Beware of Slogans

A few days ago I wrote a column on my blog #189 “Hope and Change.” My point was and still is that presidential slogans can be dangerous to Americans. Slogans like “Hope and Change” and “New Deal” can give hope to the idea of a better world and sometimes a new moral high ground that just doesn’t come to fruition.

While writing #189 I did some research on presidential campaigns other than the two I mentioned above and I found some sometimes amusing sometimes scary slogans that I thought you might want to think about.

In my list of slogans let me start with the Nixon slogan “They can’t lick our Dick.” There is nothing redeeming about this one!
Following along with “Keep the ass off the White House grass it’s all Dewey”, no explanation needed. How about “We Polked you in [18] 44. We will Pierce you in [18] 52!” Franklin Pierce must have been desperate! In 1932 the democrats somewhat whistling through the valley of the shadow of death said “Happy days are here again.” How about Ulysses S. Grant when he said, “Grant us another term.” Then there was Al Smith who said; “Vote for Al Smith and make your wet dreams come true.” I have no idea what he meant and I don’t think I want to find out. One scary slogan for the country was from Barry Goldwater who said; “In your heart you know he’s right” and that made some people shiver. Some of the slogans were a lot easier to understand like “John Kerry, the real deal” but that statement in retrospect might not fly today. Of course we all remember “Keep cool with Coolidge” and Clinton-Gore “Putting people first.” One of my favorites “Are you better off than you were four years ago” is not because it was Regan but rather because it is a question any cub reporter can ask in every presidential election year and most presidents [if they are honest] will have to answer no!

My point is that when taken seriously slogans like “The new Deal” and “Hope and Change” can lead to government decisions with far reaching and often bad results for the public and the impact of those decisions can last for decades.

Take the new deal from FDR. FDR ended prohibition, created the TVA and instituted the National Recovery Act that guaranteed people could form and join unions and have bargaining powers among other benefits. He created jobs like the CCC and gave WPA work to artist, musicians, and writers in addition to dirt and shovel projects that opened new work opportunities in a country suffering from over 25% unemployment. In 1935 FDR created Social Security. What the public often forgets is that much of the “New Deal” was adding government control to the public’s life and more importantly it didn’t actually turn the economy around. Of course FDR ran into problems with the Supreme Court and his opponents pointed out the socialist aspects of his “New deal.” However it is clear that of all the good things FDR brought to the administration it did not halt the financial depression. All of the “good things” FDR was doing made the public “feel good.” The facts were and still are that the Second World War bailed our economy. Possibly more important was that with the creation of Social Security he trained the public to believe that the government could better manage the public’s life by federal administration of the public’s own money. Right now we talked about the public being divided about 50-50 on less government verses more government controls. I’m inclined to side with the less control because I believe we have seen the track record of federal government controls for the most part resulting in inefficiencies and huge losses for the government as well as individuals. And while all the “New deal” programs contributed to the movement to federal government control including the TVA, WPA, even the CCC the net results of the “New Deal” is the public has become comfortable with the federal government managing large aspects of their respective lives.

The theme of dangerous slogans continues today with the one that got Barak Obama elected president in 2008, “Hope and Change” and its many reiterations. Clearly Barak’s efforts to change the immigration program in this country by tearing down the rules that have governed based on constitutional law, creating Obamacare to further bring a socialist approach to managing the public’s health care, recasting our foreign policy intending to reduce our influence on international issues and our involvement in international disputes, making climate change a major national focus and 100% payment for community college education programs just to name a few. In my blog #189 “Hope and Change” I cover these items in some detail as I review what Barak’s legacy is or as he would wish to see it. The point of revisiting the “New Deal” was to point out the far reaching implications of what sounded like a good deal for American citizens, and the same holds true for “Hope and Change.”

Hope and Change

When Barack Obama ran for President of the United States in 2008 he used a very effective tool, the poster of “Hope and Change.” Actually the phrase was altered several times and in many different ways. Hope and Progress, Change you can believe in, hope is the future and several other edifications of the message. The message was almost Kennedy like in that it conveyed the hope of a fresh look at politics represented by a young appealing candidate. It wasn’t that the voters really expected the Obama administration to be the “Camelot” offered with the massaged message of positive changes in the future.

I can’t blame the voters for wanting hope and positive change but I do fault them for not looking closer at the candidate and seeing his real long-term objective. Voters failed to see the signs of his administration’s intent to put in place ambitious and costly programs generally referred to as public services. There is nothing sinister in these programs; they were actually in line with Barack’s beliefs. Barack did temper his belief his public pronouncements about his desire to get out of the Middle East at all costs, his obsession with closing Guantanamo Bay and creating major education programs [without concrete goals that would make the people educated in his programs turn their training into useful careers in engineering or the sciences.] Barack’s tempered his remarks during his first term, at least that period when he had both houses of congress under his control. He said that he wanted to reach across the isle to republicans for joint efforts but that was disproved when the health care plan now called Obamacare was forced down the throats of the republican members of congress by a straight democrat party line vote.

In Barack’s second term he tried to keep his personal objectives and goals hidden because he hoped that he could stop the gains the republicans had made in the house and threatened to make in the Senate. When the republicans won the senate and added to their strength in the house Barack abandoned all pretenses of wanting to work together with the republicans and via executive order and any other methods available to him attempted to support his long-term goals and objectives for this country.

What are Barack’s long-term goals and objectives? Well we can only go on his actions and some inferences from his negotiations with foreign governments. I’m going to take a shot at the primary items crucial to Baracks plan.

1. An agreement with Iran to contain their nuclear weapons intentions, an important element in Baracks legacy.

2. Suppress the extremist Muslim terrorist like ISIL, Al Qaeda and splitter groups from launching 911 type attacks on our country during his remaining months in office. A 911-type attack would greatly harm Baracks legacy.

3. Whatever small piece he can salvage of his program to make illegal immigrants U.S. citizens.

4. Federally funded community colleges or their equivalents with an emphasis on social causes and community organization.

5. TPA with authorization for Obama to make secret agreements that will affect the country well beyond the end of this second term as President.

6. Reduction of our armed forces overseas and a foreign policy that emphases efforts in the long-term to lower our country’s profile in international affairs.

7. Leave behind a group of civil servants that will play a key role in the next presidents’ administration of laws and perpetuate a mandate of bigger government and larger social services programs.

8. Remove the remaining prisoners from Guantanamo to federal prisons or release them to “friendly” foreign governments.

9. Climate change legislation and importantly changing the minds of the average citizen to accept the idea that human activity causes a portion of the negative aspects of climate change is a long-term goal. This cause may well be Barak’s future endeavor in the form of a Clinton type foundation or a teaching assignment at an Ivy League university.

I will admit this is a very aggressive legacy but I think it is realistic that Barack will attempt to deliver on all of these nine points.

Note there is nothing in the legacy about jobs. Barack will make every effort to spin the numbers coming out of the government claiming job increases during his administration but there is no explanation for the very poor performance of the GDP and the general malaise of the average voter.

I believe Barack is very concerned about his legacy and unlike his performance in school where records can be altered or lost his performance and more importantly his agenda so clearly governed by a Fabianism [caution and avoidance of direct confrontation] approach to military conflict and collectivism when it comes to the direction of our country’s polices and procedures is impossible to hid from. I don’t think this is what the voters had in mind when they heard Hope and Change you can count on. I don’t think we knew the candidate as well as we thought we knew what we hoped might happen under his administration.

One final observation; Barack in an early meeting [2009] with democrat and republican congressional leaders pointed out to republican Paul Ryan that “elections have consequences” meaning he had won the election and his will would be prevailing. I just don’t know if voters expected the current consequences.

Ruth Marcus

Ruth Marcus is a democrat party activist posing as unbiased reporter for the “New York Times.”

On the Sunday morning talk show “Meet the Press” Ruth Marcus participated as a panel member, something she has done frequently. Yesterday Chuck Todd, host of the “Meet the Press” program was interviewing republican presidential candidate Carly Florina. Chuck of course was in his usual attacking mode when interviewing any conservative candidate. He started by asking Carly why she had fired 30,000 people when she combined the two companies H-P and Compaq in a merger, why the board of directors of H-P had fired her and why she lost the run for senate against Barbara Boxer in California? He did not ask what policies she would follow if she were elected president or he position on gay marriage. He did note that she did not have any foreign policy experience or political office experience. Carly handled all of the questions deftly and got in a swipe at Hillary by talking about trusting people in the government. All in all knowing Chuck would do a hatchet job on her she handled the questions well. At the end of the interview the network went to commercial break [I mention this because it gave the panel members time to consider the interview and form a position on Carly’s answers.] Upon returning from the commercial break Chuck Todd turned to Ruth Marcus and suggested that Carly handled the questions reasonable well and wondered whether or not she could provide any legitimate opposition for Hillary. Ruth launched a tirade against Carly saying she was a business failure, insensitive with her “firing” of 30,000 employees and most of all not comparable to Hillary’s record of service to the country. Finally she said while she wants a female president it would not be Carly and by inference it would be Hillary. So much for the unbiased “New York Times” reporting.

Do you know when the senate and house of Congress passed the last budget for this country?

Actually the last budget passed was yesterday when the republican controlled senate narrowly passed a joint house and senate budget bill for 2016. Prior to yesterday the last budget bill passed was in 2010. That’s right, 2010 and a senate and house controlled by the democrat party with a democrat president passed it. Since 2010 the democrats lost the house control and they could not do more than be an obstructnest to bills proposed by the republicans by introducing amendments. When bills were passed to the senate then democrat majority leader Harry Reid would not allow any awkward bills or amendments to be introduced in the senate. Harry did not want any bills that could embarrass a democrat senator or be allowed to proceed to the democrat president and require him to veto the bill, painting the president as an obstructionist, a title the democrats have tried to reserve for republicans.

When the 2010 democrat budget was passed it was a hailed in the press as “breakthrough” overcoming “republican obstructionist” with sound arguments for supporting the budget and by inference the presidents plans. Over the years from 2011 on until yesterday the press simply said that the republicans were putting road blocks in front of democrat budget programs out of spite, not because they lacked a rationale objective.

Today I saw the first report on the republican 2016 budget bill that passed yesterday. It wasn’t page one it was page three and according to the Washington Tribune they described the bill as largely symbolic and said it would probably be vetoed by the president, and of course it will be. The story outlined how the specific dollar request associated with this bill for the budget to achieve its goals will be nullified. The article goes on to state that republican plan can only be accomplished through “accounting gimmicks and questionable revenue assumptions.” What else would we expect from the mainstream press?