches will not win votes this time around -- and neither will stupid double talk.

Voters are looking for real -- someone who is not a spin master, someone who can present solid ideas that suggest that leadership is not foreign to them.

They want someone they can trust, not a catch phrase. They want sanity and reason, not extremes either way.

So, for many of the Republican candidates, the advice amounts to think before you speak. Getting headlines or engaging in boring name-calling is not going to win you any points.

And, by the way, same to you, Mr. President.

The campaign is still early. There are many wrinkles to iron out.

But after the first debate the message is clear.

Voters aren't going to fall for any easy riders this time around.

It is go hard for substance or go home.

Published in Editorials on September 8, 2011 10:40 AM