Spit and polish…and nothing else?


Increasingly, I’ve been wondering if national politicians are anything BUT talking heads (and money).

It takes ungodly sums of money to run a national campaign. (Obama’s spent almost $300 MIllion so far, and Romney’s spent a little more than half that). I can’t even imagine what all that money looks like (advertising, mostly). You wonder what they would be capable of if their staff was redirected to raise money for a worthwhile charity; like Habitat for Humanity, United Way or Communities in Schools. Shoot, the total amount raised this year could completely revolutionize education. Can you imagine what school districts could do if they had constituents who could be counted on to give and give and give, like politicians? And, for the love of Mike, isn’t the work schools do far more important than some guy in a suit with an American flag on his lapel, or some sharp-dressed and sharper-tongued woman – promising change we can believe in, or the “right” kind of change or some other promise nobody but the candidates themselves believe will actually come true?

And then there is the talking head. Is there actually any substance to these people? They are surrounded by people telling them the right thing to say and how to say it in a compelling way. People in my field (even though I would be so out of my depth with any of them) make a living “advising” others around us (read=influencing behavior). Those with scruples are working for the best message; one that will clearly explain the heart and soul of an issue. There are many, though, who seem to be motivated by something else. What that something is, exactly, I don’t know – having never been IN that world. It’s so easy to sit back and throw stones. (trust me, I’ve been pelted with rocks by people who don’t know me OR what I do)

My argument that these politicians are all talking heads and they are so message and talking point driven, you can almost see the cards flipping in their eyes when they are asked a question. People (like me) make a living anticipating questions and preparing for interviews. Everything they can think of to keep their candidate from saying something stupid; a monumental task, apparently. This article, from the Chicago Tribune, talks about some of the more memorable gaffes from this campaign (so far).

Two of my favorites, from both sides. *rolling eyes*

It seems to me that, when these guys go “off message,” they can’t stop themselves from saying something stupid. It’s probably the only time we get to see anything resembling the real guy or lady under all that spit and polish.

I’m not saying it’s not a good idea to have people around you who will help you craft a message. (shoot, that would be advocating the end of my career field) I think it’s a great idea to have somebody who makes a living thinking about words and the affect they have on people. But it’s important that the person uttering those words have some input – the words must be their own. Otherwise, you get the talking points and hollow messages that get screwed up the minute the person behind the curtain stops pushing the buttons.

Hm…. Something to think about this voting season. Are you giving money and voting for the guy/gal you like/believe in, or are you voting for the spin doctors behind him/her?



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