March 04, 2008

Slogans: Words, Just Words

Memorable Slogans
"No child left behind." -- George W. Bush
"A kinder, gentler America." -- George H. W. Bush
"Nothing to fear but fear itself..." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Ask not what your country can do for you..." -- John F. Kennedy
"It's the economy, stupid." -- Bill Clinton
"Speak softly and carry a big stick." -- Teddy Roosevelt
"Are you better off than you were four years ago?" -- Ronald Reagan
"A chicken in every pot." -- Herbert Hoover

Two words define Franklin D. Roosevelt's impact on America: "New Deal." Compare that phrase to the one coined earlier by his distant cousin, Teddy Roosevelt: "A square deal for every man."
Square Deal, New Deal, big deal. What's the difference? Why is New Deal the one we remember?

The thing is, Teddy didn't restructure American voting patterns, and he wasn't looking to; that's reflected in his phrase. "Square deal" appeals to a sense of fairness within an accepted framework. It's what you might offer your gardener, if you're a stand-up guy.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, understood that a fault line had opened in America between owners and workers, employers and employees. He looked out there and saw the potential for a powerful new voting coalition of labor unions, immigrants, and minorities. He grasped that those groups, bonded in many struggles for control of their own destinies, were looking for more than bigger handouts--they wanted a seat at the table.
New Deal implies tearing up old contracts and starting from scratch. It conveys the feeling of two parties sitting down to negotiate as equals. It displays perfect pitch for the string that was out there to be plucked.

And now, in this same context, look at the slogan poor old Herbert Hoover was riding: "A chicken in every pot..." That's what rich people bestowed on their servants at Christmas time! No wonder Hoover lost. No, the slogan alone didn't cause his loss. His clueless grasp of the emerging political landscape did that; but his slogan reflected that cluelessness.

And on that note, let's not forget this one: "Change we can believe in!"


The Frank Family said...

If grocery store prices rise any more the 2008 candidates will get to reuse the "A chicken in every pot." line.

Jan said...

frank family..maybe that's what the change will be: no chicken in any pot!

sue said...

Time will tell...

Richard said...

......I think we'll be hearing more of, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"
I don't think anyone needs to tell the Frank family or anyone on a fixed income that milk, wheat, corn, and barley have hit all time record highs, as have home foreclosures, the price of gold, copper, and aluminum. As I write this, oil is at $104 per barrel and heading towards $132 per barrel according to industry reports. Gas is heading towards $4.00/gal. before summer. There hasn't been a new gasoline refinery built in this country since late 1979. Maybe a "change" is needed in how we write our energy bills? Instead of giving the industry $10.5 billion with no strings attached as was done in 2005, how about at least putting a requirement in a bill to increase refining capacity? The gov't has done it with electric utilities in the past.
OPEC said today that it wouldn't increase oil production because the US economy has been mismanaged for years. Why should they give their product away for dollars that are worth less and less? A "change" may be required to restore the world's faith in our resolve to reponsibly manage our affairs.

There are twice as many millionaires in this country as there were in 2000. There are also 20 million more working Americans living below the poverty level than there were in 2000. The difference between CEO pay and worker pay has gone up exponentially since 2000. These conditions are similar to what FDR addressed in his day. We can choose to believe those who point out the need to do things differently or we can choose to believe one who is arm in arm
with those who have presided over this decline.
Slogans are just words. Anybody can say 'em. I think voters today are smart enough to sort things out without the aid of catchy slogans.

sheoflittlebrain said...

It seems to me that there's a relationship between the hiring of ilegals at a lower than mimimum wage scale and the rise to wealth of those who employ them.
Lovely as it sounds, we can't live on hope or dreams. We need to enforce the laws that protect the jobs of the dwindling number of middle American, tax paying citizens, as well as those American Citizens who have worked the "undesirable" jobs in the past. The idea that there are not enough jobs for American Citizens is highly exagerated by those who profit from workers for lower than minimum wage and "under the table" wages with no benefits.

Richard said...

Sheoflittlebrain,.... that would be a start. We have plenty of good laws on the books. Some enforcement would be good. Those who hire the undocumented workers at lower wages argue that they can't produce or manufacture a price competetive product if they have to use documented workers. They're part right. The unrestricted free trade of the recent past has put American manufacturers and workers in competition with companies in the same industry whose wages are 1/20th of what a company has to pay here. If we're going to enforce the law against hiring undocumented folks we also need to impliment a sliding import tariff to level the playing field so the American companies can compete. [There's a big avocado grower here in California who has sold out and moved his entire operation across the border because he couldn't compete without hiring illegals. Now he has the same workforce and they're all "legal"].
You're right, people who pay less than minimum wage and pay under the table are cheating all of us.
Anyway, me and mine buy American anytime there's a choice.

Jan said... all seems a little crazy to me, because I remember in N. Alabama a few years ago, the chicken processing plants, like Tyson, hired immigrants through the temp force, for the same amount of pay that American citizens worked for, so I don't get how they say that they work for less.

Another thing which I never understood, is just how they (the immigrants) were able to acquire the jobs through the temp force, because one of the requirements is a social security card.

I know that at least one of the plants was raided, and so many of the work-force were illegal aliens that the plant had to close.

Jan said...

"Anyway, me and mine buy American anytime there's a choice."

Richard..that is commendable.

I doubt that there are a lot of us who can say the same. :)

Granny J said...

jan -- you forget another important component of FDR's New Deal -- the segregationist South.

How's this for a slogan: A Return to Responsibility.

Jan said...

granny are absolutely right!

There are way too many looking for a deal that will give them everything for free, with no responsibility for their own well-being.

I think the slogan you mentioned would be a great one!