The DNC’s Catchphrase Politics

CHARLOTTE—“Let’s move America forward.” In the last few days at Democratic National Convention I’ve already heard some variation on this line so many times it’s beginning to resemble one of those insufferable Mike Myers catchphrases from the 1990s. Yeah baby! As campaign slogans go, it’s the emptiest since “Believe in America,” or maybe “hope and change.”

The relentless recitation of “forward,” as if the Democratic party has been suddenly overtaken by Keynesian drum majors, is only the most prominent of the slogans playing on repeat here at the DNC. The lineup also includes a chant about “growing the economy from the middle out, not the top down.” That’s frequently paired with the White House approved refrained that a second term Obama would create “an economy built to last.” Other speakers have declared that “we’re all in this together.”

Democrats don’t merely employ catchphrases to describe their own qualities. They also employ them to describe Republicans, who we’re told want to leave people “on their own” and give tax cuts to “millionaires and billionaires.”

Often these slogans are strung together, as in Elizabeth Warren’s speech, which, in the space of three paragraphs declared that “we know that the economy doesn't grow from the top down, but from the middle class out and the bottom up,” that Mitt Romney “wants to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires,” and that the Republican vision can be summed up as, "I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own." Others prefer to play mix and match, like North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, who told convention goers that President Obama has a “plan to keep building an economy that grows from the middle not, not the top down. That’s what we need. That’s how we’ll keep moving forward together.” The fill in the blanks nature of so many speeches can resemble a particularly boring game of Mad Libs at times. And many of the speeches are roughly as meaningful. 

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  • Ken Shultz||

    Other speakers have declared that “we’re all in this together.”

    No, we're not!

    Leave me the fuck out of it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Can you imagine what Obama will justify if he gets another term and we get another crisis?

    I'm not in anything together with Barack Obama.

    The man's done only one thing in his whole term that I agreed with, and apparently that was just a coincidence.

  • AlmightyJB||

    We had this campaign at work years ago called WAITT, which of course stood for We're all in this together. I don't know how many times I would be in a meeting where someone would imply that someone else didn't have the "Waitt" spirit because they wouldn't give in and do things their way. I'm really not sure how they interpreted waitt to mean everyone has do what I say and don't dare offer a different opinion. I'm guessing that's how the DNC interprets it as well though.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I used to have a client in Hawaii. Over there, they call it the "Aloha Spirit". That used to drive me nuts!

    I got a spirit, too, I guess. It's called the "Protestant Work Ethic".

    There's something really attractive about the idea that someday everybody's gonna be held responsible for their own actions--a judgement day--you know?

    The idea that someday people are gonna be individually responsible for their own actions. Until then, I guess we'll just have to rail against the damn collectivists.

    I am not in this together with Barack Obama, that rotten bastard.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We have to proactively maximize our public/private sector synergy while we leverage our core competencies in such a way as to crowd source our knowledge base at a granular level and outflow decision-making from centrality-based fuckwads.

  • ||

    It's a horizontal and vertical solution at the same time!

  • T||

    Masterfully done, Fist.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    FoE, how in THE HELL did you get this year's strategic plan from my employer?!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Mine too:) Life really does imitate Dilbert.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's all common sense, really.

  • PapayaSF||

    Don't forget "outside the box."

  • ubercynic||

    We have to proactively maximize our public/private sector synergy . . .

    I bet you're hell on wheels at bullshit bingo.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The Republican vision can be summed up as, "I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own."

    The Democrat vision can be summed up as, "You owe me--you all owe me!"

    In fact, courtesy of the Democrat's passionate embrace of public employee unions, I often hear, "You owe me--you all owe me a job!"

  • Pro Libertate||

    Right, the entire GOP is made up of rich people who don't need any more money ever.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Every time I think about my tax dollars going to overpay some UAW employee, it makes me so pissed off I could spit.

    "At G.M., as of 2007, the average worker was paid about $70 an hour, including health care and pension costs."

    Every time I think about working poor people who make a lot less than that having their tax dollars go to keep the average GM/UAW worker overpaid to the tune of $70 an hour?

    It make me want to wretch.

    Obama treats poor people like shit.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Reality: Look, we're heading towards the edge of the Cliffs of Insanity.


  • Ken Shultz||

    "The Republican vision can be summed up as, "I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own."

    The Democrat vision can be summed up as, "I signed onto my home loan, now you should have to pay for it."

    The UAW vision can be summed up as, "We drove GM into bankruptcy, now you should have to overpay us."

  • Caleb Turberville||

    “we know that the economy doesn't grow from the top down, but from the middle class out and the bottom up,”

    Translation: CLASS CONFLICT!

    Quick, everyone pull out your Communist Manifestos: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."

  • Caleb Turberville||

    By the way, do I belong to TEAM MIDDLE-CLASS? Am I class traitor if I vote for someone other than Obama?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yes, and a racist/nazi/child molester too.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Hey, I'm not racist!

  • BoscoH||

    Our mission is to trick one of the parties into using the word "reach-around".

  • AlmightyJB||

    I bet we can get cock block woman to start using it.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    What happened to "We Can't Wait"? That was actually released into the wild for a while, wasn't it? I haven't seen/heard it in months. Did the Obama campaign finally realize that when you're the incumbent you are not in fact waiting anymore?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "How are we going to run reform when we're the damned incumbent?"

  • Ken Shultz||

    There's definitely something to note there about how the Obama campaign is a bunch of revolutionaries without anything to revolutionize.

    Their knee jerk reaction is to attack the institutions, but now that they are the institution, they still have to rail against somebody.

    And that somebody is their fellow Americans.

    This is a president who is literally egging one half of the country on to tear at the other half. He's not even seeking to get the swing voters on his side anymore--he's trying to divide the swing voters against each other, too!

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno, but I sure hope they beat that awful Bush this time. He apparently won in 2008.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Bush? I guess that's it for the younger generation.

    The older ones are still voting against Reagan.

  • ||

    Huh, if only there was someone who had written about this!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Thanks Jonah

  • oncogenesis||

    My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Maybe it means "For Ward" as in "For Ward Cleaver." So, in effect, the Democrats want the president to have the power that Ward had over the Beaver and Wally.

  • PapayaSF||

    Suggestion for a piece in the Onion: "Political Conventions Leave Nation With Catchphrase Shortage."


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