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Right Turn
Posted at 05:30 PM ET, 02/22/2012

Ten things candidates shouldn’t do tonight

1. Blame the media. They’ve done that. It’s old. It didn’t ultimately help Newt Gingrich. It sounds like whining.

2. Ask anyone else to get out of the race. That is the last way to get someone out. Besides, unpopular candidates soon become irrelevant.

3. Claim the others are “flip-floppers” unless you are Rep.Ron Paul (R-Tex.), who has never changed his mind on anything, it seems. All of the candidates have “clunkers” in their records, all have switched positions at one time or another and playing “I’m a purer conservative than you” is an invitation to get whacked.

4. Ignore the Senate. It is tempting to blame only President Obama, but the candidates shouldn’t let the Senate Democrats off the hook for failing to pass a budget or do much of anything else since ramming home Obamacare.

5. Avoid the Supreme Court. The justices will be hearing the Obamacare cases next month and have agreed to review a critical case on affirmative action. It is widely suspected they will also take up Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. If Republicans don’t capture the White House, the left is likely to get one or two more justices. Make sure voters know that.

6. Go overboard on illegal immigration. It’s tempting to pander to immigration exclusionists in Arizona, but as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told me in an interview at CPAC, Republicans need to be the party of legal immigration.

7. Let up on national security. Iran is moving steadily toward a nuclear weapons capability, the slaughter continues in Syria and the president is presiding over drastic cuts in defense spending that his own defense secretary said would undermine national security.

8. S ound like you woke up from a 50-year nap. You can be pro-life and pro-family without saying women in combat and in the work force shouldn’t be there or that the widespread availability of contraception is a serious problem in America. (If you are Rick Santorum, try changing the subject.)

9. Invoke Ronald Reagan. We’re tired of it. None of the candidates is Reagan.

10. Forget we vote for people we like. Don’t scowl. Don’t be down-in-the-dumps about America. Use some self-deprecating humor. Tell us something we don’t know about your life, preferably something that doesn’t sound as if it was focus-group tested.

Right Turn will be back after the debate with a wrap-up and analysis.

By  |  05:30 PM ET, 02/22/2012

 
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