The last thing I want to do on a Saturday afternoon is go door to door, asking people to vote for my husband. But I promised Primo I would do it.
He emailed me the script he and Samantha had come up with. I didn't even read all the way to the end before I said, "What is this? This is a big fat lie. I am not going to say this.
Me: That you would run as an independent if you could.
Primo: Samantha says I have to say it to get elected.
Me: But it's a lie. I am not going to say that. You have never ever ever since I have known you said anything remotely like that. Why does she want you to say that?
Primo: To appeal to the Stripes.
Me: Why do you need to lie to appeal to them?
Primo: Because they won't vote for me if they know I'm a Polka Dot.
Me: Wait. Are you saying you don't think there is a single issue where you and a Stripe can agree?
Primo: This is what Samantha and the new guy are telling me - that I have to change my messaging to appeal to Stripes.
Me: It's one thing to change your messaging, it's another thing to lie. This is crap. I can't believe you can't find the issues. Let me ask you - what are you going to say if a Stripe asks where you stand on voter ID? On unions? On the mining bill? On jobs?
Primo: I don't know. I need to figure that out.
Me: You can't lie. You cannot lie just to get elected. If you lie to get elected and then do other than what you said, you will not have problems with just the voters, you will have problems with me.
Primo: So what am I supposed to say?
We hashed it out. Think of this part as equivalent to the cat and the dog fighting in the cartoons, where all you see is a big cloud of dust with an occasional head or foot emerging.
Abortion! State university system! Public schools! Unions! Voter ID!
We argued and argued and argued.
But I teased some answers out of him. Answers I could live with. "If you can't win this honestly, then you shouldn't win this at all," I told him.
I sat at the computer and wrote a new statement for the script:
Primo is running as a Polka Dot, but he thinks the libertarians get it right on several issues. Although his positions align more with the PDs than with Stripes, he does not follow in lockstep with the PD establishment. As an engineer, he sees himself as a problem-solver and is accustomed to analyzing each issue on its merits. Moreover, he thinks that the main responsibility of a legislator is to represent the interests of constituents, not to advance a personal agenda. Primo is married to a Stripe/libertarian and is used to striking compromises every day.
Me: Take a look at this. What do you think?
He read it. Thought. "Yeah. That's better. That's a lot better.
Me: Why isn't Samantha doing this? For what we are paying her, she should be helping you develop this kind of message.
Primo: I have been kind of depressed since my meeting with her yesterday. I think it's what you said: that she wants me to be who I'm not. I can't do that.
Me: Of course you can't. You can't run as who you are not. You have to run as who you are - you have to be truthful. But you also have to find where your beliefs overlap the interests of your constituents. The purpose of your being elected is not for you to advance your own agenda - it's for you to represent everyone.