The Revelation of Political Images

tylertooby Anniel11/30/16
I have been thinking about all of the famous political images and slogans, both pro and con, I can remember, even some of those before my lifetime. I remembered “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” which would take a lot of explaining to those who have lost all sense of history. My son did know who William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Tecumsah were, where Tippecanoe was fought and the results. But he loves History and lives in Indiana.

So I set my sights on more current Historical memory. Things like “I Like Ike”; “A Chicken in Every Pot”; “We Have Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself.”
“I Am Not a Crook.” “A Day That Will Live in Infamy”. “The Buck Stops Here”. “Hoovervilles”. “We’ll have to read it to see what’s in it.” “Hope and Change.” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” “Make America Great Again.”

Then I realized how many people were saved or destroyed politically by events beyond their control. What people believed about them, and said about them. Their very names, or nicknames, were an asset, or not.

“First in War, First in Peace, First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” “Honest Abe”, “Silent Cal”, “Tricky Dick”, “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry”. “Mario the Pious.” And those in the age of TV who were destroyed by visuals, like Goldwater.

But by far the worst were of the liars, like Kerry’s speeches that led to his being “Swiftboated.” And his claims to having thrown his service medals over the White House fence. He put in his own recommendations for his Purple Heart and other honors. People were not so easily swayed by him then.

Howard Dean’s Scream comes to mind here, as does Pat Nixon’s “Republican Cloth Coat.” Nancy Reagan’s White House China. And we always have “Borking” and “Grubarizing.” There’s the attempted “High tech lynching” of Clarence Thomas, which continues to this day. And I love the “Nattering Nabobs of Negativism” of the MSM.

But the very worst political blunder in recent memory was when Hillary Clinton shot her mouth and her own foot off in such a public manner.
Especially with all her past baggage, her e-mails and her “Pay for Play” for the Clinton Foundation on the line. Her backing has been by George Soros. That was when I felt a Limerick coming on:

A lying woman so despicable
She called the voters all deplorable.
They voted clean basketfuls,
While she used dead casketfuls.
Are those Soros dollars defundable?

She disgraced herself and her campaign all by herself, no matter who else she tries to blame. • (878 views)

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22 Responses to The Revelation of Political Images

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    You really have an excellent knowledge of political history to know not only Nixon’s Checkers speech, but an important part of its content. (I think I learned that in Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s Packaging the Presidency.) Some of my favorite material comes from 1884 (Cleveland vs. Blaine):

    “Ma, ma, where’s my pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha!”
    “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine! The continental liar from the state of Maine!”

    There was a lot of good mockery of Boy Orator William Jennings Bryan in 1896:

    “Bryan is like the Platte River — a mile wide at the mouth and six inches deep.”
    “You could drive a prairie schooner through a Bryan speech without scraping a hub on a solid thought.”

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    “54-40 or Fight” — James K. Polk

    “Keep cool with Coolidge.”

    “He Kept Us Out of War.” – Woodrow Wilson

    “Return to Normalcy. Cox and Cocktails.” – Warren G. Harding

    “In your gut you know he’s nuts” – lampoon of Goldwater by Johnson campaign

    “Nixon’s the One”

    “It’s Morning Again in America” – Ronald Reagan

    “Kinder, Gentler Nation” — George H.W. Bush

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      My favorite campaign speech was given by George Washington, he said, “____________________” , i.e. he made no such speech. He didn’t have to as we knew him from his record. Would that we had such a leader today.

      My second favorite campaign speech was by W.T. Sherman, “If nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve.” The man was nothing if not terse and clear.

      • Anniel says:

        All those slogans make ones head spin. Funny which ones stay fixed in the brain forever.

        I love the George Washington speech you cite, and wish we had such a man, too. Sherman makes me laugh.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Mr. Kung, you got me to thinking. I took an opportunity to delve into the StubbornThings sealed archives. (You’ve heard of WikiLeaks, right? This is Continental Congress Leaks). General Washington did have several slogans brought to him by his aids. Yes, he rejected them as official parts of his campaign. But the “social media” in those days were the pubs and broadsheets and they had a life of their own. Posted in nearly ever tavern or heard by word-of-mouth were these unofficial slogans:

        Top Ten Slogans Rejected by General Washington

        10) “A turkey in every hearth and a musket in every barn.”

        9) “I am not a King.”

        8) “Compassionate constitutionalism”

        7) “I will go to Appalachia”

        6) “Remember the Maine…even though it isn’t a state yet.”

        5) “Give ‘em Huzzah, General.”

        4) “The un-George George.”

        3) “Wooden you rather have Washington?”

        2) “I haven’t had time to despise America yet for she is only just formed.”

        1) “#NeverGeorgeIII”

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Thank God Washington did not listen to his aides. More importantly, thank God Facebook and Twitter weren’t around at that time.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            But wouldn’t you love to see the Tweets that Jefferson and Madison would come up with? Surely we all remember:

            #TheRealPatrickHenry: Give me liberty or give me death.

            Some good stuff will fit.

        • Anniel says:

          Good grief Brad,

          I thought you had full disclosure at ST, but admitting to a sealed archive? I need to check with the Justice Department on this. They’ll be sure to investigate the most transparent blog ever known. Better check your privilege.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Of course, you weren’t supposed to seek the presidency. Stephen Douglas was very unusual when he actively campaigned in 1860 (though Lincoln was certainly very active behind the scenes, sending out lots of letters to his supporters). Sherman’s quote has been used (with attribution) ever since, certainly in fiction and probably in real life as well.

        I like Brad’s unofficial slogans for Washington. I have a study of the 1789 campaign that’s a mix of humor and fact (such as the chart of Kitty Greene’s personal connections). In addition, Glenn Beck’s An Inconvenient Book includes a chapter on political campaign with a series of parody letters between Jefferson and Pinckney from 1804.

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        If I owned hell and Texas, I’d live in hell and rent out Texas.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Well, that wasn’t exactly a political slogan. And in the early Reconstruction era, he (Sherman, as I recall) had a point.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            The author was little bandy legged Phil Sheridan, who also gave us, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

            Being from Texas, and supposedly having a little Injun blood, I think both say more about the author than the subjects he referred to.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I knew it was Sheridan or Sherman. It’s ironic that Sherman was actually pro-Southern — but he was a fanatic unionist, with results that would be very visible for years. Sheridan simply hated the South, also with very visible results. (Glenn Tucker, in his history of Chickamauga, notes that “Little Phil was rarely at his best when the odds were even.” I’m sure Old Jube agreed.)

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Old Jube had it all over little Phil, especially considering the vastly superior numbers and equipment which were available to little Phil.

                Little Phil is one Union general worthy of contempt. It would appear he had something of a Napoleon complex minus the talent.

      • Rosalys says:

        I was taught that way back in the day, presidential candidates did not campaign. That work was left for their supporters. I’m not sure when that changed, but certainly it was way before our time.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          It changed gradually. Douglas may have been the first major candidate to campaign actively, and the next may have been Bryan. At some point the “front door” campaign, in which a nominee would stay at home (maybe delivering occasional speeches locally) and receive large numbers of voters, became common (McKinley followed this party). Some of McKinley’s advisors urged him to barnstorm the country as well, but he chose otherwise because he thought (rightly, I think) that he could never match Bryan.

          Bryan represented the end of the populist era and foreshadowed the progressive era. I suggest it was the latter, with their rejection of tradition, who made the personal presidential campaign the standard. When it worked for TR and Wilson, everyone else noticed and decided to imitate it.

          Incidentally, I’ve thought of an interesting case in which a political slogan in a minor race made history. After Gerald Ford became VP, his House seat had a special election to replace him. The opposing candidates were Richard Vander Veen (D) and Robert Vander Laan (R). The voters preferred the latter — but Vander Veen came up with a winning idea. He called for Nixon’s removal — which would (and in the end did) bump Ford upstairs. He won, in the 3rd in a series of special election victories for the Democrats in 1974, and that pressure no doubt encouraged Republican politicians to support impeachment.

  3. Stuart Whitman Stuart Whitman says:

    Lets not forget “The Buck Stops Here”. We could use another Harry Truman right about now.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      We could use another Harry Truman right about now.

      I am not so sure. Please read my book review.

      That “Buck Stops Here” was apparently only on Truman’s desk for a short period of time, but it has somehow reached mythological status.

      • Stuart Whitman Stuart Whitman says:

        Try “Harry S. Truman” by his daughter. Much better read.

        “Truman was almost completely unprepared for the office he took over from Roosevelt.”

        No one is prepared to be President. You play the hand your are dealt. And regardless of his upbringing, political associations, and character flaws, he performed brilliantly when monumental decisions needed to be made. Too numerous to list here.

        That’s about character. And that’s what I and many millions of others respect. Several parallels to Trumps situation. We can only hope he makes decisions with as much integrity as many of are similar magnitude to Mr. Truman’s.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        There was some confusion. It actually said “The Buick Stops Here.”

  4. Anniel says:

    How could I have forgotten the “Reagan Revolution” by the “Great Communicator”?
    Especially his “Shining City on the Hill,” courtesy of Jesus through John Winthrop and used at the end of his Farewell Address. A great read. See how addictive this is?

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