I’m going to take a point of privilege and rant for a minute. Phil Berger, Jr.’s campaign for Congress has sent me over the edge. In less than two short months, he’s managed to hit all of the points that make running for higher office so distasteful. He’s become a parody of the modern political campaign.
Watching his twitter account is like fingernails on a chalkboard. His whole campaign is fake and contrived. As I mentioned earlier this week, he’s shamelessly pandering to special interests instead of talking to voters. Now, he’s posting staged photos with hokey slogans that say nothing.
But Phil Berger, Jr., is nothing more than a manufactured politician. He’s used his father’s name and reputation to build a political career in Rockingham County but has no real accomplishments that he can claim as his own. Now, he’s using money his father is raising to create a phony persona that will take him to Washington. He’s become a walking talking point.
I want to know what Berger thinks. I don’t want to know what he’s supposed to think. Or, more appropriately, what some consultant tells him he’s supposed to think.
That’s the problem. Too many politicians from both parties are willing to chuck what they really believe, if they really believe anything, to say what some consultant tells them is the campaign “message.” But the consultants are wrong.
A message is not a set of talking points. It’s a statement that answers the questions “Why me? Why now?” In essence, what makes you the right person to be elected to this office at this particular time in history. Support for this issue or opposition to that issue is the wrong answer. That’s a position not a message.
So far, Berger has answered the questions by saying “I’ll vote to repeal Obamacare, I’ll do what Grover Norquist says and I won’t cross the NRA.” And why now? “Because my Daddy has the power to raise me the money.”
If you want to see what’s wrong with politics, look no further than Phil Berger, Jr.