Presidential Slogans: 2008, the year of the fully marketed president

I’ve had a lot on my mind today (fourth post)- and one of them is the difference between the McCain “Country First” slogan and the Obama “Yes we can.”

Couldn’t be a bigger difference for an example of old school, top-down marketing and new-school bottom up.

You could just about swap “My way” for McCain and “Have it your way” for Obama.

Maybe Obama should change his to “People first” to counter McCain’s “Country first”- but, reacting to McCain is the last thing he needs to do from the drivers seat.

Of course, McCain could change his slogan to “Corporations first” and be right on his money.

If anyone was afraid of the comparison of Obama’s affect on the masses- with comparisons to other charismatic leaders who didn’t turn out to be so benevolent, the whole “Country First” has me almost ready to slap on jack boots and throw one arm up while clutching my belt buckle.

Our Constitution was first and foremost about people first. I never feared John McCain before- but, I’m starting to wonder now.

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16 Responses

  1. Jake August 31, 2008 / 6:07 pm
    Country First? Horrible slogan. America stinks. Our potential first lady hasn’t been proud of it in a long time.

    I’m sure if Barack killed a puppy on live TV, you still would find some way to sugarcoat the story and try to make McCain out to look like a bad guy. Let’s see what other stupid aspects of the campaign we can pick out. Does McCain walk too fast to the podium? Does his smile not meet a set length across his face? How many ice cubes does he put in his water, and how many is acceptable?

  2. Theresa Gasper August 31, 2008 / 8:02 pm
    Most of my family thinks I’m nuts for voting for Obama and cannot begin to fathom what I mean when I say I’m actually embarrassed to admit I’m a registered Republican. I had the South Park Ladies over Friday night and a couple of us were talking about how much we just need to hear Obama’s message of hope right now, that we’re just sooooooo tired of the fear mongering.

    I missed a call earlier today and when I listened to the message it was John McCain telling me we’re living in dangerous times and didn’t need a commander in chief getting on the job training. I resited the urge to scream & throw something since my parents were across the room – and just erased the message.

    THAT is exactly what I am most tired of – the fear, the scare tactics. I don’t know if Obama is the best person for the job. I don’t know if he’s just blowing sunshine up my skirt, but I can tell you it is what I need to hear right now.

    We can’t keep doing the same things with the same people and expecting different results. It’s insanity. Republicans had 8 years to get it right and look at the mess we’re in. I don’t see how Obama can do any worse than Bush did. He’s got it right, it’s not about him, it’s about us!

  3. Jake August 31, 2008 / 8:20 pm
    If you don’t mind me asking, Theresa, why were you a registered Republican? Was it because of a candidate, or an idea held by Republicans at the time you registered? Because, to be honest, Obama is also doing a lot of fear mongering. When he tells voters that McCain will be just like Bush, though of course reasonable people know that isn’t true, he is preying on fears of living during difficult times. And, yes, Obama does throw in the occasional reference to hope and change, but have you ever tried to figure out what he means? To me, the American dream that he wants people to hope for isn’t penalizing those who have worked hard their entire life and make upwards of $100,000. It isn’t preventing workers from having secret ballots at the workplace. And it isn’t turning a blind eye to the good corporations do while championing the working class individual.
  4. David Esrati August 31, 2008 / 10:51 pm

    @Theresa- thank you. I remember when I could go through an airport with a nail clipper, or not have to pass my shoes through a scanner. Sure, a plane could blow up, however, any of us could get hit by a drunk driver too. If we’d have invested all that money into education, foreign aid, health care- and stopped Wall Street from running amok, maybe the economy wouldn’t be in the shitter, gas at $4 a gallon, and the price of every food stuff at close to double- never mind the dollar at record lows.
    I’m more afraid of losing my house to a bank- than of a terrorist attack. I’m more afraid of staying in an endless war than having us be safe from “terrorists.” We’re building the next generation of fighter planes- when there isn’t another military developing a plane that can beat what we have.
    Yet, China could buy us.
    Republicans used to be for small government and fiscal conservatives- they are no longer either.
    Jake- are you awake? Do you see what’s going on?
    I’m glad Theresa sees the writing on the wall- we can’t afford more of the same.

  5. tg August 31, 2008 / 11:32 pm
    “If you don’t mind me asking, Theresa, why were you a registered Republican? Was it because of a candidate, or an idea held by Republicans at the time you registered?”

    Jake, At first (at 18) I was a Republican because, quite honestly, my parents were. My mom ran Congressman Whalen’s office here in Dayton (then he promptly became a Democrat) but I’ve grown up around Republicans and was involved in some of their campaigns in a minor way.

    When I bought my first business, my clients were defense contractors – and that solidified my stance in the Republican Party. But to be honest, I’m a moderate – I believe in fiscal responsibility and in helping those that CAN not help themselves. I believe in small government but also realize if we were good at “policing ourselves” none of us would be smokers or overweight. Sometimes the government has to step in – like it should have done in the 90s to stop predatory lending.

    There are a lot of the Republican ideals I still relate to, but I live in two worlds. One is the cozy world of Beavercreek in our upper class neighborhood living the American Dream. The other is a daily reminder of the foreclosure crisis, poverty, drugs, unemployment and people who used to have a decent job providing for their families but now their jobs are oversees, or they just don’t have the education & opportunities to make a living wage in the new economy. Yes, I do a lot of work in South Park and we see some of this, but it’s nothing like it is in other parts of town.

    But mostly I tend to have very spiritual beliefs rather than religious ones. Call me nuts, but I believe that what we think about is what we manifest in our lives. Call it new age, call it hocus pocus, call it whatever you want – but I believe that if the country is going to stand a snow ball’s chance of righting itself, we have to focus on what we WANT vs what we FEAR, because the Universe will give us what we feel most passionate about.

    I also believe that there is enough abundance to go around. I believe that it is better to give than to receive. Just because I have a lot doesn’t mean I’m taking it from you. And if I share it with you, it doesn’t mean there is less for me – because it has a way of coming back to you. There isn’t a finite pot of gold to be shared. I believe there is enough abundance for everyone to live an abundant life – if that is what we choose for ourselves.

    This is what I mean when I say Obama nailed it when he said it’s never been about him, it’s about all of us. The best line I heard during the DNC this week was that Bush’s biggest mistake was in not tapping into the ingenuity of the American people.

    Quite honestly, I think OUR biggest mistake has been sitting back and letting things go to hell in a hand basket and in not raising hell or putting an end to it – and maybe that’s what this election is all about. We, the American Public, have stood complacently by and let the “powers that be” dig a deeper hole all the while thinking, hoping, possibly praying that they could right the ship while we stared at the iceberg in front of us.

    WE can make a difference, WE can solve our own problems, WE can turn things around. So my “attraction” to Obama is not based so much on political ideas as it is spiritual ones. There is a reason for the expression “paralyzed by fear” and I believe that is where we are as a nation.

    I, personally, relate better to a message of hope than fear. I have always voted for what I perceive to be the better candidate, regardless of party. 8 years ago I would have voted for McCain because I liked the things he believed in. A year ago I saw him start to cozy up to the “right” and knew then that he was going to become a politician and abandon his “Maverick” ways to get the nomination. I believe he has sold his soul for this job.

    But you know what I love most about Obama? It’s the fact that he believes you treat people with dignity and respect, even when you disagree. And I’d like to see some more of that on this site!!

    Sigh. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

  6. Jake September 1, 2008 / 1:15 am
    Thank you Theresa. I really enjoy your excellent, thought out answer.

    David, thank you for putting in your (meaningless) two cents.

  7. cf September 1, 2008 / 2:36 am
    meaningless ????? two cents… what a stuck up snot you are
  8. CF September 1, 2008 / 2:48 am
    RE:
    “Obama is also doing a lot of fear mongering.”

    PLEASE REFERENCE EXAMPLES

    When he tells voters that McCain will be just like Bush, though of course reasonable people know that isn’t true,

    DUH…. McCain has voted with BUSH 90 % of the time.
    REASONABLE PEOPLE ?????

    Reasonable people ????
    HOW BRAIN DEAD DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO NOT SEE WHAT THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION HAS DONE TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF OUR COUNTRY?????

    BUSH AND HIS CRONIES SHOULD BE IMPEACHED AND BROUGHT TO ACCOUNT FOR ALL THEIR ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES AND ALL THE LIVES LOST IN IRAQ DUE TO THEIR OIL GRABBING AGENDA

  9. pizzabill September 1, 2008 / 8:48 am
    David,

    Do you really own jack boots and a belt buckle?

  10. David Esrati September 1, 2008 / 9:14 am

    @Bill- I have my jump boots, and several belt buckles.
    @CF- in total agreement about who should have been impeached.
    If this administrations interpretation of the constitution is going to stick around- it’s time for a tea party.

  11. Jake September 1, 2008 / 11:46 am
    @CF

    Voted with Bush over 90% of the time? Here’s one article that shows how ridiculous and pointless that statistic actually is:
    http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/beyond/2008/08/a-reminder-about-mccain-and-th.html

    In addition, it’s also important to note that the vast majority of votes cast are usually unanimous votes congratulating some sports team, renaming a post office, etc. This year, Obama has voted with Bush 40% of the votes. Is this saying that almost half of the time, Obama believes Bush is right? He has also voted with Congressional Democrats almost 100% of the time this year. Since the American people find that the Congress is doing a far worse job than Bush, maybe it is better for someone to vote more with Bush that the Democrats.

  12. Jeff September 1, 2008 / 3:07 pm
    “yes we can” is not original to Obama’s campaign.

    It is an English translation/variation of “Si si puede”, which was a slogan that arose, I think, out of the United Farm Workers movement in California.

    From there it diffused into various left/liberal movements, like the unions movement and GLBT rights, among others. Obama’s campaign is the first time I recall it used in mainstream politics.

  13. Jeff September 1, 2008 / 3:20 pm
    “Jake, At first (at 18) I was a Republican because, quite honestly, my parents were. My mom ran Congressman Whalen’s office here in Dayton (then he promptly became a Democrat) but I’ve grown up around Republicans and was involved in some of their campaigns in a minor way.”

    Sounds like me and the Democrats, though i did change to the GOP for a few years.

  14. Liam September 2, 2008 / 8:20 pm
    David,
    I must disagree with you on your interpretation of our two Presidential candidates’ slogans. John McCain’s “Country First” sounds more like a call for sacrifice for others and for using a set of beliefs and ideals to guide your daily life. Is it so wrong to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of the greater good? Did not you yourself at some point sign up for such a duty? I’m happy to give a little of myself so that those around me might live a little better, because, hopefully, they sacrifice a little so that my life may be better as well.
    Now Obama’s slogan sounds more like a pluralized definition for moral relativism than an inspirational message – an inspirational message that has any depth at least. “Can I kill a baby minutes before it is to be born? YES WE (I) CAN!”
    Let’s take a look at another campaign slogan – “Honest. To a fault.” To me this sounds like a guy who is overly honest, overly emotionally honest. Someone who lets his emotions on a topic or a candidate cloud his judgement. Rather than use his intellect, which is far greater than most candidates his region sees, he uses his passion TO A FAULT to provide not well thought out points of view, but quick snippets that interpret events and in some cases SLOGANS to fit his own feelings toward a candidate.
    As always, keep up the great work. Whether I agree or disagree with each post, I seem to always check back for the next one.
  15. David Esrati September 2, 2008 / 8:55 pm

    Liam-
    We can agree to disagree.
    However, the difference of the slogans is one from a marketers standpoint. The days of talking to customers as opposed to with customers is long over.
    This site is an example- we have a discussion- it’s not one directional.
    I think we’ve sacrificed enough. I’ve seen neighbors have their homes foreclosed on, I’ve had credit card companies jack up rates, banks hike fees- all while the fat cats take home mega-paychecks on wall street while robbing main street.
    I don’t like abortion as a political issue- even outlawed, it will still happen, with even graver consequences.
    But- you are entitled to your opinion. Thanks for checking in- and sharing, and even the diagnosis- however, when I need a shrink- I’ll ask for one.

  16. CF September 3, 2008 / 2:10 am
    Liam…. Yikes…. Could you speak more obtusley??? pluralized definition??? Moral relativism… ??? What are you trying to say?
    Liam said, “Now Obama’s slogan sounds more like a pluralized definition for moral relativism than an inspirational message – an inspirational message that has any depth at least.

    Oh, AND THIS TAKES THE CAKE.. (that means way over the top with out any truth whatsoever….

    What a hate monger – hiding behind BIG meaningless words.

    “Can I kill a baby minutes before it is to be born? YES WE (I) CAN!”
    THAT IS NOT THE MESSAGE

    MAJOR DISCONNECT

    look at another campaign slogan – “Honest. To a fault.” To me this sounds like a guy who is overly honest, overly emotionally honest.

    AND IT IS A BIG FAULT TO BE HONEST???
    OVERLY HONEST . . HOW CAN ONE BE OVERLY HONEST…

    Someone who lets his emotions on a topic or a candidate cloud his judgement. Rather than use his intellect, which is far greater than most candidates his region sees, he uses his passion TO A FAULT to provide not well thought out points of view, but quick snippets that interpret events and in some cases SLOGANS to fit his own feelings toward a candidate.
    YIKE, I DON’T KNOW WHY I EVEN RESPOND. SOME RADIO NEW CASTERS SAY THAT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC IS NOT DUMB BUT I HAVE TO WONDER… 2 TERMS OF BUSH AND .. WELL I’M NOT SO SURE THAT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC IS ALL THAT AWARE.

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