Beware of Slogans
Section: Spin News
Political parties use simple slogans to promote their ideas. These slogans are typically the product of public relations firms who are experts at finding slogans that can convince people that their political ideas are correct. However, slogans can be very misleading or uninformative. This article will critique some recent Republican and Democratic slogans.
For example, the theme of President Obama’s campaign is “Winning the Future.” and for his prior Presidential campaign it was “Change you Can Believe in.” Both of these slogans are referred to as glittering generalities. The statements are very vague but give a positive impression.
Using glittering generalities is useful for politicians because it allows them to appeal to many different groups who might interpret the slogan in different ways. For some “change” might have meant having the first African American in the White-house. For others it might refer to reforms they believe are important. For others it might be having a government that is less influenced by special interests—a campaign promise. However, the term doesn’t pin the politician’s views down to any specifics so the candidate is free appeal to audiences with different values and beliefs.
The Republicans have traditionally taken a different tack. They tend to use slogans that attempt to replace an idea with a negative connotation with a more positive one. For example, many Republicans want to end social security. They could explain that by saying that we want to take the money that you set aside in your paychecks through FICA for your social security and use it to reduce taxes. However, many people wouldn’t like that idea so instead of referring to social security, they use the euphemism “entitlements.” Of course, everyone is entitled to their social security because they paid into the system. However, the Republicans frequently use the language to argue that people don’t deserve their “entitlements” when logic dictates that they do.
More recently, the Republicans have used the slogan “repeal and replace” to refer to their position on the President’s health care law. For some people, that might sound better than simply stating that you will repeal health care reform because polls show that voters like individual components of the health care law. For example, most voters like the requirements that insurers provide easy-to-understand plan summaries (84% like that) and provide coverage to people regardless of their medical histories (67% like that). The slogan suggests the Republicans will replace it with something new and improved, however the Republicans have yet to propose an alternative to the old system that has a higher cost escalation curve that the President’s plan.
Republicans also frequently claim they are for “Free Markets” or “Free Market Capitalism.” These slogans are glittering generalities and an implied accusation. That is, it implies that Democrats don’t like Free Markets. The slogan began as a quote from Adam Smith “Free and Fair Markets.” The Fair may have been dropped because it might be used to argue for regulation as some Democrats have pointed out. As noted by Milton Friedman, Adam Smith actually believed that most businessman would create unfair competition if left to their own devices. Adam Smith believed in making the game fair for all. As noted by Friedman, there are many examples where some Republicans have made the game easier for large corporations and the wealthy. For example, some corporations and very wealthy people pay little or no taxes and most Republicans have vowed to not correct these problems because it would involve raising taxes so the wealthy pay the same tax rate and the middle class. Similarly, some Republicans have supported the Supreme court’s decision to allow CEO’s and the wealthy to fund the vast majority of the 2010 political campaign and forty billionaires are funding the 2012 elections.
The bottom line is that it’s important to look at the details of politicians’ campaign promises and their prior behavior. Don’t just rely on their slogans!
- No recording of users’ IP addresses.
- No identifying cookies.
- No collection of personal data.
- No sharing personal data with third parties.
- secure, encrypted connections (HTTPS/SSL)
- a free proxy service that allows anonymous browsing of websites.
- third party certifications of its privacy claims
by Todd Miller
Sorry! No Links