Skip to comments.Obama team still hoping to find another pithy bumper-sticker slogan for 2012
Posted on 12/10/2011 8:49:34 AM PST by Sub-Driver
Obama team still hoping to find another pithy bumper-sticker slogan for 2012 By Niall Stanage - 12/10/11 09:57 AM ET
President Obamas re-election team has been training its fire on potential Republican opponents of late.
But the question of what the president is for, rather than what he is against, has been met with diffuse answers.
Those answers tend to revolve around either general sentiments about protecting the middle class or a broad miscellany of policy goals economic regeneration, environmental protection and educational improvement among them.
The problem for Team Obama is that, so far, they have found no clear way of encapsulating his case for a second term.
The option of running as the candidate of "hope and change" is no longer available for a man who has occupied the Oval Office for almost three years. But the search for a concise rationale for his candidacy the bumper sticker of the 2012 campaign has not yet been fruitful.
Last week on MSNBCs Daily Rundown, Obama adviser David Axelrod was asked about this at length by anchor Chuck Todd. His responses, rich in curlicues, demonstrated the problem.
When Todd asked whether the aide could give the elevator pitch for an Obama second term, Axelrod first replied, Well, I dont know how tall your building is.
He continued: The short one is: lets restore the economic security that Americans have lost not just recover from a recession, but rebuild the economic security that Americans have lost. Lets make work pay again, reward responsibility, restore those values that have made this country great, he said.
And, you know, that is going to involve a series of things that are more than a bumper sticker its going to be educating our kids, its going to be research and development, and innovation. There are a lot of things that go into it. But that is the goal, that is the north star that is going to drive him.
In terms of policy, that may sound like a good enough agenda to many Democrats. But in terms of a crystallized election message something which is Axelrods speciality it lacks both precision and magnetism.
Obama is a victim of his circumstances in many respects. The historically high rate of unemployment, coupled with the sluggishness of the economic recovery, render it difficult for his campaign team to come up with a message that is much more inspiring than It could have been worse.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) acknowledged the difficulty. I dont know how youd translate this but I think one [possible slogan] is, Were not perfect, but theyre nuts, he told The Hill. The other one, which I considered using myself last year is: Things would have sucked more without me.
Veteran Democratic consultant Bill Carrick sounded a similar, if less humorous, note.
The bumper-sticker problem is the question of What can you say in a few words that expresses the most complex economic mess weve seen since the Great Depression?
In advance of the 2010 midterm elections, Obamas stump speech featured an extended metaphor about how Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and were demanding to be given back the keys to the car back just as Democrats were righting things. The message did not get much traction.
More recently, Obama has spoken of winning the future. The slogan has the dual benefit of diverting attention from the recent, gloomy past and suggesting that a vote to put a Republican back into the White House would result in the future being lost. But Obama seems to have stepped back from using it so frequently in recent weeks.
In an October interview with ABCs George Stephanopoulos, Obama was asked what two words were going to define 2012 as hope and change did in 2008.
You know, I havent quite boiled it down to a bumper sticker yet. But I think whatll define 2012 is, you know, our vision for the future, Obama replied. There is going to be a contest of values and vision in 2012.
The most recent example of the drive for a crisp message came last week, with Obamas visit to Osawatomie, Kan. The location was an attempt to summon the spirit of President Theodore Roosevelt, who in 1910 had delivered a plea for a New Nationalism in the same place.
Obamas aides have also appropriated Roosevelts call for a fair shake in the process pleasing Democratic strategist Chris Lehane.
He told The Hill that in the general election a Fair Shake message will make clear [to the middle class] that Obama is in their corner, fighting to make sure they can get a fair shot at enjoying the American Dream.
As alternative slogans, Lehane also suggested Fighting For The American Dream and We Are All in This Together.
Carrick, however, sounded a note of caution when asked about Obama slogans like Winning the Future.
My experience with slogans is that they are better if they evolve than if you lock everybody in a room and say Come up with the magic three words. In those situations, the magic three words they come up with tend to sound recycled, like youve heard them somewhere before. If you develop the message, there will be a slogan that emerges from that.
That may be cold comfort for Team Obama, however. Their message will almost inevitably revolve around condemning the Republican candidate and insisting that things would have been worse over the past few years with someone else at the helm.
Meanwhile, the gridlock on Capitol Hill makes it all but impossible for Obama to present himself as an agent of sweeping change an appeal that had considerable emotional resonance in 2008.
All in all, a man whose candidacy exuded more than its fair share of poetry three years ago seems destined to make a much more prosaic appeal to voters next November.
Additional reporting by Ariel Katz.
IQ is over rated...
Hope For Spare Change
“Four Years is Enough”
Hmmm, along those lines, maybe: “It Seems Like Eight Years Already”?
4 more years dumbass?
Ha ha ha
Obama 2012 - To boldly golf where no man has golfed before
I have a suggestion that everyone can use.
Make a bumper sticker that says “Run, Obama Run!”
Libs can put it on the back bumper while Conservatives can put it on the front bumper.
I Got Nothing
Oh wait...that works!
Well, Bawney Fwank would know all about sucking on nuts.
On an American flag background with a stake in the middle and one hand holding it and another hand holding a hammer over the stake: “The heart is still beating; help me finish her off!”