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Start Saying 'Electable'

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Let’s all agree to take a month off from using the word “unelectable.” I promise it won’t be nearly as hard as refraining from using your iPhone for a day.

I recurrently hear people suggest that a seasoned physician-turned-congressman (Ron Paul), a tax attorney-turned congresswoman (Michele Bachmann) and a businessman who took Burger King and Godfather’s Pizza from deficiency to profitability (Herman Cain) are unelectable.

They aren’t unelectable. They simply challenge ageist, sexist, racist and elitist criteria for “electable.”

When someone calls a presidential candidate “unelectable,” it’s wise to consider the source. For example, former Utah governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr. is receiving significant press for calling Bachmann an “extreme” and “unelectable” fringe candidate. Uh, hello? Huntsman is competing against Bachmann and therefore his criticism is neither credible nor worthy of press coverage.

Even well-meaning conservatives fall prey to regurgitating the mainstream media’s mantra. For instance, a successful entrepreneur told me that he “likes Paul” but thinks he’s unelectable because he’s too “quirky.” I recently met a businessman who said, “You know, I agree with everything Bachmann says, but she’s not electable. There’s no way she can win.” Another conservative told me, “I agree with everything Bachmann says, but there’s something about her. I don’t know what it is, she just seems un-presidential.”

Actress Janeane Garofalo actually uttered the following analysis out-loud on Current TV’s “Countdown” program: ‘…Herman Cain, I feel like, is being paid by somebody to be involved and to run for president so that, so that, you go: “Oh yeah, that can’t be racist. It’s a black guy ...”’

If you can’t intelligently articulate why a candidate is unelectable, then you shouldn’t say so. Flippant and unfounded remarks could lead others to blindly subscribe to your way of thinking. Worse yet, you could end up kicking yourself if you realize your favorite “electable” candidate isn’t who you thought he was.

Think about the people who voted for Obama and now have what Rush Limbaugh calls “buyer’s remorse.” For example, Cedar Rapids, IA businessman Doug Nassif recently told the Los Angeles Times: ‘… he voted for Obama in 2008, but plans to support Paul this time. "I'll vote for anybody who is going to get us the hell out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya.”'

Why not allow candidates like Paul, Bachmann and Cain to speak for themselves before classifying them as unelectable? Why not research all the presidential candidates before you impulsively tell your friends, colleagues and neighbors that so-and-so is “unelectable?”

If—deep down—you like and agree with a particular candidate, chances are, many other people will too. Don’t sell yourself short by writing off everyone but the most moderate, politically correct, smooth-talking candidate who looks and acts “presidential.” The election is still 14 months out. At this stage, why root for anyone other than your ultimate choice for president?

Cain is a straight-shooting businessman with a proven track record of turning big-time corporate loss into big-time profit. Now more than ever, Cain’s promise to lower taxes and eliminate anti-business regulations (think Dodd-Frank) will resonate with Americans seeking jobs, small business loans and overall economic recovery. Cain also appeals to African Americans seeking a president who they trust won’t use them to get elected and then ignore them.

Bachmann proactively introduces measures based on what she thinks the American people want. She doesn’t sit around waiting to find out what’s inside a health care bill before she makes a move. Unlike Romney (think RomneyCare) or Perry (who has praised HillaryCare), Bachmann’s stance on national health care is consistent, clear and believable.

Forbes ranks Michele Bachmann as the 22nd most powerful woman in the world—far above Nancy Pelosi (52nd). Her authenticity and persistence endear her to a wide range of voters who trust her to listen to them and follow through.

Paul is a socially conservative libertarian who maintains that individual states should determine issues like abortion and gay marriage. He thinks states should also decide whether to legalize drugs, prostitution and gambling. He wants to secure the border, audit the Federal Reserve, cut government spending and protect the dollar from inflation. He wants a strong military and opposes perpetual armed intervention in the Middle East. Paul’s views cast a wide net that can draw in war-weary independents, gays, young people, women, social conservatives and fiscal hawks.

17-year-old Paul volunteer Jesse Coffey told TIME Magazine: “We’ve run into Romney. We ran into McCain. Whenever you talk to them, you feel like everything they say is almost programmed. When you meet Ron Paul, it’s like meeting an old friend you haven’t seen in years.”

Next time you watch a presidential debate, read a news article bashing a particular presidential candidate or discuss politics with friends, stay open-minded. Some candidates are more electable than you might think.

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