Unsolicited Advice for Candidates in Last Florida Debate
Rick Santorum: Relax.
You’re the most conservative candidate in the race, and have outperformed expectations. While the two front-runners attack each other, you have a unique opportunity to stand up for Republican conservative ideas and policies. Focus on Obama and ignore Mitt. Don’t get into back-and-forth with Ron Paul; that helps the frontrunners. Take a hint from Newt, and do what you’ve done to CNN before: resist. (A bit.)
Mitt Romney: Stand for something.
You’re good at attacking Newt Gingrich; what we don’t know is if you’re good at attacking Obama. Saying the president is incompetent or un-American has failed you thus far: fight him on ideas! John McCain rose because he was willing to put at least one principle before politics: winning the war in Iraq. For what higher cause are you willing to risk your career? Romneycare? Find an answer, quickly.
Ron Paul: Be a team player.
We know your views on foreign policy are different from those of the other candidates. Some conservatives who agree with you on the size and scope of government might be inclined to overlook those differences, if you weren’t so keen on using them to trash the party whose nomination you are seeking. Unless you want to re-elect Barack Obama, realize which side you’re on and try not to destroy it.
Newt Gingrich: Have fun.
You won South Carolina, and suddenly you put on a serious face. It didn’t help you in the first Florida debate, and it’s not helping you in the polls. Let Mitt be the serious one, and entertain the audience that came to hear you--whether they can applaud or not. You’re vastly more likable when you’re less defensive and you focus on telling the truth about Obama’s failures and America’s potential for renewed success.