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Senator Obama’s ‘CHANGE that you can believe in’ message worked brilliantly in the primaries. It tapped into something very real in the country, but I think most importantly it was the consistency with which he used it.

It was his slogan 16 months ago and it was still right there on the podium when he claimed the nomination. It reminds me of the recent Australian election where the opposition ran with ‘fresh leadership’ through the entire campaign while a tired government changed their message continually from ‘Strength & Security’, to ‘Experience & Tested Leadership’, to ‘A Safe Pair of Hands’, and then I think finally it was ‘Go for Growth’.

That last one was a complete fiasco as the number one issue at polling time was trying to slow a heating economy and avoid further interest rate rises. But that’s what happens when you fail to plan properly and start making changes in a panic. Senator Clinton fell into a similar trap – although no as egregiously – by starting with ‘Experience’ and then changing mid-stream, seeming to plagiarize Obama’s message as her placards also began shouting ‘Change’. There simply wasn’t the same priceless continuity to her message.

When it comes to campaign slogans I believe continuity is as important as the message itself. It must be thought about very carefully and then stuck-with throughout the entire campaign.

Now that it’s all about beating McCain the big issue the GOP will hammer home ad-nausea will be McCain’s superior experience on all fronts...particularly foreign affairs. However I believe the best way to counter that is by highlighting judgment as a far superior character trait than simply experience.

After all, the US President has more competent and experienced individuals ready to advise him at the touch of a button than he’ll ever need. W just didn’t listen or can't comprehend anything in-depth not involving baseball or fishing. And let’s not forget (although it would be nice to), few have had more inside-Washington experience than the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc... yet their complete lack of judgment has led to easily the most disastrous administration both the World and America has ever seen. With a bit of help from W of course!  

During the campaign Senator Obama’s main task (and I believe it could be easier than the professional punditry expects, if done smartly) will be to nullify this issue.

That means educating the voters (the Dems now have the time and Hillary can really help here) about Obama’s life experiences compared to that of McCain’s, and then anyone with an IQ in double digits must – you would expect – conclude that Obama’s life story and resulting experience is far superior in the context of the modern-day, geopolitical situation we find ourselves in. You only need to look at his (at the time) controversial rejection of the Iraqi invasion way before the cruise missiles were launched.

Now that’s the kind of judgment – based on his life experience – that America so desperately needs and why linking his proven record of energizing the masses with his change message should now be conjoined with judgment for the general election slogan.

I believe that shortly all placards and podium messages should read: ‘Change with Judgment’ or ‘Change & Judgment’...I’m sure a few focus groups would reveal which wording is preferable.

I sincerely hope Obama’s campaign are already considering this (if not, could someone with a contact on the inside please just pass on the idea at least). And if you have other ideas for a slogan or simply wish to discuss the wisdom of my thesis, I’d love to read your comments.

Many thanks for reading my post.

Originally posted to From the Middle on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 06:12 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  McSame has already hijacked Obama's slogan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    web design and logo. He's such a loser!

  •  change is a losing theme for McCain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    His attempt to embrace Obama's own narrative demonstrates weakness. It's a battle he simply cannot win.

    With that said, he could frame the country as being in a period of change and, in that way, articulate how Republican policies aren't just a static state but are continuously harming America. In that way, McCain won't just prolong the Bush years, he'll exacerbate them.

    In that way, Obama represents:

    "Change for the Better"

  •  Naw, leave it (0+ / 0-)

    Because you can't believe in McCain's version of change.  He proved that when he sold out to the religious right.

  •  I posted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a comment making a similar point on another diary.

    But I don't think Obama should change his slogan at all.

    It is part of his identification now - to change now, would be to court the same problems that Clinton had, and that McCain likely will have (since he will probably continue to get hammered for plagiarizing Obama's slogan/logo/website).

    •  Dear shiplett, (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't read your post, but would very much like to.

      Can you either forward it to me or point me in the right direction...I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to posting so I'd really appreciate it if you could help with that.


  •  If it ain't broke... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    don't "fix" it.  This "slogan" as you call it, has done just fine by Obama.  If everyone shifts their message to try to counteract yours, it seems then, that you really must be on to something.  If it's good enough to "steal" then it's good enough to keep.

    The thing about Equal Rights is that if they are not Equal they are not rights, they are privileges.

    by Burnsey on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 06:37:52 AM PDT

  •  Slogans (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drdave, OHeyeO, From the Middle, Xopher Y

    I agree that the slogan he has now is just fine but if you wanted to bring in judgment, which is indeed a very important matter, one might consider something like "Change you can believe in; judgment you can trust." It has a good cadence.

    "A republic, if you can keep it." Benjamin Franklin

    by herodotus on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 06:46:36 AM PDT

  •  Here's a few to ponder (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    From the Middle

    Think we need to keep the target moving. The Repubs have so many problems they should be kept behind the 8-ball. After all, didn't that work for them regarding their desire to pre-emptively attack a sovereign nation?

    The voters get the message Obama is the CHANGE candidate and I agree it would help to tweak it now that we've moved into the GE mode. Here are five possibilities:

    1. Renewing America for the 21st Century
    1. Sensible Change for Tomorrow
    1. Constructive Change for Tomorrow
    1. American Change to Meet New Demands
    1. Change to Reflect America's Spirit

    #1 suggests the theme we need to look at our public institutions and make sure they work for changing demographics and upcoming generations

    #2 suggests Democratic change is more sensible than any change McCain could come up with

    #3 suggests Democratic change is more constructive for the nation than the politics of destruction we've endured over the last 8 years

    #4 suggests it's a new world and Americans need to work on our responses to new demands

    #5 suggests the American spirit and ability to take on challenges has always been there, it just hasn't been fostered for the last 8 years

    And finally, this one should really rankle Repubs - the supposed "party of god":
    A Genesis for Tomorrow's America

    There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

    by OHeyeO on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 07:13:41 AM PDT

  •  "Change" is good. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    From the Middle

    I agree with the above - he shouldn't change his slogan.  Keeping it the same will help cement it, and underline that HE is really the only agent of change in this election.

    However.  I want to commend you on making a really outstanding point, and I hope Obama's people are thinking along these lines.  It really is all about judgment.  My husband and I are both physicians and we talk about this regularly.  It isn't necessarily the smartest doctor you want in time of crisis; you want someone who has the judgment to act, and act decisively with good judgment.  Brains are important too, but brains without judgment can be almost as bad as sheer stupidity - you can outsmart yourself into some really damaging lines of action.  

    I think that is where so many ostensibly smart people went wrong in the whole boneheaded "Project for the New American Century" - not to mention the invasion of Iraq.  Smart people with bad judgment (and questionable motivations, but that is another topic altogether).

    Similar to medicine, there are many times in government where there is no clear best or right answer.  Nonetheless, you need someone who has the judgment to know which solutions are the [i]most likely[/i] to be successful.

    I really do believe Obama has it - hence his amazing upset of the Clinton machine.  It is one of the reasons I am a convert to his cause.

    So I do hope he institutes this meme, but for his slogan, he should stick with the simple, direct and obvious appeal.

  •  Two other great aspects of this meme. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    From the Middle
    1. Lets see McCain try to co-opt judgment.  He might get away with the debatable "maverick" label, but the judgment angle is a lot harder, given his flip-floppy record and ill-fated Bush worship.
    1. This theme is a way to open up the tent to Republican defectors.  If you frame Bush as someone with colossally bad judgment, it lets all the people who want to have beer with him still think his heart is in the right place.  He just has a fatal flaw.  sniff.  The poor, well-meaning, but tragically human man. [snark]  Actually, Scotty McC has been floating this meme already.  

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