Do they have a command of the issues? If they don't have a basic understanding of the issues here, then they probably don't when they go door-to-door or hit donors up for money or push for support in front of other audiences.
Do they have a particular theme a voter can latch onto? Specific issues come and go. Will the people in the audience say to themselves, "liberal, conservative, weirdo, incompetent, leader, taxes" etc. Poltical campaigns are almost like a word association game at a party. Voters like to have a label on someone before they vote. Another way to look at it, every good song has a "hook" that gets people to want to hear it again. So do candidates.
Does the candidate tend to ramble on into completely unrelated topics in an incoherent manner? Their campaign will, too, and you can put that person down as a loser.
Did the candidate say something stupid? If you see Waukesha Freeman editor Bill Yorth walk out of the room cell phone in hand right after your candidate said something, that's not a good sign. That's the front page being re-written.
Do they sound like they are going to win, or that they can win? It's an intangible, a gut feeling. Some candidates have it, some don't. Of course, having a strong campaign organization behind you tends to fuel a candidate's confidence. A candidate who is worried too much about what is going on in the campaign office is one that won't look well at a candidate forum.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Things To Watch For
James Wigderson over at the Library and Pub has a list of things to watch for when listening to candidates speak at meet and greets. Whether the race is in a quiet Republican backwater like Waukesha or a vibrant Progressive city like Evansville the points he makes are relevant. They speak to a candidate's competence and capability. I reprint his list here for your consideration.