Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Guest Post by James Copeland: 'How I Would Coach Donald Trump for the Next Debate'

Publisher's Note: This guest post was written by James Copeland, executive director, emeritus, of the National Speech and Debate Association. He was a member of the Associated Press Presidential Debate Evaluation Panel, 1976-2000. He is the author of Cross Examination in Debate (1983) and has advised gubernatorial and congressional candidates about campaign debates.

Donald Trump, like Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan, is a leader, not a man of study.  Men of study like Bob Dole, Jimmy Carter and Al Gore were good with briefing books and detail.  But briefing books and practice debates are not the best way for Mr. Trump to prepare.

Preparation for the next debate must be based upon Trump's considerable skills. His greatest skill was exhibited on “The Apprentice”, where Trump evaluated and judged the arguments of others. Trump is a counter puncher and this skill can be honed to create retorts to opposition arguments.

The retort is the most effective and dramatic argument that can be posed in a debate: It takes the PREMISE of the opponent's attack and turns it back against the accuser.
Example #1: [Premise: Transparency]
Secretary Clinton insists I release my tax returns.
I insist she release the transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street firms, which paid her thousands of dollars in speaking fees. How do we know what she promised them? She demands I provide transparency, yet she provides none.

Example #2: [Premise: Honesty]
Secretary Clinton accuses me of not being truthful when I say I did not support the Iraq war.
My opinion was that of a private citizen. I accuse Secretary Clinton of not being truthful about the Benghazi attack. Publicly she blamed the attack on an anti-Muslim video. Privately she tweeted her daughter, Chelsea, that it was a terrorist attack! She demands honesty from private citizens, yet refuses to provide it as a public official.

(NOTE: A retort is NOT a pivot. A pivot tries to dodge an argument, not turn it back on the accuser.)

If I had the honor to coach Mr. Trump I would follow this plan:
1] Mr. Trump should be seated in an executive chair behind a table, like “The Apprentice”
2] Facing Mr. Trump about ten feet away should be two side by side podiums.
3] At one podium is the Clinton surrogate; at the other a Trump surrogate.
4] Staff will have prepared a list of Clinton personal attacks on Trump and a retort for each.
5] Staff will have prepared a list of Trump issues, Clinton's rebuttal and Trump's retort.
6] Each surrogate will be scripted with the material prepared by staff.
7] The surrogates will act out one attack or issue at a time. THEN
8] MR. TRUMP WILL REFINE EACH RETORT ON CONTENT AND WORDING .
9] MR. TRUMP MAY DEMONSTRATE HOW HE WOULD SPEAK THE RETORT.
10] Roger Ailes should attend each session and privately offer his critique to Mr. Trump.
11] Each session will not last more than one hour (15 minutes for each issue).

For James Copeland's assessment of the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, see this post on Bearing Drift:  "Champion Debate Coach Assesses Trump-Clinton Performances."

Monday, September 26, 2016

From the Archives: LP presidential hopeful Gary Johnson calls two-party debates a 'waste of time'

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com on October 21, 2012. The Examiner.com publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to Examiner.com since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

LP presidential hopeful Gary Johnson calls two-party debates a 'waste of time'


With the third and final Democrat-Republican presidential debate approaching, Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, said in an interview that such debates are “a waste of time,” also offering his thoughts about U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa. He also indicated that he may win a large percentage of votes in his native New Mexico.

Johnson, author of the new book, Seven Principles of Good Government, spoke to the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner during a recent campaign stop in Washington, D.C.

Although a social gathering at The Board Room on Connecticut Avenue was meant for Johnson to engage with his supporters and campaign volunteers, he spent the greater part of the evening answering journalists' questions on a wide range of policy issues.

Asked about the value to voters of the debates between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Johnson said they are “just a big waste of time” and that the two participants are like the Lewis Carroll characters “Tweedledee, Tweedledum.”

'State of war'

The former New Mexico governor offered this prediction: If “either one of them get elected, we're going to have a heightened police state. We're going to find ourselves in a continued state of war. Military interventions are not going to stop, and spending and debt [are] going to continue to be unsustainable. At some point,” he concluded, if Obama or Romney is elected, the economy “will collapse.”

In response to a question about radio and television advertising for his campaign, Johnson said he will soon be airing TV commercials “in areas we might actually win, or potentially taking second place” although “probably not” in Washington, D.C., despite that city's small number of Republican voters.

Johnson also predicted his vote totals will be relatively high in some Western states and one Midwestern swing state.

“I think there's opportunity in Nevada,” he said, noting that “something that really has gone unpublicized is in Ohio last week, I was polling at 11 percent.”

That is “probably an aberration,” Johnson conceded, “but nonetheless, all these polling numbers are going up. They're not going down.”

The first-time presidential candidate said he believes it is possible he could win more than 10 percent of the vote in New Mexico, where he served two terms as a Republican governor in a majority-Democrat state.

“I really believe that, I really do,” he said, “and we're not focusing anything on New Mexico. The notion is that we're trying to treat everything equally and see how that pans out but I would have to think that, [given] my experience in New Mexico, I'm really looked at favorably. I really am.”

Libya question

In the foreign policy debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, on October 22, the question of U.S. policy in Libya and reactions to the September 11 murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans will be in the forefront of the discussion, just as it was in the town hall debate at Hofstra University on October 16. Johnson has some strong views on what U.S. policy in that region should be.

“I would pull all of our diplomats out of our embassies” there, he said. “I would not set us up as being targets.”

In the “long term,” the United States and other countries should “take part in what I would hope would be mutual benefit but when I hear that” American diplomats in the region are supposed to be “protecting vital American interests, I just ask rhetorically, out loud, What are vital American interests? Are they propping up the new dictatorship that we deem better than the old dictatorship?”

In response to a question about whether American influence is better projected using soft power than military power, Johnson explained, “that's right. It's walk softly and carry a big stick. That's what [George W.] Bush said but none of that none of that was reality. None of it.”

Suggested Links

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson assesses Romney, Stein, and Goode
Presidential hopeful Gary Johnson on health care, marriage, and Colbert
Libertarian author Brian Doherty compares Ron Paul and Gary Johnson
Constitution Party presidential nominee Virgil Goode talks politics on Labor Day
Libertarian VP nominee Jim Gray reflects on electing judges, Gary Johnson


Monday, September 05, 2016

From the Archives: Former NM Governor Gary Johnson talks about shutdown, surveillance, and Sarvis

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com on October 25, 2013. The Examiner.com publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to Examiner.com since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

Former NM Governor Gary Johnson talks about shutdown, surveillance, and Sarvis

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will be one of the primary speakers on Saturday, October 26, at a rally at the foot of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to protest the expanding surveillance state.

Known as “Stop Watching Us,” the rally at the Capitol Reflecting Pool will also feature such speakers as Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, gay-rights advocate Dan Choi, NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, national security analyst and author Bruce Schneier, and social critic Naomi Wolf. A video in support of the rally features celebrities John Cusack, Phil Donahue, Daniel Ellsberg, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Oliver Stone, and Wil Wheaton.

Protesters are gathering from around the country, with buses carrying them from far-flung places like New York City, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville, Virginia.

'Outrageous'

Two nights before the rally, the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner spoke to Gary Johnson (who was also the 2012 Libertarian nominee for U.S. President) at a fundraising event for his non-profit organization, Our America Initiative.

In the course of the interview, Johnson expressed his outrage at the growth of government surveillance of American citizens and violations of privacy and constitutional protections.

“It's outrageous,” Johnson said, “that 125 billion cell phone conversations have been recorded or are authorized” to be archived for future probes.

“When you find out that a federal judge has said that it's OK for the [National Security Agency] to gather information from 113 million Verizon users,” he complained, “to me that is not the Fourth Amendment, to me that is not due process.”

Instead, it is “some sort of blanket 'government-knows-best'” policy that leads to the government “search[ing] your personal archives” and doing whatever they like with it, without constraints.

“This has got to stop,” Johnson said. “This really has to stop.”

'Chill out'
On another topic of recent concern, the temporary shutdown of the federal government that may recur in the near future, the 2012 presidential candidate explained what he would have said to the nation under those circumstances, if he were president.

“Here is what would have been coming out of my mouth,” Johnson said:

“'Chill out, citizens of the United States. I'm the executive. We're going to pay the bills. There's revenue coming in. We're going to pay the interest on our debt. Social Security checks are going to go out. I'm going to prioritize what's important in government and get it the funding and we'll manage our way through this.'”

Johnson said that his personal philosophy – not being a social conservative while also being “arguably the most fiscally conservative governor” in U.S. history – helped him reach across the aisle and work with a Democratic legislature as a Republican governor.

“I'm going to argue that” a libertarian philosophy like that “is reflective of most Americans and in a state that's two to one Democrat, [like] New Mexico, that resonates” with voters, he said.

Advice to Robert Sarvis
He offered his own experience as advice to Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for governor of Virginia this year.

If Sarvis is elected governor, Johnson said, he “can succeed on looking at issues first and politics last.”

That was “my promise running for governor of New Mexico, and I think I've fulfilled it,” Johnson said, emphasizing the slogan, “Politics last, issues first.”

In addition to speaking at Saturday afternoon's “Stop Watching Us” rally in Washington, Johnson and Sarvis will make a joint appearance that evening at the IOTA Club, 2832 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Suggested Links


Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson assesses Romney, Stein, and Goode
GOP lieutenant governor candidate E. W. Jackson 'certainly used marijuana'
Examiner.com exclusive: Gary Johnson reflects on his first visit to Jefferson's Monticello
Virginia LP governor candidate Robert Sarvis will push for liquor-law reform
LP presidential hopeful Gary Johnson calls two-party debates a 'waste of time'


Sunday, September 04, 2016

From the Archives: Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson to speak in Charlottesville on May 3

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com on April 25, 2010. The Examiner.com publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to Examiner.com since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.


Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson to speak in Charlottesville on May 3

Former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico will give a speech in Charlottesville on Monday, May 3, hosted by the Charlottesville Republican Committee, Albemarle County Republican Committee, and the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia. Governor Johnson will speak at the Northside Library in Albemarle Square at 7:00 p.m.

A triathlete who has climbed Mount Everest, Gary Johnson was elected to two terms as New Mexico's governor after a successful career as an entrepreneur. He is currently honorary chairman of the OUR America Initiative.

CPAC Speech
When he spoke to an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February, Johnson laid out his vision of politics in 21st century America:

“Our politics have failed us in America,” Johnson said. “Our leaders on both sides of the aisle are making things worse for us every year, not better. And the proof is all around us. Take a look at our America today, take a look at the brink of economic collapse that our government has led us to, and tell me that we're busy living the dream. We're not. We're busy getting deeper into debt. We're busy losing the freedom that so many have given their lives to achieve.”

He continued:

“Thomas Jefferson said that it was our patriotic duty to stage a revolution every generation just to kick out the riff-raff. He was right. He understood politicians and politics perfectly. We do need a revolution in America in this generation, an armed rebellion. Let's arm ourselves with common sense. Let's stop spending money we don't have. Let's live within our means. This is our America. How can we justify borrowing money for our retirement and health care and hand the bill to future generations?”

Staying with that Jeffersonian theme, Johnson added:

“Our country is about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let every Member of Congress and the President of the United States take an oath to take on these difficult spending issues that we face and vow that they're not going to be re-elected: understand that they won't be re-elected.”

Presidential Run?
The idea has been floated that Gary Johnson might run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, but currently he is not a candidate for any state or federal office.

According to his official biography:

“As Governor of New Mexico, Johnson was known for his common-sense business approach to governing. He eliminated New Mexico’s budget deficit, cut the rate of growth in state government in half and privatized half of the state prisons.

“Johnson also shifted state Medicaid to managed care (which led to better healthcare by creating a statewide healthcare network that previously did not exist and which saved money) and reduced state employees by over 1000, with no firings. During his term, New Mexico experienced the longest period without a tax increase in the state’s history.

“While in office, Governor Johnson vetoed 750 bills (which was more than all the combined vetoes of the other 49 Governors in the country at the time) and thousands of line item vetoed bills.”

Additional Information
For more information about Governor Johnson's May 3rd lecture in Charlottesville, check out the event page on Facebook. The event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

From the Archives: Constitution Party presidential nominee Virgil Goode talks politics on Labor Day

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com on September 3, 2012. The Examiner.com publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to Examiner.com since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

Constitution Party presidential nominee Virgil Goode talks politics on Labor Day


Former Virginia congressman Virgil Goode is running a populist campaign for President as the nominee of the Constitution Party, but first he has to face a hurdle in his home state, where the Republican Party is challenging the validity of the petitions Goode circulated to place his name on the ballot.

The Republican challenge will be formally presented to the State Board of Elections at the board’s regular meeting on the morning of September 4 in Richmond.

Goode spoke to the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner at the annual Buena Vista Labor Day parade and candidates forum, saying his campaign is preparing a response to the GOP’s attempt to get him off the ballot.

“We’re going to present a response to the State Board on [Tuesday], if they will accept it then,” Goode said.

‘Voters deserve a choice’
The Republican Party of Virginia, he explained, “is challenging the Libertarians and us. It’s really sad. They’re trying to stamp out persons who have differing views and giving the voters a choice. I think voters deserve to have a choice.”

Drawing an analogy, Goode pointed to “the squelching of Ron Paul at the Republican convention” as a similar tactic by the GOP establishment.

In Tampa, he said, Congressman Paul was faced with “changing the rules right when [he] got there after he had already met the rules. He should have had some role; he didn’t.”

Now, he said, “in Virginia they’re trying to get us off the ballot any way they can [but] I hope the State Board will see through what the Republican Party is doing.”

Goode affirmed that the State Board of Elections had found that his campaign did “have sufficient signatures statewide and in every district,” contrary to the assertions being made by Republican lawyers.

Differences with Greens and Libertarians
Unless the Republican challenges are successful, there will be three third-party presidential candidates on the ballot in Virginia: Goode, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.

Goode said he parts company from the other two candidates.

“On social issues we differ significantly,” he said. “I’m pro-life and pro-traditional marriage and I don’t believe either of them are.”

On the other hand, he added, “I’m for balancing the budget now; I think Gary [Johnson] shares that with me.”

Restricting legal immigration
Goode pointed out that he is “the only candidate running for president who recognizes the need for jobs in America to go to American citizens first. I’m calling for a near-complete moratorium on green card admissions into the United States. Last year, for example, we had 1.2 million admitted green card holders. This takes jobs from U.S. citizens. A green card holder can get a job in about any state doing about anything. And those jobs should go to American citizens when unemployment is at 8.3 percent.”

In his speech at the Buena Vista LaborFest, Goode elaborated his stance on immigration, noting that he would maintain the ban on legal immigrants to the United States “until the unemployment rate is below 5 percent.”

Goode’s goals for his presidential campaign are modest and ideologically populist.

“We hope America eventually will wake up and say, ‘We don’t want either the Democrats or Republicans.’”

Both those parties, he explained, “are controlled by multibillionaire interests with the SuperPACs funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to both sides. We’re a grassroots [campaing] and 2012 may be the year that America says, ‘I’m tired of the big money controlling the Republicans and the big money controlling the Democrats [so] I’m going to vote for an ordinary, average citizen running a grassroots, shoe-leather campaign, Virgil Goode.’”

Western strategy
Although his career in politics in Virginia has spanned more than three decades, Goode expects to win more votes in other states.

“I think in some of the western states we’re going to do well. I think in Wyoming we’ll do well. We’ve got some support in Ohio, some support in Florida, so we’re going to do well in a number of states.”

He added that he is “hoping to be on the ballot in New York and get some votes there” and that he is “on the write-in ballot in Texas. I think we’ll get some votes in Texas and North Carolina” where he is also a write-in candidate.

Asked to reveal his preference in the U.S. Senate race in Virginia this year, where former Governors George Allen and Tim Kaine are facing each other, Goode demurred.

“I’ll be voting,” he smiled. “I like one candidate better than the other but my focus right now is on the presidential race and I’m going to be voting for Virgil Goode for president.”

Suggested Links

Libertarian author Brian Doherty compares Ron Paul and Gary Johnson
Presidential hopeful Gary Johnson on health care, marriage, and Colbert
Rasmussen Reports founder discusses opinion trends, future of polling methods
Author David Lampo brings gay-rights message to conservative Republicans
Michael Barone comments on Virginia politics, campaigns, and elections