The RPs Debate Presidential Leadership: Rod Jetton Responds

Rod Jetton’s First Response:

[John Y.’s Provocation The RP’s Rebuttal #1; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #2; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #3; Krystal Ball’s Rebuttal #4; John Y.’s First Defense]

Great points, John Y. I really was not taking shots at you for having feelings. Clearly, I need to soften up a bit myself.   I very much enjoyed your post and definitely can relate to switching from running the race to just coaching. Although, I still like to tell everyone how fast I used to be.


But on Romney, I think the “he’s out of touch, or not one of us”  analysis is too deep. I’m not saying in a general election independent voters may feel that way, but Republican primary voters are simply wary of a guy who said he was pro-choice and OK with gun control.

Additionally, his Mormon faith is hard for many evangelicals to swallow. Most of us have been taught all our lives that Mormonism is a cult. So for many evangelicals, getting past that takes a lot of work. They will vote for anyone who is even close to their views before picking a Mormon.

Maybe some voters feel it makes him different from them as you and Krystal noted, but most primary voters who have a problem with his religion will admit he is great at business, and he is good on the issues but…
I think they just have a hard time getting over the Mormon thing.  As for general election voters, I’m sure the Mormon issue may cause some of them concern, but I don’t feel his religion is a very big concern with most average voters.

I think Krystal’s point on primary voters wondering what he really believes — and is he just saying this now because it will help him win the election — was right on. Activists want to follow a candidate whom they believe knows exactly what he/she believes, and is willing to fight for those beliefs.   Romney has a hard time conveying passion and force.

We all joke about how perfect he talks, looks and runs things, but in the end I don’t know if average voters care. Let’s be honest:  The voters who decide these elections don’t follow any details or activities of the campaigns  Let me give you two examples.

My first wife hated politics. She was a good American and always voted, but she didn’t follow the campaigns. In 2004, I was watching a news show about the Bush/Kerry matchup. It was early in the race, and I think Kerry had a slight lead in the polls at that time. As a commercial came on, I turned to her and said, “I don’t know if Bush can beat Kerry, he sure sounds good. Bush may be a one termer like his dad.”

She asked, “Who is running against him?”  I answered, “The guy that was just on TV, John Kerry.” She quickly and calmly stated, “There is no way he will win.”

I couldn’t help but ask her why a woman who didn’t even keep up with campaigns and had just learned he was running knew he couldn’t win.

When I did, she said, “He looks odd. His face is too long like Eddie Munster. He just doesn’t look enough like a president.”

Can you believe that?  No polling, no studying the issues or demographics or the electoral map. One look and she called the race correctly.

Flash forward to Tuesday night, and I’m all jacked up watching the election results from Iowa. It’s close; and I’m switching news channels to keep up with the latest results. My new wife was already in bed, and I went in to update her a couple of times with the latest results. After the second update she told me, “I really don’t care about any of that and I don’t need the updates.”

I was shocked. I said that this is a crazy close race that could have a huge impact on who the next President of the United States will be. At that point, she said something that all of us political folks hear from all our friends who vote, but don’t care about politics: “I don’t care about that stuff. I can ask you, and you can tell me who I should vote for.”


The next morning I guess she cared enough about who the next President would be, because she asked: “Who won that campaign you were watching last night?”

I told her: “Romney by 8 votes, it was the closest one in history.”

She had seen Newt Gingrich giving his concession speech before she went to bed, and she added, “Well at least the white haired guy didn’t win.”

That comment — coming from someone who didn’t know the white haired guy’s name — flabbergasted me, so I had to ask why she didn’t like Newt.

You won’t be surprised to hear what she thought: “He looked so mean.”

That made me chuckle, so she asked what I was laughing about, and I really didn’t know how to say, “You crazy uninformed voters drive me nuts!”  Instead, I just turned and looked her in the eyes and said, “You’re amazing, that’s why the commentators said he lost.”

At that point she looked at me with a smile on her face that told me she was thinking what a waste of time it was to keep up with politics.

Can you believe that? Somehow they just look at these guys and know.

Before all the women reading this get mad at me for these stories, I want to say that I’m sure there are guys who don’t follow politics and pick this stuff up too.  But I haven’t met them yet.  Most of my guy friends love politics, so I only have stories of my wives.

Evidently, I pick women that don’t care about politics. Ha ha.

Romney needs to find a way to show more conviction. But when everyone wonders if every move you make is just to get votes, it makes showing conviction and passion on the issue a very tricky thing to pull off.

He has to hope the other candidates keep stumbling and his machine keeps chugging along until he wins the primary. Then, if the economy is still a mess, folks will want a change like in 2008, and this time he will be the new guy.

The above statement makes it sound like I think Romney is just a lucky bystander in this whole process, but the only reason he is in the leader’s position right now is hard work. He and his organization have been working hard for a very long time and that always seems to help win campaigns. Sure, you have to catch a break or two and have the wind in your sails to win, but if you don’t have the boat in the water or the sail out, the wind won’t help you much.

Obama showed us all how to take advantage of the political winds, and this year he will have to do some master sailing to survive our economy and the mistakes of his first term.


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