Obama's not-quite-winning slogan

Sunday, January 30, 2011

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

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