published Monday, November 12th, 2012

Robin Smith: Candidates or causes?

By Robin Smith

After an all-consuming election cycle, a series of things occur. Congratulations are earned by the winning campaign, the losing campaign reflects in painful hindsight and emotions among the workers of each campaign range from enthusiastic affirmation to frustrated weariness.

Along with many, I watched the graceful concession speech offered by the GOP nominee Mitt Romney. His words reminded us of the need to solve America's serious economic woes and conveyed heartfelt appreciation to family, supporters and our country.

I also watched President Barack Obama continue to promise solutions rooting in the (patently unfair) notions of "fair share" and collective equality, while rhetoric demanding bipartisanship.

While the words on Obama's teleprompter seemed to cover everything, Romney's conciliatory remarks left something unspoken.

As someone who recruited numerous candidates on the local and state level to seek political office, ran too many campaigns to count over the last two decades and served as the face of a state party for a time, Tuesday's election reminded me of valuable lesson that's been proven true across time, election cycles, and wins and losses.

The candidates who best articulate a cause -- and who see themselves as a vehicle to elevate that cause -- are almost always the best candidates. These cause-driven servant leaders are typically focused on the end result that originates from a platform of principles and then collaborates to find a solution.

In contrast, the candidate driven almost exclusively with the hunger to win is a web of personality, a controlling ego thriving on self-regard that calculates tactics and means based on a poll-driven message. Their image transcends any cause.

Both of these candidate profiles may be equally competent, may possess characteristics that are magnetic and charismatic, and may even achieve a measure of success.

In retrospect, the soaring rhetoric of President Obama in his speech after his strong win Tuesday matched all the other empty promises of his first campaign and initial term.

Mitt Romney's very gracious and humble concession speech reminded me of the spent feeling of being in the arena, scrapping it out, putting it all on the line. But later, it occurred to me that nothing in those remarks called for an unshakeable commitment to a limited, Constitutional government that serves its citizens; a renewed call for an exceptional nation that promises equal opportunity not outcomes; or a recognition that the sovereignty and security of America must remain a priority as Al Qaeda is actually expanding its reach.

I had watched a candidate exit stage right with almost half the electorate yearning for a cause that exceeds any partisanship.

The analysis of pundits and experts who've done nothing in politics but read about campaigns continues with declarations that Republicans must rebrand, that Democrats must maneuver for momentum and pontification of Independent voters. The tug of war persists.

Sadly, the fight is really not a battle of ideas, but, instead, a pageant of candidates who appear every few years to prance about the stage of popularity.

A Chattanoogan named Bill Brock served as the Republican National Committee chairman during the slog of the Jimmy Carter economy and as an articulate governor named Ronald Reagan eloquently communicated his message that was poured in the mold of sound principles. The Brock Model set in motion the function of a political organization and mechanics of success.

While many were focused on a rebranding or even renaming of the GOP, then-Chairman Brock observed, "We don't need to change our name; we just need to live up to it." A worthy cause, indeed.

Robin Smith, a consultant at Rivers Edge Alliance, is a wife and mother living in Hixson. She served as chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009.

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Maybe you should have learned from Romney about being graceful.

Or maybe you shouldn't have let this election become all-consuming for you.

Here's a clue: You can't have equal opportunity with an uneven foundation.

And you're still petty. Notice your subtle dig at use of a teleprompter. Guess you didn't expect us to notice Romney using one.

Take your snark elsewhere, thank you. You want to know what Republicans need to do? Stop being so negative and hateful. Clean up your act, reform yourself, and work for improving America, not trying to make us fearful of its ruin.

Even Mitt Romney tried to claim that criticism was less important than a good plan. Of course, he was a lying dishonest hypocrite, but take him as an example of behavior to avoid.

And try to get over your hero worship of Ronald Reagan. He was certainly an artful demagogue. But if you're buying his con game this late, maybe you should have paid attention to what resulted from his actions.

November 12, 2012 at 12:31 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Happpy, "take your snark elsewhere," I think not!

Conservatives are allowed to have a voice. You guys have that nut case with crayons, and conservative voices are allowed. Nay Nay, we are keeping Robin Smith.

Fearful of ruin, are you kidding? As a fiscal conservative, I feel as though my son's high school math class is playing Econ 101 with catastrophic stakes with an inept Jimmy Carter administration in control. That is fear.

The Dems are oblivious to the fact that our debt exceeds 100 percent of the GDP or $16 Trillion, and the solution is the tax rich more. Or, the most ridiculous solution to do another stimulus. They are absurd. When the economic ship is sinking, I throw the rope to a capitalist, not a community organizer. We are in deep trouble.

Yes, Ronald Reagan is an icon to conservatives, as Bill Clinton is to progressive Dems. You should not drink so much PR Punch, conservatives are just people, and your message is full of extremism about conservatives. It is just not true.

November 12, 2012 at 6:38 a.m.
Leaf said...

What exactly is the cause of the right wing? All I can discern is a desire to protect the upper class and a yearning to return to the glorious 1950's, when we didn't have to worry about uppity minorities or women.

November 12, 2012 at 4:31 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Leaf, you're right, but I think it would be even more accurate to say that they yearn for a return to the early 1900s, the days of the robber barons and free-wheeling unregulated capitalism.

While the 50s were good for conservatives in the sense that the white male literally reigned supreme (the "traditional" America they're so nostalgic for) it was not so much to conservatives' liking the way business was more reasonably regulated and so many of the New Deal policies were actually working, helping to create a strong middle class and a robust economy. Also, tax rates on the wealthy were incredibly high then (91% at one time) and even Eisenhower justified that rate, saying they needed the revenue from them.

I think that conservatives don't really know what they want, other than little or no government and little or no taxes, or at least little or no taxes on the wealthy. They have no plans and no vision. They dream of some "Little House on the Prairie" utopia that never really existed in the past and it certainly couldn't exist now.

November 12, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

What lost the election for Republicans was the backwards, religious nut-job, hair-brained Akin and Mourdock and similar "conservatives" who, while demanding less government, still demand tyrannical force in issues in personal lives such as drug use, abortion, and consenting sexual practices.

Most people favor fiscal balance, but many intelligent voters saw the religious right and its intrusion in personal decisions as more dangerous than Obama's fiscal problems.

Until the Republican Party sheds the overwhelming influence of those religious fanatics, it will continue to wither, even in the so-called Bible Belt.

November 12, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.

aae1049, you pick your voices poorly then. I'd prefer not to be represented by such petty hypocrisy myself.

Democrats aren't oblivious to anything, no matter how much you repeat that lie, it will remain one. What's true, however Republicans are so obsessed with their own ego and professed virtues that they blind themselves to how they're responsible for much of it, including your sainted Reagan.

You aren't going to fix the country with austerity, or with yet more wars, nor by an endless wave of tax cuts. And you may think that the poor are the people to tax, but I disagree. And when the Republican candidate blindly condemns a segment of the population in a non-factual and easily refuted way...yeah, it says a lot about that party.

November 12, 2012 at 8:50 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Happy, I mean this with all sincerity. You do not understand the conservative platform, because every post is filled with the PR talking points from the Dem party.

November 12, 2012 at 11:51 p.m.

aae1049, I'll say this with sincerity, you don't understand the conservative image, because you never seem to recognize how your parroting of the GOP talking points shows the conservative platform you allege to support for the fraud it is.

If you want to impress me, speak out against your worst elements instead.

I dare you.

Here try to do this: Recognize that your understanding of the liberal platform is based not on reality, but on what lies conservatives mindlessly repeat about it.

November 13, 2012 at 9:32 a.m.
timbo said...

Liberals gloat while you.can.......a repeat of 2010 in 2014. Obama can be successfully because his socialism is just plain illogical. The "rich" as you call them are citizens too, so are men, white people, etc. I know you think minorities and women should be in charge but it will be like a monkey having sex with a football.

I hate to break it too you but explaining Obama's win is simply due to minority racism and buying votes with free stuff. Free food, free health, free college, free condoms, free housing, other words BUYING VOTES. Welcome to Greece.

Conservatives with any balls are not going to roll over for a bunch of free-loading socialist Obama worshipers

November 13, 2012 at 10:26 a.m.

Keep up the bitter tirades timbo, your prejudices are showing.

November 13, 2012 at 12:07 p.m.
timbo said...

Unhappywithnewlplans........Bitter? Did you write that nasty first post on the string or was it an imposter? I guess since you are a liberal everything is OK. You won and your still bitter

Yea, I am upset that our country has taken a sharp left turn.

November 13, 2012 at 4:13 p.m.

Pointing out the nastiness of that teleprompter hypocrisy isn't bitter at all.

Sorry, but you're upset that this country is rejecting your discriminatory agenda, and it's not at all nasty to point that out either.

November 13, 2012 at 4:25 p.m.
aae1049 said...


Your posts are hollow and lack sustainace. You ridculue conservatives adn their platform, but never mention the details of speciafically what dis

November 13, 2012 at 9:13 p.m.

aae1049, your complaints lack authenticity, since you criticize me, who opposes you and everything you stand for, but are silent when it comes to the conduct of those who are on your side.

Start policing your own, including yourself, since I remember quite a few posts where you engaged in name-calling, then maybe I'll be concerned about your criticisms.

But since you don't speak out, nor have you expressed regret for your own conduct, well, your inauthentic protests are like when Mitt Romney complained about receiving criticisms himself, yet never acknowledged his own history of negative attack advertisements.

November 13, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.
aae1049 said...

I make no apologies for being conservative. You write, that "who opposes you and everything you stand for."

Please be more specific, what do I stand for that offends you?

Why do you hate so much?

November 13, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.

I think you misapprehend my words, as that phrasing? That's reflecting your thinking of me, namely as an antagonist to you. In other words, that's your perception, rather than my personal standing.

I should have been more clear in my wording.

And yes, that is how you act. Notice your utter silence to the many conservative representatives who are rather full of hate.

Why do you never challenge them?

What explains the silence?

I know what my answer has been.

The ball's in your court.

November 14, 2012 at 12:29 a.m.
bret said...

Robin Smith is simply upset that the President didn't make his remarks wearing "traditional Muslim garb" as she once falsely accused him of wearing.

I will agree that Romney made a very humble concession speech. It is too bad that the guy who made that speech wasn't the same guy who was running as the candidate. Had Romney simply decided to be himself, rather than trying to tack all the way to the right to appease the crazies in his party like Robin Smith and her tea party ilk, he would have likely been making inauguration plans today. Of course, it didn't take Mitt long to reveal his true character, as he blamed his defeat yesterday on the the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people who apparently only voted for Obama so they could receive "gifts."

Robin Smith writes about Candidates and causes, but her conclusions are exactly backwards. Mitt Romney lost because he had no cause other than to be elected President. He would say anything to anybody to achieve that goal, even if it contradicted what he had said, years, months, days or even minutes before. He was simply a candidate without a soul.

President Obama was the President and his cause has always been the same ... to move America forward from the mess the Republicans left us. The people have once again entrusted him to do the job for the next four years. We should rebuke the partisan politics that Robin Smith embodies, and get behind our President and work together to solve America's problems. We need more President Obamas and fewer Robin Smiths.

November 16, 2012 at 12:38 p.m.
aae1049 said...


Campaigns win or lose on strategy and networking..... Obama has been running for reelection for years and won on a better ground campaign, not on a platform. "Soul" indeed, that is comical, and for the dreamers that ignore the real process.

There is no question Pres. Barrack Hussein Obama does indeed have a belief system based in Islam, or Barry Soetoro. How do we end up with Barry that becomes Barrack Hussein, really absurd?

The fact is this state has a Republican Governor, Super Majority House and Senate. Democrats don't even have to show up for legislative sessions anymore. This is a conservative state, and conservatives have a voice in media, called the right side of the paper.

Get over yourself.

November 16, 2012 at 8:52 p.m.
Facts said...

I don't know Robin Smith, but she must really be close to hitting the nail on the head because so many "progressive" individuals hate her. Robin Smith, keep going strong! You shatter the picture of what a woman is to the liberals: you don't want to murder babies-you're a working mom; you are married-big problem there; you don't cry for someone to take care of you because you're successful on your own; you reference your love of God, who's definitely not welcome in the world of Democrats; and you seem pretty smart. Again, keep going strong!

November 17, 2012 at 9:04 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Facts, That is correct.

The DemThon playground in Little Chicago does not embrace conservative voices. Tough! They better get use to it.

Robin Smith is our Rock Star! and don't you Barry Sotoreo huggers forget it.

November 17, 2012 at 10:40 a.m.

Keep fooling yourself that the opposition is a sign of virtue.

It's a tempting thought, no doubt, but it's a perilous one.

But Facts? Wow, the baby-murder accusation? Do you know how far that is from the facts?

No, wait, you don't care. You'd rather go with the lies. Yeah, go ahead, continue your support for the Allen West's, Robin Smith's, Joe Walsh's and Michelle Bachmann's of the Conservative movement.

November 17, 2012 at 10:43 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Don't you be saying nutin bad about Michelle Bachmann! Interesting, the Dems always attack conservative women, Sarah Palin, Bachmann, Robin Smith. Dems hate successful women?

November 17, 2012 at 11:44 p.m.
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