Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ain't No Such Things as Halfway Crooks

That's reminiscent of something.


To a Republican, a slogan is not merely a slogan. The slogan is the campaign. A slogan can substitute for actual governance; it can even substitute for the thought expressed by, er, the slogan itself. Case in point: "Compassionate Conservatism". All you have to do is say it; after that, you don't actually need to show any compassion. You've already expressed it in the slogan: you're done.

So it is a bit depressing to see McCain so blatantly ripping off Obama's own slogan, instead of crafting one himself. Obama's slogan was "Change You Can Believe In"; McCain's new version is "A Leader We Can Believe In". Obama's omnipresent logo consists of blue over a hill of red and white; his website has a field of blue over red, with subtle "sunburst" rays in the background. McCain has chosen for his new theme a field of greenish-blue over red and white... with subtle "sunburst" rays in the background...

Hey, it's mavericky, I'll give him that. And I guess somebody's convinced him at his point that green and greenish should be his favorite colors. As a Republican, perhaps it reminds him of money. Perhaps it replaces an environmental policy -- rather than caring about the forests, perhaps we can just paint all our shopping malls a nice forest green and get on with our lives.

But I'm disappointed in McCain's slogan, ripped off or not. A Leader We Can Believe In. I'll grant him that an appeal to leadership is likely to go over well with conservatives -- a hell of a lot better than appeals to, bolt the door and hide the silver, change, shudder -- but it is so dull. So conventional. It lacks creativity, yes, but more to the point it lacks pizzazz. A proper conservative slogan should not just appeal to a wholesome conservative lust for strong centralized leadership, it must also offer assurances that this particular conservative will not fuck things up the way all the other conservatives have. It must appeal to the God-fearing, and the bigoted, and the God-fearingly bigoted (i.e. John Hagee). It must sound inspirational while at the same time recognizing that conservatives are terrified of anything but the status quo -- and waxing inspirational about the status quo is a damn difficult prospect.

Read the rest, especially his suggested slogans for McCain.

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