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Thursday, October 20, 2005

How Lucy Gets Her Groove Back

It is no secret that Lucy Baxley's gubernatorial campaign seems to have lost some traction over the last few months. Polls in January showed her easily defeating Don Siegelman in the Democratic primary as well as leading the Republicans in general election matchups. Yet anecdotal evidence and recent polls have revealed that her leads have not only disappeared, but that she has some ground to make up to even make it to the general election. The recent Survey USA poll of the Democratic primary (which shows Baxley down 30 points to Don Siegelman) should have opened some eyes among Baxley's supporters.

Since I haven't seen much new from Baxley's camp in a while, I thought I'd offer the Lieutenant Governor my unpaid (unless she offers) advice on getting her campaign back on track.

MEMORANDUM
TO: Lucy Baxley
FROM: AlabamaElections
Re: Making You Governor

1) Find your cause: I know the folksy stuff about values and common sense has gotten you this far, but I don't think it'll take you to the top. You have to define yourself on a set of issues and fast. Here's my suggestion: Come out strong for a new constitution.

Everyone in Alabama knows that the current constitution is too long and cumbersome. There are groups all over the state dedicated to revamping the constitution who would be thrilled to line up behind a viable candidate supporting their cause. They would provide an already established infrastructure of volunteers, money, and attention that would almost instantly revitalize your campaign. Of course there are issues about how to reform it, and how it will affect education, and the possibility of a tax hike. Those concerns are all legitimate, but they don't matter that much. Work out those details with your advisers, then come out guns blazing as Alabama's best hope for a new constitution.

There will of course be detractors (mostly on the right) who will attack the possibility of a new constitution as a way to raise taxes. But, that's ok. Attacks from a vocal out-of-the-mainstream minority won't do any harm. Also, this would put the other candidates back on their heels. Probably only Roy Moore would oppose it altogether. Riley and Siegelman would most likely give a "no, but" or "yes, if" type response. All of a sudden you are transformed from the candidate who doesn't really stand for anything, to the only one with the guts to stand up and lead for change. Constitutional reform gives your campaign a centerpiece, a cause. Quit riding in parades, and start leading a crusade.

2) You're No Blanco: Don Siegelman showed uncharacteristically poor political sense when he publicly implied that Alabama voters won't trust a woman to respond effectively to an emergency or crisis. Just because Don was dumb to say it out loud, doesn't mean he doesn't have a point. Your campaign seemed to really lose its steam after Hurricane Katrina as Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco was widely seen to have been ill-prepared and in over her head. It's certainly possible that the Alabama public, consciously or not, sees you as a potential Blanco. That's not really fair, but this is politics.

So fight back. Turn this potential weakness into a strength. Develop a comprehensive readiness plan. Talk to anyone possible (federal, state, county, municipal) who will talk to you about emergency management. Camp out on the Alabama coast while the rebuilding is taking place. Use any power your office has to help speed it along. If FEMA or state officials are dragging their feet on anything, publicly (and loudly) call them on it. Develop a command of the issues, demonstrate a passion for the cause, and show the strength and leadership to make yourself heard. Instead of having voters wonder whether or not you'll be "another Blanco" when they walk into the voting booth, go ahead and prove to them you aren't.

3) Take it up a notch: You acknowledged interest in the being governor early on and have been officially in the race for months. That's fine. You've been able to raise money and get more attention than you would have otherwise. But somewhere in this perpetual campaign, you've lost some spark and let things pass you by. It's time to reassert yourself.

Run a week or two of commercials introducing yourself to the voters. I am not talking about the type of ads where they start by showing the house you were born in and end with you reading to your grandkids. Talk straight to the camera. Tell the voters who you are and why you're running. No cliches or pablum. And end it with an offer to send them a pamphlet explaining your plan to reform the constitution like Bob Riley did with his education plan in 2002 (except don't use the horse). You've been raising money for months , now use a little of it. This doesn't have to be a major ad buy, just enough for the average voter to see it once or twice.
Many voters already know you and are comfortable with you. Nothing prescribed here should change that. But there are also many voters who are either unfamiliar or haven't formed an opinion. These three steps would go a long way in introducing (or re-introducing you) to the public, neutralizing your perceived weaknesses, and starting the process of turning them into strengths.

We're not trying to create a "new" Lucy, or even benching the "old" Lucy. But it is time for voters to see the Real Lucy.

30 Comments:

Anonymous JamesB said...

This is dynamite, hope she reads it.

4:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget the new constitution stuff -- people just don't care. A winning campaign msut be based on issues that grab the voters' hearts and minds, and a new constitution isn't it.

I'm someone who thinks our present constitution is a joke and who supports a new one. Having attended forums on the issue, however, I'm convinced that Bubba doesn't give a rip because Bubba doesn't see how a new constitution would markedly improve his life.

5:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This makes alot of sense. I thought Lucy was a shoe in to beat Siggy, so hopefully she'll take this advice and get back on track.

7:22:00 AM  
Anonymous BaxleyBabe said...

I emailed this post to Lucy's campaign. I figure if several of us email it to them it might get there attention. So if you are wanting to see lucy as our next gov, send her this link at lucy@lucybaxley.com .

7:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucy has a big problem - an elephant in the room, if you will (and not the GOP elephant). Her problem is she plain and simply has NO RECORD. It would also appear that she is CLEARLY UNQUALIFIED - remember, she has zero power and no real responsibility as lite gov. She will be ripped to shreds when people ask her hard real life questions. Platitudes don't work anymore; she can't cut it. I have seen the deer-in-the-headlights look she gets when anyone asks her even the most inane policy questions.

11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

consitutional reform? who gives a flip. Howabout a platform on re-compiling the Code? Re-alphabetizing the state archives? Switching municipal libraries from dewey-decimal to library of congress indexing?

10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Jan said...

I'm looking for a candidate that DOES support the rewriting of the constitution as well as adding Initiative and Referendum. Who ever that is, gets MY vote.

This is the MOST important issue in the election. FORCE your polititians to support it and if they don't, vote for one that will.

This is the MOST important issue in the 2006 election.

Give the POWER BACK to the PEOPLE where it belongs. Bring Alabama into the 21st century! Take a look at Florida! Aren't we tired growing a little tired of being backwards?

11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucy Baxley has no record, little formal education and adversity to making tough stances or decisions.

With these weaknesses, she is undersized for the mighty job of Governor.

Baxley is the Alabama equivalent of Maryland's former lt. governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D), who ran and lost the race for Governor in 2002 due to sheer ineptitude on the campaign trail.

1:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lucy baxley should start a self help group for women with big egos and no brains, then she could invite don siegelman to speak them about how that leads to corruption. Alabama does not need anymore baxleys or siegelmans and alabama democrats will pay the price at the polls for hoisting these ner do wells up before the people, once again. We are tired of stupidity and corruption. Get it?

11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

new constitution=new taxes

8:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, well maybe some of these big, out-of-state paper companies should be paying the same property taxes as the rest of us.

7:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baxley, who is only where she is today because of her ex-husband's career, would be little more than a lap-dog for Paul Hubbert and the AEA if elected.

She does not have the mental firepower to conceptualize much less articulate to voters how she would specifically restructure Alabama to bring it into the 21st century.

10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know anything about Lucy's politics, what she supports, what she doesn't? I've been looking around on the web but there is little info. I'm trying to make a decision about who to support, and I'd rather not have to vote for a Republican, but Seigelman is out and from what little I have seen about Baxley, she couldn't cut the campaign much less the office! A little direction to any relevant info would be much appreciated.

10:46:00 AM  
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