Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Candidates Miss Opportunity to Gain Voter Support

Texas Governor Rick Perry's
Twitter profile picture.
We've heard a lot about Democrats, Republicans, blue-dogs, the Tea Party, Independents, write-ins and everyone in between over the past couple of months, but with only a few hours left to vote, I can't help think this election is missing something. While candidates and strategists often look at the successes of previous campaigns for guidance, they seem to have overlooked the winning strategy that served as the turning point in the the 1944 and 1952 presidential elections.

What is missing you ask? Pets!

In the last days of the 1944 presidential campaign, President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced much criticism from opponents, but was able to gain the support of voters with his Fala Speech. Opponents accused the president of spending millions of taxpayer dollars on his little dog Fala, but he confronted those allegations in the speech and was able to win re-election.

Senator Richard Nixon was accused of accepting gifts during the 1952 Presidential Election, but he learned from FDR's successful Fala Speech that incorporating a pet in to the speech could help gain the support of voters. On September 23, 1952, Senator Nixon delivered his Checkers Speech, about his new Cocker Spaniel puppy, Checkers, and was voted in as Vice President weeks later.

Pets are always quite popular in politics, but this year's candidates and their campaigns have forgotten to involve the candidates' pets. In searching for candidates and their pets, I could only find a twitter profile picture of Texas Governor Rick Perry with a cute, black lab puppy. Although, it's hard to tell from the picture whether the governor is showing off the puppy or his Aggie ring.

Despite not being involved in the campaigns, more pets are likely to arrive on Capitol Hill with the new Congress in January. Some may become as popular as Senator Ted Kennedy's Portuguese water dogs, others may make an appearance in videos much like Senator Kit Bond's dogs did in his annual Christmas message, or star in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's cat cam office tour.

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