California can't be won without a winning mantra

"It is very important that we straighten out the mess we're in."

-Arnold Schwarzenegger

The race is on in the Golden State. Actually, "stampede" would be a better word to describe 135 candidates in pursuit of one governor's chair.

Will this be a demonstration of true democracy, or the political equivalent of Sherman's March?

With such a short timeline for the campaign, no challenger can hope to win by issuing lengthy position papers or churning out 12-point plans for success. Big Arnold already knows this.

Here is my advice to the other 134 hopefuls who are trying to overtake him: A message is good, but a mantra is better. Find a phrase that resonates with voters and stick with it.

This can be tricky, especially for office seekers who have little or no experience in public speaking, or writing declarative sentences. Nothing is more embarrassing than getting stumped on the stump. So I have compiled a list of sample slogans that are inspiring, noncommittal, and somewhat confusing. In other words, they should help any political novice step up to the podium and sound like a pro:

• "Standing still means we are not moving forward."

• "Progress is a transformative undertaking."

• "The road to a new beginning is waiting for us to build it."

• "Excellence does not happen in a vacuum."

• "A bad situation is never a good place to be."

• "Just because there's no free lunch doesn't mean we should stop making sandwiches."

• "A true leader is someone who knows where his followers are going."

• "The distance between success and failure is not a straight line."

• "What you see is what you get, only better!"

• "All of us working together is the best way to cooperate."

• "If you think government is nothing but a bunch of crooks, jerks, and clowns, elect me!"

I make no endorsements. May the candidate with the most votes win. And regardless of the outcome, we can all maintain a sense of optimism if we just recall the wisdom uttered by Thomas Dewey during his 1948 race against Harry Truman: "America's future is still ahead of us."

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