Ogonowski Announcement – First Impressions

Although I wasn’t able to attend Jim Ogonowski’s announcement to run as a Republican candidate for the MA-05 seat, I’ve checked out the transcript of his announcement (thanks Dracut Forum!) & spoke with a few people who had the chance to check out the “O-Man”. From these different allbeit complementary sources, the following impressions have begun to gell:

Whether scripted or off-the-cuff, the O-Man’s announcement tended to meander. It came across as a first draft speech than could have been fine-tuned to better position himself as a candidate whose thoughts & life experiences placed him in direct contrast to most if not all the Democrat candidates. In politics a Republican – especially a Republican! – has only a few chances to make an impression on the media and/or the public & an announcement speech is one of them.

He only mentioned two issues – the tax code & developing enviromentally-friendly alternative fuels – which drive his candidacy. His positions on both are fine but he could have added a few more issues to the two he touted & thus create a “narrative” which illuminates (or “brands”) in the eyes of the voters the kind of man who seeks to represent them.

He’s going to have to take a stand on universal health care & abortion whether he wants to or not. Some of the Democrat candidates have BIG differences on the former issue while the most recent Supreme Court decision puts the latter issue in play in every consequential election across the country from now on. Of the two issues, he should focus on health care.

He’s also going to have to have an answer ready for the charges soon to be lodged against him that, should he get elected, he might become an ineffectual congressman due to his being the only GOP member of a delegation which originates from the bluest of Blue states in a Congress now controlled by Democrats. He should be prepared to rebut that red herring accusation.

The best part of his announcement was his biography & the connections he made relative to his family’s history in the area. This approach has traditionally been a Democrat strength. His appeal for a post-partisan approach to getting things done in Washington will appeal to a lot of people fed up with the jerks on both sides of the aisle who exhibit more interest in scoring points against each other than getting things done for the sake of the country.

Making the announcement at his brother’s memorial was a nice touch yet nowhere in Ogonowski’s announcement does he address our current war with Islamofacism. Granted, as he stated in today’s Lowell Sun, he can’t directly comment on the war while he wears the uniform. Once he retires, however, he’ll have a choice to make: He can play the Chuck Hagel version of a GOP candidate who joins Democrats in denouncing America’s involvement in Iraq or he can play the McCain version of a GOP candidate who defends his Commander-In-Chief’s final gambit for success in the war. The option he chooses will have a direct effect on his candidacy.

The candidate’s website is OK but it needs a lot of work. There’s nothing listed in the way of “position papers” & when I tried to access more information on the O-Man I was sent back to the home page. If Ogonowski wants to build up a strong grass-roots organization, he needs to keep both his supporters & the public itself well informed via his (updated daily) website.

Ogownowski’s announcement generated a lot of media interest – which is good. The O-Man needs to hire a talented media person who knows how to take advantage of said media interest & maximize it for Ogonowshi’s benefit. Most people get their impressions of a candidate through the media & the quicker Ogonowski adapts to that reality, the better will be his chances for success.

Overall, I give the new MA-05 candidate a thumbs up. I look forward to seeing how Ogonowski carries himself during the course of the campaign. I certainly hope the O-Man will be an “Omen” of sorts for MA-05 voters in particular and for Republicans statewide.

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