In case you haven’t noticed, Team Obama continues to struggle mightily to come up with a campaign slogan for 2012 that has the brevity and staying power of “hope and change.” So far they’ve tried on more taglines than Imelda Marcos has shoes and still there is nothing to show for their efforts. It just isn’t so easy to conjure up catchy text that fits on a bumper sticker when you have an at-best spotty record to defend rather than a pipe dream to sell.
So, the Obamaites are settling for the next best thing. Instead of encapsulating a reason why voters should pull the lever for Obama, they are investing their energies in coming up with a slogan that explains why voters shouldn’t pull the lever for Mitt Romney.
A New York Magazine feature titled “Hope: The Sequel” quotes a couple of Obama operatives whose identities remain undisclosed ostensibly because they carry Obama’s scatological tendencies to new heights. Here’s one of them:
Romney really, actually thinks that if you just take care of the folks at the top, it’ll trickle down to everybody else. But no one believes that stuff—no one! And once you puncture that, there’s nothing left. He’s not likable. He’s not trustworthy. He’s not on your side. You live in Pittsburgh and you’ve got dirt under your fingernails, who do you want to have a beer with? It ain’t f**king Mitt Romney. You’re like, ‘Sh*t, I’d rather have a beer with the black guy than him!’
Of course, only the first profanity gets charged to the operative. The second is merely his projection of how people from my hometown of Pittsburgh speak.
But I’m straying from the main theme, which is Obama’s new slogan. The second operative tells the New York columnist that one tagline the campaign is considering using is “He’s never been in it for you.” The catchphrase is meant as an indictment of Romney’s character, not to mention of his history with “Bain, Massachusetts, and every Gordon Gekko–meets–Thurston Howell III gaffe he made during the primary season.” It has the advantage of being more concise than “he is a ‘self-serving plutocrat whose résumé is replete with self-enrichment but who has never cared an iota about bettering the lives of ordinary people’.”
Senior Obama campaign advisor David Plouffe is quoted in the piece as explaining the “core argument against” Romney, which “is that he’s gonna wreck the economy for the middle class. He’s gonna go back to the policies that caused the recession.”
Those would make for viable slogans as well, but the claims behind them aren’t quite the slam dunk that “Change you can believe in” was. For one thing, the Romney camp could turn around and highlight the fact that Obama’s policies haven’t exactly improved the lot of the middle class or eased the economic tensions that began to grip the country when he was first elected.
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