Signs of the Times

English: Elm Street in Manchester, NH Google S...

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Tis the season here in New Hampshire, and it’s arriving a bit early this go-round. No, I am not talking about the first snow, First Night, or the first wife carrying competition. I am referring to the primary season, and that most austere of contests; the republican primary.

The explosion of rhetoric and lack of wit which surrounds New Hampshire every four years is first evident in the signage which litters our intersections and frozen lawns with a sea of patriotic red, white and blues. The colorful boards capture our attention first, as primary season here is normally a mix of off-whites, browns, and grays. But what really aligns us with a candidate are the clever slogans developed by sharp freelancers out to snare your allegiance along with your annoyance.

Back in 2008, Barack Obama offered us HOPE & Yes We Can! He may want to take a nod from Abe Lincoln, who, on his second-term campaign produced, “Don’t swap horses in the middle of a stream.” Perhaps Obama can update it with, Don’t swap your good ol’ American made Chevy while we’re cruisin’ down the highway. (Somebody needs to tell Barack that people like that folksy sound)

Mitt Romney is sticking with, “Believe in America.” Kind of dull. How about switching it out in these tough economic times with one from 1900 when William McKinley won with, A Full Dinner Pail. Or, in 1928 when Herbert Hoover won with A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. (Just don’t tell Mitt that soon after these wins, McKinley was shot and killed and Hoover helped to usher in the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.)

I would like to see a resurgence of creativity and humor in our political slogans. In any case, don’t think for one minute that politics are nastier than ever before. In the 1884 election, Grover Cleveland waxed poetic about his opponent thusly:

“Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine
The Continental Liar From the State of Maine”

And Blaine parried with a dig on the rumors of Cleveland’s bastard child with…

“Ma, Ma, Where’s my Pa?
Gone to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha”


What’s your slogan?

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