My last bit of ghost-writing for a candidate was in 2012, and though my career as a secret scribbler stretches back to Richard Nixon’s The Real War in 1980, I’m pledged to neutrality this year until the GOP has a nominee. Then I’d be pleased, for free, to work on the Cleveland convention acceptance speech, just to make sure the nominee hits the right Jimmy Brown, Brian Sipe, Rocky Colavito and Austin Carr notes along with the appropriate Northeast Ohio salutes to the by-then world champion Cavs and first place Indians as well as to the prospects of new Browns quarterback Jared Goff.
But I can still offer via this page a line or two or three for each of the major contenders left standing. Though many of them have pretty good deliveries and all have delivered a rousing podium pounder at least a few times, only Donald Trump’s “make America great again” and Marco Rubio’s “a new American century” have wrapped their entire campaigns in a phrase. Some suggestions for the others (in alphabetical order, of course):
Jeb Bush: “A serious man for the most serious challenge we have faced since 9/11, and before that the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Berlin Crisis.” This seems to me to be Jeb’s best hope: To get voters to focus on the fact that there will be scores of days when their attention is focused on the Oval Office as wholly and as desperately as it was on Paris and San Bernadino. Jeb needs to reframe the election, in a hurry.
Chris Christie: “In a world of evil bastards and butchers who care nothing about the slaughter of millions, you need a very tough, very experienced sheriff, one who will be believed by those very fanatics when he says ‘that far and not an inch farther.'” Yeah, that’s outside the ordinary norms of American political speech, but so is Christie’s personality.
Ted Cruz: “We have a Constitution. It works if the man in the Oval Office believes in it, will live by it, will uphold his oath to do so, so help them God.” There, in a nutshell, is the senator’s base message. We don’t need wise men and law professors, Elizabeth Warren and her Harvard faculty buddies, or Warren Buffet and the Silicon Valley’s best, brightest and unbelievably lucky guys and gals. We need the Framers, right now.
Carly Fiorina: “The challenge facing this country is so much more complex than anything any of these other candidates have faced except they don’t even know it. How could they? They have never been close to it, except Jeb, who simply isn’t clicking, and Hillary who blew it, terribly, twice, because this is beyond her skill set. This isn’t an easy job, people. It is the toughest in he world. As tough as it has ever been and made tougher because I am coming in after President Gumby. But I am tough enough. Smart enough. Resolute enough. And I can get it done.”
John Kasich: “Look. This is serious stuff. I have been around it my whole life. I can put the Americans at each other’s throats back in the same boat, pulling the same oars, just as we did after 9/11, just as I did in Ohio, and just as I did when Bill Clinton was president, I ran the Budget Committee and we actually balanced the budget. I can get this done. I’ve done it at every level. I’ll do it again. I’ll bring America together and together we will get it done.”
Word limits on columns prevent me from helping out my friends Rick Santorum, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul or Dr. Ben Carson. But whoever wins, send me a DM. The pen’s available, and it will be for free.
This column was originally posted on WashingtonExaminer.com.