To: Slade Gorton, Candidate
From: Tony Williams, Chief of Staff
Re: "Age Issue" vs. Cantwell
You're not getting any younger. You're 72, she's 42, and it's shaping up to be a tight race. But there are concrete steps you can take to counteract the three-decade age advantage held by our opponent. She's not the only one who can play the youth card.
To begin with, since you entered public service during that decade, we're going to reposition you as a "child of the '60s." New TV ads will emphasize your affinity for the music of the Kingston Trio, Jose Feliciano, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. In debates, emphasize you went to Woodstock—if not during the actual year of the festival—and your affinity for the counterculture.
Campaign T-shirts will feature a new tie-dye design. Your own wardrobe will be complimented with Jerry Garcia ties. Our stylists have already prepared a discreet hair extension ponytail and a very tasteful patchouli musk for you to wear.
Useful news anecdotes would include how you used to sneak downtown from Columbia law school to the beatnik hangouts of Greenwich Village. Regale reporters with tales of how you would pound the bongo drums in subterranean caf鳠while Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Ferlinghetti declaimed their verse, staying up all night long fueled by the power of black coffee and crazy rhythm. (As an off-the-record aside, mention how you tried to warn Burroughs off the smack, but he just wouldn't listen.)
At all your campaign appearances and rallies, new theme music will be introduced, including the Beatles' "Revolution," Dylan's "The Times, They Are A-Changin'," and Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."
Additionally, to counteract your old "Indian Fighter" moniker, ample use will be made of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" and "Powderfinger." Also cite Sherman Alexie as your favorite author when making appearance on Oprah.
To add a certain daring, maverick-like outlaw image to your profile, spontaneously offer on Larry King Live that you "experimented with certain substances during the '60s," a mistake that you now regret, but which left you with a profound appreciation of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.
In all motorcades, you will be driven in a convertible model of the new Volkswagen Beetle.
Emphasize that your conscience—not your age—prevented you from enlisting in Vietnam.
Finally, you'll be supported by any one of the following new campaign slogans, designed to signal how the new Slade is in touch with younger voters: "Slade—He's Down with That," "Slade—A Cool New Breeze," "Slade—Kickin' It New School," "Slade—Bringing the Power to the People," "Slade—Not Afraid to Say 'No' to the Man," "Slade—A Bold New Leader for the Freedom Generation," "Wassup With Slade?" and "Slade—Can You Dig It?"