What are some Reaganesque Reaponses to attacks on youth/inexperience?
Of course Reagan had to defend himself against attacks based on his age but what if the situation is inverted? I'm advising a candidate who's a solid conservative but might get criticism for being young. What's a good answer to swat those attacks away?
Answer by Tom Lindholtz
Sorry, but youth is a necessarily limiting characteristic. It is the simple fact of not having lived long enough to have become experienced in a wide range of situations and circumstances. As Donald Rumsfeld said: There are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. The problem for the young is that the latter category is just very, very large. Perhaps some of the problems of our society and our government are due precisely to our country's infatuation with youth; we've had a lot of "young-ish" leaders in government for the last 50 years. Back when the Founders set age limits for public office -- 35, Pres.; 30, Sen.; 25, Rep. -- that was a lot "older" than today. Back then a man was probably working by the time he was 12 or 14, maybe before, so he had 10-15 years in the work world before he was even eligible to be a congressman. Now, a fresh-faced kid with a Master's in Poli Sci, or a freshly minted JD, and no work experience whatever, is old enough to be a congressman. I see that clearly now (nearly 65). When I was young I was utterly clueless to the point.
Answer by Palaeologus
That's a tough one Bereket. The thing that helped Reagan lighten it up was that it was patently absurd to refer to Mondale as an inexperienced whippersnapper.
You don't want to call your opponent old, unless he's also a young candidate. Even then I'm not sure it's a good idea. In an interview you won't be able control the narrative the way a debater on stage can, and it would be easy for a reporter to make your candidate look bad.
I'd focus on the experience thing and bring it back to whatever you want to attack about his record, eg My opponent is experienced at overspending, overregulating, making sweetheart taxpayer funded deals for his pals, etc. If that's the type of experience you want, he's your guy. Then pivot back to whatever positive platform your candidate is offering in contrast.
Answer by CandE
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. -1 Tim 4:12
If a candidate has shown himself to be a solid conservative in word and deed, then youth is secondary. Plus (at the risk of sounding cynical) most conservatives consider it a plus to reference the Bible. If you can successfully make Paul's statement applicable to your candidate then the issue will effectively be neutralized.
Answer by David Nordmark
I think Barack Obama provided some lessons here. When you're running with little experience, you can use variations on the following themes:
- I'm not wedded to the old politics
- I lack experience in cutting hidden deals/special interests/whatever happens to be wrong at the time.
- I bring fresh ideas and fresh eyes to old problems (if the press is with you they won't even ask you what your ideas are)
- It's time for a change
Did Obama run on anything else?
Answer by Rick Bateman
You don't need to be 40 years old to love your community and country. You need to look at what's happening, and decide to have a say if something is troubling you.
Ms. Goode can legally drive, vote, purchase alcohol, etc. She can run for office. She just needs to have command of the local issues, their history, and what's worked for her community in the past and what hasn't. It helps to see what's helped/hurt in other communities in similar situations.
Also, have a better philosophy than the other person. Know it inside and out, and where it came from. Liberty and Tyranny, Democracy in America are good places to start. Helps to keep from using canned answers most politicians use, and people will see beyond age.