Scott Sipprelle is our best chance to replace the most liberal member of congress, Rush Holt. Scott is bright, articulate and personable. He is determined, competitive and calculating. He can be very funny, in a very dry way.
But he's not ready to face Rush Holt in a competitive campaign, yet. Because he is so bright, competitive and determined, I am extremely hopeful that he will quickly grow into the candidate that will beat Holt. But he is not there yet. Never having endured a campaign before, he would have benefited from the competition of a tough primary.
After meeting with Scott for an hour, my level of respect for him and my affinity for him rose tremendously.
Prior to our meeting our relationship was somewhat contentious. Not in an overtly nasty way. More in a sarcastic, sparring way.
I enjoyed our sparring. We continued to spar early in the interview, but it was much friendlier. I expected Scott to be extremely well prepared. He was.
Because I believe Scott will easily win the primary next week and because I believe he has what it takes to beat Rush Holt, I did not conduct this interview as if it was an evaluation tool for the job. Rather, I conducted it with the hope that Scott would be better at the job as a result of our meeting.
As you will see should you view parts 2 and 3 of the interview (linked on the side bar), Scott is extremely well versed on the economy. Should he be elected he has the potential to be a significant national leader in the necessary quest to right our national ship.
However he must get there first.
As you will also see if you view parts 2 and 3 of the interview carefully, Scott should not position himself as an accomplished "Wall Street reformer" in the general election. He should stop talking about the part he played in the management change of Morgan Stanley as if that made a difference in the lives of the average voter and as if it is a reason they should send him to Washington. It is too easy to poke holes in that position. Should he continue to sell himself as someone who already has operated as a reformer on Wall Street he will spend too much time and money defending himself against what the "guys in black hats" will be hitting him with come October.
He should position himself as one of the good guys who did a great job for his clients. He should position himself as an expert who knows what it will take to reform Wall Street in such a way that it will fuel our economic recovery and bring jobs and prosperity into the lives of the people he wants to vote for him. That is a subtle but important difference. It is a forward looking temporal difference, rather than a backward looking assertion that will be difficult, if not impossible to sell in the face of the "black hat" onslaught.
Scott should take four words out of his trail mix. Morgan, Stanley, Jon and Corzine.
Tying Rush Holt to Jon Corzine is a losing strategy. Just as tying Chris Christie to George W. Bush was a losing strategy for Corzine. Enough said.
The words he should emphasize are Pelosi, ObamaCare, Jobs, Prosperity, Recovery, Growth, Cap and Trade, Pelosi, Jobs, Prosperity, Liberty, Jobs,Prosperity and Liberty.
Scott is aware of his biggest weakness, his ability to connect with voters on an emotional level and capture their attention. We talk about this in part four.
This will be Scott's biggest personal challenge. By nature he is reserved. By admission he is eclectic. Eclectic doesn't get elected.
Scott says he is courageous enough to tell the truth. But is he courageous enough to share himself, not just his ideas, in a way that voters will respond to and relate to? Is he courageous enough to "let it hang out?" Time will tell. If he is, he wins.