Candidates for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination have become so predictably dull and unimaginative in their campaign communications it was refreshing to see a spark of life come, improbably, from the Tim Pawlenty campaign. The self proclaimed dull guy in the room came up with a clever term that has the potential to do for the 2012 Republican Presidential primaries what “Where’s the Beef?” did for the 1984 Democratic Presidential primaries.
Tired of Colorado Senator Gary Hart’s high minded rhetoric lacking specificity, former Vice President Walter Mondale challenged him to add some substance to his proposals.
“Where’s the Beef?” he asked him directly in one of their televised debates, borrowing the phrase made popular by the wizened grandmother in the Wendy’s television commercials for hamburgers.
Fast forward 27 years to 2011, and Tim Pawlenty (or some clever communications pro on his staff) has just coined a phrase that may have the same effect on Mitt Romney’s campaign “Where’s the Beef” had on Gary Hart’s 1984 campaign.
The term is “ObamneyCare.”
Pawlenty introduced it on Fox News Sunday this morning, and beyond the term itself, I don’t know if much more needs to be said.
Why would Republican primary voters support a candidate who introduced ObamneyCare to Massachusetts when the entire Tea Party movement is focused on repealing the very similar ObamaCare for the entire country?
Many articles in this space have suggested the need for a Voices of the Tea Party e-book that rates the current crop of Republican candidates on the degree to which they support the core values of the Tea Party movement. I suggest that we add to that book a chapter on the candidate’s capability to communicate powerful messages in simple, easy to understand terms and phrases. After, all, “Hope and Change” was a powerful phrase that worked in the 2008 General Election. We’ll need a candidate capable of delivering even more powerful limited government messages in 2012.
Mark Kevin Lloyd is the former President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and currently serves as Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He is also the author of The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District. He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .