Four years after the triumph of "Hope," "Change" and "Yes, we can!" President Obama reportedly is looking for a 2012 re-election slogan.
Luckily, we're here to help.
After all, presidential campaign slogans are the keys to our republic, the linchpins of our entire convoluted democratic process. (What, you were thinking the Ames straw poll?)
Without "I Like Ike," there would be no federal highway system. Without "Morning in America," the Cold War might still be raging. Without "Ross for Boss" … well, we'll never know.
Nobody ever captured the White House — or sold a tube of toothpaste, for that matter — without a decent slogan — and nobody needs a good one more right now than Mr. Obama, so here, free of charge, we proffer six suggestions for the president's re-election campaign:
1. Things Could Be Worse
Rationale: Mr. Obama often argues that while unemployment remains awfully high, it could be a lot higher. Compelling stuff. Why stop there? We're still mired in Afghanistan, but at least we're not in Iraq. We haven't thwarted Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions, but at least this president doesn't pronounce it "nucular." The national debt is up 42 percent under Mr. Obama and now exceeds the GDP — but we'll have more years to pay it down, thanks to the increase in life expectancy foreseen from Michelle's national war on obesity. Obama 2012: The glass is half-full.
Pros: Americans are fundamentally optimistic; they deserve a campaign slogan that almost appeals to their sunny, forward-looking nature.
Cons: Slogan sounds less like a sales pitch than a misguided online dating invitation.
2. Yes 2 We Can 2
Rationale: Like the big, dumb, overheated "Fast and Furious" car-chase film franchise, Mr. Obama is essentially asking the nation to check out the sequel by doubling down on a second term.
Pros: Catchy "2 Fast 2 Furious" title helped make the second "Fast and Furious" flick a hit. Text-sounding slogan could help Mr. Obama reconnect with young voters who put him over the top in 2008.
Cons: Inevitable future "Obama Five" slogan clearly violates the 22nd Amendment.
3. Hope I Can Change
Rationale: Given that "Hope" and "Change" were so convincing the last time around, why not go back to the same well?
Pros: An honest appeal to disaffected and disappointed supporters of Mr. Obama.
Cons: A too honest appeal to disaffected and disappointed supporters of Mr. Obama.
4. Remember Bin Laden? He's Dead
Rationale: Scoreboard, baby. Scoreboard.
Pros: Killing the world's most notorious terrorist is the one thing the Obama administration has accomplished that almost everyone approves of.
Cons: Say goodbye to the Ron Paul vote. And by "Ron Paul vote," we mean Mr. Paul's literal November ballot.
5. Obama Yes, Socialism No
Rationale: Responding to Rick Perry's claim that Mr. Obama is a socialist, a spokesman for the Socialist Party USA recently told the Huffington Post that "the notion that Barack Obama is a socialist ranks among the greatest fairy tales in American society — right up there with the Easter Bunny." See? A vote for Mr. Obama is a vote against socialism!
Pros: Knocks down the persistent suspicion that Mr. Obama's secret endgame is the abolition of private property, followed by replacing all copies of "Heaven is for Real" with "Das Kapital."
Cons: "Real socialists disown me!" isn't exactly the most compelling re-election argument in a nation still devoted, at least in principle, to the ideal of free enterprise.
6. Hate the Government? Then Hire an Ineffective Boss!
Rationale: Government-is-the-problem conservatives long have argued in favor of tax cuts as a way of "starving the beast." By similar logic, why not re-elect a president who often has appeared ineffectual, advocates "leading from behind" and has struggled mightily to enact much of his agenda despite his party controlling the Senate?
Pros: Likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney already is arguing that Mr. Obama is a bad manager — in other words, he's playing right into Mr. Obama's hands!
Cons: For different reasons — the Iraq War and Guantanamo on the left, massive deficit spending and bank bailouts on the right — both liberals and conservatives could make the case that the country already tried this leadership approach with George W. Bush.
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