The Dernogalizer

October 14, 2009

Column on Campaign Slogans

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:19 am
Tags: , , ,

I had one of my rare humor columns out in the Diamondback Tuesday.  But, I did manage to sneak in a clean energy plug, so it isn’t too much of a stretch to post this one.

Campaign slogans: Making it memorable

Man, don’t you just love campaign slogans? “Change we can believe in.” “Country first.” “It’s morning again in America.” With the 2010 elections for state and county government right around the corner, expect to start seeing them on the road signs again pretty soon. I have to wonder how much stock voters put in these messages, seeing as how I don’t even remember any from 2000 or 2004. Then again, I probably blocked out those elections.

Back in the day, slogans were a little more interesting. Former President Jimmy Carter had “Not Just Peanuts.” Courting the vote of the allergic? Former President Herbert Hoover’s was a drawn-out “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Former President Calvin Coolidge tried to come off as the cool guy with “Keep cool with Coolidge.” In 1916, former President Woodrow Wilson’s was “He kept us out of war.” That didn’t last long. No one, however, tops Abe Lincoln and his “Don’t swap horses in midstream.”

If I decided to run for office, I’d go a different route and garner media attention with unusual and outrageous campaign slogans. After all, no one has any clue who I am because no one reads this column (whew), so I’d have to act up to get more attention than that fly President Barack Obama swatted. Some of these warrant an explanation, which I will provide in debates and apology speeches.

“Matt Dernoga: More than you deserve.” The logic behind this is people like to be told you’re too good for them, and a superiority complex can help with governing. “Matt Dernoga: I lost a bet.”  People can relate to me because we both have an addiction to gambling. “Matt Dernoga: God told me to.” This will easily court the religious right, which will be necessary for me since I’m a Democrat. “Matt Dernoga: Taxes up, services down.”  This is what the other politicians are doing; people will appreciate my honesty. “Matt Dernoga: That’s what she said.” Listen to her, folks.  “Matt Dernoga: Don’t ask.” This will throw the media off guard.

“Matt Dernoga: Just say yes.” I’ll only use this one if it works for Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. His slogan is also used by the Coalition for Positive Sexuality, which promotes “irreverent and unabashed sex education” for teens.

Really, Google it. Probably not what the family values guy was going for. Running for state’s attorney? “Live long and prosecute.” The Star Trek geeks will come out in force. “Matt Dernoga: Not for sale, but my house is!” This is how you kill two birds with one slogan.

The thing is, I’m a crazy environmentalist, and I need slogans for all my voting constituencies — even the hippies. “Matt Dernoga: Act like you live here.” I mean, we do live here, right? “Matt Dernoga: Reuse and recycle.” Only if I’m running for reelection. “Matt Dernoga: Lights out.” Obviously I’m talking about turning your lights out when you leave the room. “Matt Dernoga: Clean as coal.” Because neither the extraction nor the burning of coal will ever be clean. “Matt Dernoga: Going green with your green.” Because breathing cleaner air, drinking cleaner water, avoiding catastrophic global warming and leading in the multi-trillion-dollar clean energy economy will require an upfront investment with immediate and long-term benefits.

“Matt Dernoga: Couldn’t resist.”

Matt Dernoga is a senior government and politics major. He can be reached at dernoga at umdbk dot com.

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