By Scott W. Winchell – Editor-in-Chief, SUA
Here we are, slogan in hand, yes they chose another one. Many have come, most failed like lead-balloons, but here is the one they are apparently going to stick with – “FORWARD”. Maybe it should read: “FOREWORD” – as in here is what America will look like if you give him four more years.
The foreword is: here it comes, with the flexibility I need, now you are going to see CHANGE!
The White House had been cycling through catchphrases since announcing his reelection bid a year ago: Winning the Future, We Can’t Wait, An America Built to Last, An Economy Built to Last, A Fair Shot. John Hawkins starts us out with a bit of history:
In 2008, Barack Obama was a human Hallmark card. He ran the most vapid, meaningless campaign in living memory. He ran on “Hope, “Change,” and “Unity,” and being the first black President, none of which hint at his agenda or why he’d be a good President. It was a campaign designed to appeal to imbeciles and 19 times out of 20, it probably would have failed. Fortunately for Obama, the outgoing Republican President had an approval rating of 25% and John McCain was about as inspirational as a soccer game played in a pool.
The horrible performance of the GOP desperately made people want an alernative and paradoxically, Obama’s vacuousness and his lack of qualifications for the job allowed people to project whatever traits they wanted to see on Obama. Liberals correctly saw a socialist, but moderates saw another moderate, and even a few conservatives thought he might not be so bad. This actually had more to do with the sheer awfulness of the GOP than Obama, but it still allowed him to get elected.
Like his 2008 slogans, this one also has no meaning – you can read whatever you want into it. The trouble is, not only can Obama’s supporters and followers learn to love it, its also a field day for his opponents. It will be used against him, and rightly so, because it is also a communist/Nazi/socialist slogan, oft used in the past. It, like all his other slogans, is rife with socialist overtones like ‘social justice’, and the liberal use of the word ‘fair’.
That thought aside, the term is also vacuous, like the term progressive. Even lemmings are moving “forward”, “progressing” as they jump off the cliff, because they are facing forward as they move. This slogan is at the same time powerful. It is a phrase you will here at high volumes, in repetitive shouts.
We can hear it now, in classic Obama style, crowds of worshipers screaming it back:
- “Forward – away from the failed policies of the past, America’s future is forward!”
- “Forward – into a society where we all have a ‘fair shot’ and everyone pays their ‘fair share’.”
- “Forward – we cannot wait, we have to win the future!”
- “Forward – replacing our dependence on oil with ‘green’ energy, sustainable and renewable energy!”
- “Forward – fighting the ‘war on women’, the ‘war on students’, the ‘war on war’, the ‘war on….”
- “Forward – to an economy built to last…” etc., etc., etc.
All catchy, all employing and tying in current rhetoric, all meant to make the believers swoon, but none with any substance or proven success. Like in 2008, this is an open-ended ploy, to sound grand, to resurrect that feeling of purpose; who could not love that? Well, as we have witnessed, grand rhetoric, lofty phrases, flowery speeches got us what – failed policies of the now.
When you pull all theses thoughts together, isn’t it just another round of “Hope and Change”? How is that old “hopey, changey” thing working for you now? “Yes we can” became “yes we were canned!” ‘Forward’ or ‘foreword’, both are just as likely to be a disastrous continuation of the breakneck speed at which America is torn asunder and replaced with a socialist utopia.
Here’s the new campaign video, it’s still about the past isn’t it?
Please read the following takes on this new slogan, once again, you be the judge, try not to laugh to hard:
Forward, eh, Obama campaign?
The Obama campaign has its new slogan. And that slogan is: “Forward.”
Was “Reply-All” taken?
Maybe “Forward” makes sense, given that the theme of the reelection effort has been Vaguely Creepy E-mails You Don’t Want. (“David — Every night in the White House, I see Barack up late poring over briefings, reading your letters, and writing notes to people he’s met. He’s doing that for you — working hard every day to make sure we can finish what we all started together. This week, I need you to have his back.”)
Forward is also Berlusconi’s party, for whatever that’s worth (it sounds better in Italian, like most things.) It’s a basketball position Obama played briefly.
If your slogan is frequently prefaced by the phrase, “I hope I’m not being too . . .,” it might not be a great slogan.
If your slogan is just one or two notches above BCC, it might not be a great slogan.
I suppose most other directional terms are off the table. “Onward? Upward?” Too Christian Soldier. “Backward” is right out. “Rightward?” Seems unlikely. “Leftward?” What, and play into the Romney campaign’s projections? “Toward The Center” doesn’t even make sense in context.
On average, President Obama’s slogans are pretty good. This is to say that his last slogan was extraordinary and this one is abjectly terrible.
But American politics is littered, as Andrew Kaczynski points out, with the refuse of bad slogans. As long as we’ve had slogans, they’ve been bad. “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”? No wonder William Henry Harrison died a few weeks into office. It wasn’t pneumonia. It was embarrassment.
“We Polked You In ‘44, We Shall Pierce You In ‘52.” I wish I were making this up, but it’s still mildly better than “Forward.”
“Let Well Enough Alone,” McKinley’s second-term slogan, was a bit brusque and to the point, but it’s still about as good as “Forward.”
“I Still Like Ike” acknowledged the second-term problem and still managed to be endearing.
What’s in a slogan? A campaign by any other name would smell as much like skunk cabbage.
“Hope” was inspiring. “Yes We Can” at least wasn’t an order. “Change we can believe in” was vague, but it got the job done.
“Forward” is the store-brand version of the political slogan. At best, it’s a slightly politer “Let Well Enough Alone.” At worst, it’s simply generic. You find it in the platitudes aisle in vague red-white-and-blue packaging, next to “In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right.” Forward says, “Hey, you know what, I’d like to be president again! Let’s find a generic word that means that.”
Romney’s version of the time-honored genre isn’t much better: “Believe in America?”
The worst slogans are not bad slogans like “Who But Hoover” and “Ma, Ma, Where’s my Pa?” or even “Restoring America’s Honor.” They’re the ones so retreaded as to be functionally interchangeable. You can’t tell which campaign they belong to. They consist of overworked cliches staggering up the sheer faces of rugged platitudes as eagles fly overhead chanting patriotic slogans. You cannot tell whose they are for the life of you. They are, as a consequence, totally unmemorable, almost a self-parody.
As the Simpsons put it, “We must go forward, not backward; upward, not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling toward freedom!”
What Barack Obama’s ‘Forward’ Slogan Really Means
By Scott Galupo – US News
My friend and former colleague Victor Morton of the Washington Times has a provocative take on the Obama campaign’s use of the slogan “Forward.” Unfortunately for Obama, Victor writes that the term brings with it a lot of leftist baggage:
The slogan “Forward!” reflected the conviction of European Marxists and radicals that their movements reflected the march of history, which would move forward past capitalism and into socialism and communism. …
There have been at least two radical-left publications named “Vorwaerts” (the German word for “Forward”). One was the daily newspaper of the Social Democratic Party of Germany whose writers included Friedrich Engels and Leon Trotsky. It still publishes as the organ of Germany’s SDP, though that party has changed considerably since World War II. Another was the 1844 biweekly reader of the Communist League. Karl Marx, Engels and Mikhail Bakunin are among the names associated with that publication.
Which is this:
“Forward” is simply a synopsis of the progressive understanding of the State. The State has always been seen by the left as the engine of history. When Obama says he’s about going Forward, he’s also saying that he thinks the government is the thing that moves us all forward, that the State is the source of Progress. I have no doubt he believes this. And obviously the government is a major driver of change—however change is a very different thing than progress. Sometimes government driven change is good, sometimes not. The more important point, however, is that government is only one of many sources of change. Technology is at least as important. The car was certainly had a far more profound impact on society than, say, Warren Harding. The birth control pill, antibiotics, the telephone, frozen pizza, etc: These all are far more significant than 99% of what passes for politics. Culture, religion and demography are also often far more important and relevant than the State. The problem is that progressives tend to see all of these things as products of the State in some way. If we are to go forward it must in the saddle of the State.
Again, I hate to sound like I’m throwing in with capital-P Progressives, but I actually think Jonah is pushing at an open door here. Progressives, at least as I understand them, would not disagree one whit with the idea that technology, demography, and other forces are the primary drivers of widespread changes to the way society functions. Indeed, they would concede to this obvious fact as the basis for progressive reactions to such changes: The world has changed; government needs to change with it.
Read the rest here. – US News