Finally, erratic Obama wordsmiths have slogged their way to the ideal slogan: "Forward," aptly safe and succinct and vacuous. What if it echoes MSNBC's "Lean Forward," itself no powerhouse of punch? Less is certainly more these days, and this president notches one more historic threshold: no other slogan since 1844 relies on only one word.
As Molly Ball of The Atlantic explained, slogans vary when focus shifts -- from foreign policy to health care, now to the economy. But "nobody seems to know exactly what the message is, or what this campaign is about," she opined, a main "part of the problem with Obama's presidency. It's sort of been all over the place."
Yes and no, for Obama's been Mr. Consistency on most corporate, Wall Street and military demands. "Forward" is no worse than the incumbent's other discarded missteps, like "Winning the Future." That provoked guffaws from the Palin clown (smirking, WFT?). Plus, how is the unknowable future comparable to, say, sporting events, even wars, fast with measurable outcomes? "An America built to last" surfaced, but was dropped: why intimate decline? "We can't wait," lived ever so briefly, tossed out either for sounding petulant or too much like fidgety, back seat kids begging for a pit stop.
Consider the clarity, if not automotive and game resonances, of "Forward," distilling all the complexities of national leadership into one word, accessible to grade children and aging grandparents alike. Or to soldiers (charge forward, no retreat) or actors (stage front), even football linemen after the snap. Frankly, besides its vacuity, this slogan suits Obama's fence-sitting mode while setting forth the stance of his extremist opponents: "Backwards." With a vengeance, and booming, gung-ho war cries: "let's take back the ...