Since the Obama campaign unveiled their new slogan "Forward" about a month ago, I've been wondering what will happen to "hope and change," a slogan in which I have come to feel I have a proprietary interest. I was reassured when the president spoke in Columbus a couple of weeks ago, giving a ringing endorsement to the continued relevance of the 2008 slogans. President Obama told that audience that if people ask what the campaign is about, they should respond that "it's still about hope. It's still about change." That seemed to put some life back into the theme of my website, but I still have to wonder. It can't just be about hope and change anymore, when we are talking about re-electing the current administration. It also has to be about continuity.
I've decided to embrace the new slogan as well as the old. What I like about "Forward" is that it conveys in a very simple and direct way one of the most important ideas about presidential power. What the president does primarily is set the direction of the nation. The policy details are important too, but they are subject to a messy process that involves Congress and a lot of other players, and all of us can quibble about the details. In fact, we love to quibble about the details, but we don't want to be quibbling during the campaign. The only thing we get to decide during a presidential campaign is the general direction we want to go. President Obama is going to take us forward. Under President Obama, we are going to implement health care reform and financial reform. We are going to continue to push for an important role for the federal government in rebuilding infrastructure and improving education, and we're going to keep modernizing the economy and building on a record of success in putting people back to work. We're going to try to reduce inequality and give everyone a fair shot. The other side is quite explicitly promising to take us backward. They want to dismantle everything that has been accomplished in the past four years. They want to de-regulate. They want government to abdicate responsibility. They want to do more to help the rich and less to help the poor. The choice is stark. The new slogan helps clarify the choice.
In embracing the new slogan, I decided today that I should try to own it as well, in the same sense that I own "hope and change." I don't own the idea, of course, or the trademark, but I do own one version of the domain name, which I feel proud and lucky to own. With "forward," I was not quite so lucky. I found out that "forward.com" is already owned by the Jewish Daily Forward, a distinguished, longstanding socialist-leaning newspaper. (That feeds into the idea that the opposition has already tried to promote, that "forward" is some kind of Communist slogan. Does that mean that if Communists promoted the ideas of peace and prosperity, we should be against those things too? Ridiculous. I would advise people to stop worrying about the Communist connection.) I also found that "forward.net" is unavailable, as well as all the other popular extensions. So I chose "forward-2012.net" which has the added benefit of including yet another one of the Obama campaign's slogans. (Forward-2012.com, by the way, is owned by Ken Ward for President, a candidate who has not received a lot of attention from the mainstream media. I wonder if the Obama campaign was aware that Ken Ward was also using the "forward" slogan.)
I will never abandon "hope and change," but for ten bucks a year on blogger, I now have a second outlet to support the Obama campaign. I haven't decided yet how to use the new site. Maybe I will cross-post a lot of stuff from this site. Or maybe I will just collect pictures and other references to the theme of "forward." But it's now up and running, so check it out. FORWARD.