Republican Campaign Strategies: All About Family Ties


Mitt Romney is just one of a few politicians who seem more focused on tugging heartstrings than politics. (Courtesy of Mitt Romney Campaign)


Mitt Romney is just one of a few politicians who seem more focused on tugging heartstrings than politics. (Courtesy of Mitt Romney Campaign)

Every day my roommate turns on CNN to check the latest news regarding the Republican primaries. Or debates. Or whatever it is team red has going on. She’s a political science major, and as such, it’s her job to stay up-to-date with political news. I rely on this roommate for the latest developments involving the Bloomberg office, the White House and worldly affairs. Politics is a mystery to me, and she is my bridge to that world.

However, with politics taking over the news for quite some time now, thanks to all these primaries and debates, even I have begun to take note. Unlike my politically-minded roommate, I don’t actually follow these debates for political reasons. In all honesty, I don’t really like anyone in politics. I think they all have some fishy, ulterior, self-serving motive. But it’s hard to ignore politics when those annoying albeit entertaining political campaign ads interrupt my evening with Alex Trebek and “Jeopardy.”

The more I see these campaign commercials, the more laughable I find them. It’s rare to find an ad that actually expounds upon a candidate’s qualifications for office. The majority of ads play out more like Hallmark commercials. I’m surprised the voiceovers on them don’t rhyme and end in “Sincerely, Your Next President.”

I want my next president to be someone who can handle war, the economy and basically everything else that’s thrown at him. If he can handle marriage and kids, well, kudos, but I’m not impressed. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn’t about to confront you at a PTA meeting.

My favorite ad so far has been Rick Santorum’s. In it, he plays football with his sons and holds his special needs daughter on his lap on his front porch. Great, so the guy thinks he’s Tom Brady, but how is that relevant? I’ll admit I think it’s strange when someone dislikes football, but then again, I grew up in a home where the Monday Night Football song was something of a bedtime lullaby.

I really don’t care one bit if my president knows the difference between a touchdown and field goal. So when I see Santorum throwing the pigskin around with his boys, my first thought isn’t, “He’d make a great president,” it’s, “I wonder if he’s an AFC or an NFC fan.” Such information is hardly relevant to knowing how to run a country.

Next up, why does Santorum single out his special needs daughter in the video? I can’t help but question his motives. Is her presence supposed to make him more qualified to be president?

Everyone criticized Sarah Palin for joining as John McCain’s running mate because she, too, has a special needs child. But with Santorum, it somehow shows he has family values. Yet millions of people have special needs children. You don’t see them using their children to get ahead in the world. Santorum’s ad should be setting him apart in other, politically significant ways.

The point of campaigning is to win the support of voters. In order to win support, politicians should be showing how they’re qualified to run a country, not how they’re qualified to run a family. Mitt Romney likes to show off his children at his campaign rallies. It’s not hard to find the five strapping J. Crew models, aka. his five sons, standing behind him onstage. Between their polos and dazzling white smiles, I imagine they’d successfully intimidate any world leader set on taking down the U.S. Nobody wants to cross a Lacoste model.

My favorite, though, is Newt Gingrich. I hail from South Carolina, the state that just voted for Gingrich in its primary. Oh, I got such a kick out of watching Newt and his lovely wife saunter about town. I like how Newt’s (we’re on a first-name basis) ads tell us about his belief in family values. Well, maybe by family values he means multiple families. He’s on his third wife I believe. Maybe he’s just spreading the love.

If I want a family man to run for president, I’d just elect my Dad. But I don’t want a family man (my apologies, Pops). I want a skilled politician, capable of making life or death decisions in minutes and who doesn’t make the United States look laughable.

Show me a candidate who’s willing to run for president without hiding behind his family’s Christmas card, and I might just elect him (or her!). Otherwise, I’m going to have to side with Ron Paul, who reminds me of my high school history teacher. And that’s probably not a good reason to elect my country’s future leader.