By Justin Moyer
Friday, January 28, 2011; 7:00 PM
In his State of Union address this past Tuesday, President Obama talked a lot about "winning the future." And he expanded on the theme in a speech in Wisconsin on Wednesday. "When America is facing tougher competition from countries around the world than ever before, we've got to to up our game," Obama said. "We're going to need to go all in. We're going to need to get serious about winning the future."
But it wasn't clear this slogan meant victory. Sarah Palin noted its unfortunate acronym, WTF, while others observed that "Winning the Future" is the title of a 2005 book by Newt Gingrich. "Sadly, there is no Obama plan for winning the future," the aggrieved Gingrich blogged. "There is an Obama plan for protecting big government, for pouring more money into broken bureaucracies, for borrowing several trillion more from the Chinese dictatorship."
Will "Winning the Future" - like Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" and Bill Clinton's "It's the Economy, Stupid" - prove a classic political slogan? Or is it destined to be trucked across the bridge to nowhere and scrapped like these other forgotten, less-than-catchy catchphrases?
In Your Heart, You Know He's Right -- Barry Goldwater, 1964
Goldwater's far-right candidacy in 1964 was a refuge for Southern segregationists. Unfortunately for him, more hearts thought Lyndon B. Johnson was right - Goldwater lost in a landslide.
Whip Inflation Now -- Gerald Ford, 1974
President Ford whipped out "WIN" in 1974 to battle stagflation. Alan Greenspan offered his opinion of the unsuccessful program in his memoir "The Age of Turbulence": "This is unbelievably stupid."
Moral Equivalent of War -- Jimmy Carter, 1977
Carter invoked this phrase - the title of a book by philosopher William James - to describe his attempts to end the energy crisis. Critics belittled it with its acronym, MEOW.
Ross for Boss -- Ross Perot, 1992
Ross Perot's on-again, off-again Reform Party campaign in 1992 got him almost 19 percent of the popular vote. In 1996, he won a mere 8 percent.
Government of, by and for the People . . . Not the Monied Interests -- Ralph Nader, 2000
Though his long slogan wasn't button-friendly, Nader was excoriated by the left for spoiling the 2000 election for Al Gore.
Country First -- John McCain, 2008
McCain's 2008 campaign slogan sought to capitalize on his compelling biography as prisoner of war, but it left him second at the polls.