Never Let Them See You Sweat…

The NLS posts here and here about the JMDD imbroglio at Oakton High School made me remember the old commercial.

The incident reveals a lesson all candidates for public office need to learn, especially JMDD.

You can wing over to NLS for the gory details, but this is the Cliffs Notes version. JMDD is at a candidates forum at Oakton HS. It was a student assembly, and students could ask questions. A student asked JMDD to clarify her position on abortion. JMDD called the question a Chap! plant, and apparently proceeded to answer in a less than friendly fashion. Booing ensued, with whether it was justified apparently depending on which side of the partisan divide you stand on.

Many years ago, while a member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating at The University, I learned never to apologize to your audience for being late, for not knowing the subject, not being prepared, being forced to speak off the cuff, etc. The audience doesn’t care. They are there to hear you, and you need to win them over with the force of your arguments, the value of your information, and the quality of your presentation. If you are good enough, they will forget you were late. If you aren’t, they will remember how bad you were…and still forget you were late, etc.

I think the same applies in situations like JMDD faced at OHS. The people attending could care less if it is a plant question. Answer the question to the best of your ability. Show no weakness. Do not let on that you are discombobulated by the question in any way, shape, or form.

On top of that, you don’t want to sound like you are berating a member of your audience, especially if it said audience is a group with a common interest…like sticking up for their friend who is being verbally beaten up by an adult!

What JMDD should have have done is thanked her for a question of great importance in the politics of today, answered her, ducked her, or bloviated and filibustered…

Instead, she violated one of the four rules of presentation, the most important of which is never start a land war in Asia.

Yes, I am fan of The Princess Bride.

The others?

Never attack a questioner…
Never get the crowd going against you…
Never let them see you sweat.

Better luck next time, JMDD.

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