With 2012 just a month away, the president is clearly feeling the pressure from his Republican challengers… no, no, not to develop a more compelling policy agenda to win the American people’s support; don’t be ridiculous.
What I mean is that with all the media attention on the mind-boggling farce known as the GOP nomination contest, President Obama must want equal time in terms of folks making fun of him, too. How else to explain this report from Sam Stein of the Huffington Post yesterday:
In his past two campaign speeches, President Barack Obama has adopted a construct that puts particular emphasis on how his 2008 promise of change has resulted in practical life improvement.
At a fundraiser Wednesday night in New York City, the new line was on display, with the president deploying the phrase “Change is…” on a dozen occasions.
“Change is the first bill I signed into law — a law that says you get an equal day’s work — somebody who puts in an equal day’s work should get equal day’s pay.”
“Change is the decision we made to rescue the auto company from collapse, even when some politicians were saying we should let Detroit go bankrupt.” [...]
And so on.
The formulation actually debuted at a Nov. 14 Obama campaign event at the Aulani Disney Resort in Hawaii, where he declared “Change is…” on 10 occasions.
Now, let’s be clear, there are reasons beyond sheer novelty to be grateful for this new slogan. For one thing, it signals the possible retirement (or at least downgrading) of the incessant “We Can’t Wait” PR campaign, which Obama himself had begun to mock. Even better, it further buries the cloying, puke-worthy “Winning the Future” theme his re-election team had adopted initially.
That was back when Team Obama apparently thought imitating Bill Clinton’s lamest rhetoric would be enough to sail into another term — that is, before they realized that 2-3 years of persistent pooch-screwing policywise had soured the public enough on Barack to demand a more energetic approach. (It’s understandable, in a way… as Mike Tyson famously said once, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.”)
As Stein notes, though, there’s a danger to this new tack. A president’s record of accomplishment, some say, is like the meaning of jazz; if people don’t grasp it intuitively, they never will. In other words, simply having to explain is an admission of failure all by itself.
Even so, at least there’s some justice in President Obama having to grapple personally with the inadequacy of the “change” he’s delivered after the promises of more than three years ago. (The rest of us already have plenty of experience in that regard.)
But that’s not why I’ve called you all here on this Friday evening. No, the purpose of this post is to give you the chance to fill in the blanks of that tantalizingly open-ended “Change is…” slogan, using your finely honed snark. Ready?… go!