Dear Republican Candidates:

Okay. The first thing you should know is that I’m a Democrat. I voted for Barack Obama. I haven’t exactly been thrilled with his leadership, but, all things being equal, I might vote for him again.

But you should also know that I’ve voted for lots of Republicans. I voted for Mitch Daniels. I always vote for Dick Lugar; in fact, once, many years ago, I wrote and produced TV and radio commercials for him. I’ve never in my life voted a straight ticket. I think about my vote. I don’t trust labels.

Nonetheless, it shouldn’t surprise you that I probably disagree with you on a lot of issues. In my experience, you and I see the same problems, but don’t always see eye-to-eye on the best ways to solve them.

I’ve been disheartened lately by the tenor of the debate in America over–well, pick something. Most of the people we see on TV and hear on the radio and read in newspapers and online have made the most important issues of our time either black or white. Right or left. Reactionary or radical. One-hundred percent right or one-hundred percent wrong. There’s no shade of gray anywhere–let alone any blue or green or aquamarine.

I gotta tell you: life ain’t like that.

I’m reaching out to Republican candidates specifically because I disagree with you about a lot of things. I think you could use some perspective.

I could be your devil’s advocate. I could be the guy who helps you work a little nuance into your rhetoric. I could help you restore a bit of decency into the debate over, say, immigration or healthcare reform. We might find that our goals are actually compatible–that, for example, I truly believe we have the very best health care in the world right here in America, or that I don’t think it’s right for our nation to harbor vast numbers of undocumented aliens.

See, here’s the thing: you’ve allowed the public debate to be controlled by the shock jocks and the xenophobes. So our side has responded with extremists of our own. And here in our fragmented media age, the result is a couple of non-overlapping echo chambers in which everyone is always both pissed off and right. Closed off, pissed off, and right about everything.

And I’d like to change that.

So I’m volunteering to take one for the team. I would be happy to come to work for you–as long as you’ll promise to listen to me and consider my advice. You don’t have to act on it–just listen. It would be cool if I could sit in the room with you and all of your other advisors, but I don’t want to embarrass anybody, either. So you could just meet with me separately if you’d like.

If nothing else, I’m a damn good marketing guy, and you need do more than appeal to your base to win. So think of me as a necessary evil.

Anyhoo, drop me a line at ken@welldonemarketing.com. Thanks in advance. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Best,

k

PS: If you’re a Democratic candidate, call me. I have some excellent Republican friends who can help you.