The man who was so defined by two slogans in his 2008 campaign — “Hope” and “Change We Can Believe In” — has yet to really strike slogan gold this time around.
Here’s a sampling of the ones we’ve seen so far. (Did we miss any? )
* “Forward” — official slogan
* “Greater Together” — youth vote initiative
* “Betting on America” — his new bus tour
* “We Don’t Quit” — speech theme
* “Winning the Future” — from 2011 State of the Union address
* “We Can’t Wait” — theme tied to executive orders/GOP obstruction
* “An America/Economy Built to Last” — from 2012 State of the Union
* “A Fair Shot” — speech theme
So what gives? Why all the sloganeering from a man who seemed to have such a gift for one clear campaign theme in 2008?
(...) Obama had great slogans in 2008, but they worked because he ran a great campaign in a great environment that was complemented by the great slogans. Without a strong performance, “Hope” might have seemed to be a silly, overly, well, hopeful, slogan.
As Friday’s jobs report shows, Obama’s slogans have been suffering from the product they are selling. Not only has there been bad economic news of late, but Obama is now forced to sell a record rather than an aspiration or an idea; such is the burden of an incumbent.
Citing that jobs report, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney took aim at Obama’s slogan on Friday.
“I know he’s been planning on going across the country and celebrating what he calls ‘Forward,’” Romney said at a press conference in New Hampshire. “Well, ‘Forward’ doesn’t look a lot like forward to the millions and millions of families that are struggling today in this great country.”
But are Obama’s panoply of slogans really all that unusual? It’s not unusual for a campaign to employ all sorts of different themes and slogans for policy proposals and certain bus tours, etc. And Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), notably, made use of lots of different slogans during his 2004 presidential campaign.
Where Obama’s slogans seem to differ from thoise used in past campaigns is that they are all big-idea, broad themes and seem to be phrases that could easily be transferred to the top of the campaign’s fundraising mailers and on banners behind the candidate at rallies.