I've been giving some thought to Barack Obama's sloganeering. The one that has me intrigued and the one I think is going to bite him in the rear in the general election is his focus on "change". Change is a very charged word. Most people don't like it and it's easy to see why. Have you heard or said this:
"Why do I have to change? Why can't I be accepted just as I am?"
And there's another thing: Change always sounds good to young people. Change doesn't sound so appealing to people who have seen what change can mean. Also, as people age, the notion of following a Messianic leader holds less appeal. When the same ideas have been trotted out for generations, the reality of how much transformation a government can take becomes apparent. And short of a revolution, we've come to expect little change.
In fact, most people don't want change at all. They want the things that bug them tweaked. The American style of governance is to have different personalities, different ideological stances, different policies, and different platforms, but every four years, it's the same. The President struggles to get legislation passed from his platform. Congress bucks him for spite or because their constituency hates it. Judges die. They're replaced. Confirmation hearings are ridiculous and partisan. And on and on..... Things don't really change and people are comforted by that. We all know what to expect.
The Anchoress absolutely hates this latest ad for Obama where the actors are chanting Obama, intoning it over and over, like some drug-crazed zombies from a Twilight Zone episode. It is disturbing in that it is almost a parody of the Apple commercial where the mindless drones support Hillary. In this case, though, the Obama supporters are beyond irony:
The Anchoress says about it,"I’d bet real money that the people chanting “O-bam-a” have probably been repulsed in the past by chants of “USA! USA!,” too." Ann Althouse has this to say:
Chanting the candidate's name? The people in this video are — most of them — swooning and sleepwalking. "I just want this war to end" — they sound like children. Nice, polite, pretty children. Much sweeter than back in the days when I was young and it seemed like a good idea to yell "We want the world and we want now," but just as juvenile.Well, that's just it. The whole campaign feels juvenile. The word "change" seems juvenile. Change for change sake is stupid and naive. What are we going to be changing to? So far, Obama has been short on those ideas and big on making everyone feel better about hope.
Obama will need to show some maturity and demonstrate some (and now I loath this word) gravitas. For all the press ganging up on George W. Bush, at least he had executive experience over a big state. And still, he has been dismissed as a light weight. Now, the press has a literal light weight. Obama's job will be to convince us of his gravity and depth. His mesmerizing oratory skills won't be enough to convince old people to vote for him.
Some changes just seem too risky.