Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Country First" Is No Slogan for a Maverick

Dear McCain campaign,

Bottom line: "Country First" is a terrible campaign slogan. Unfortunately, it's probably too late to change now. But when you start up the McCain campaign machinery for another run in 2016, you may want to reconsider it. Here's a few reasons why.

1) Your campaign slogan should not evoke nationalism. Lots of people associate it with militarism, unchecked governmental abuse, and ethnic intolerance.

2) Your slogan should not contradict your actions on the campaign trail. For example, if you choose a VP candidate who is almost universally viewed to be unqualified, this could be viewed as putting your campaign ahead of your country.

3) Your slogan should not contradict other catchy slogans that are popular with your voter base. As heard on NPR: "When Palin ran for office, did she put her 'Family First' or her 'Country First'?" (And what about "God First," for the religious voters?)

4) Your slogan should not alienate voters who want to hear an optimistic message. Frankly, I'm not that excited about being a cog in the machine that makes the USA a great and terrible force to be reckoned with. I have other priorities.

5) Your slogan should not raise difficult questions about your motivations. If 300 million Americans subordinate their individuality to the abstract entity we call the "USA," won't the people who benefit most be the Washington politicians who wield all that concentrated power?

6) Your slogan should not expose your own shortcomings. Do you really have nothing better to offer or promise Americans than allusions to nationalism? Is "Country First" the most creative slogan your team could come up with?

Fortunately, nobody pays any attention to campaign slogans, right?