The Obama campaign slogan, which appeared on thousands of waving posters at the DNC last week, reads simply: Forward. In virtually every stump speech since appearing on the national scene four years ago, President Obama has aimed to present a stark contrast between the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and his own plan for moving the nation out of fiscal calamity and into the vanguard of a global and technological economy. In other words, the president’s message is to move “forward.” Here’s a short excerpt from Obama’s nominating speech in Charlotte:
“After all that we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home. We’ve been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back. We’re moving forward.”
“Forward” seems a fitting slogan. Non-controversial, as far as slogans go.
Florida Congressman Allen Wes, however, sees a deeper meaning. Speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition last Sunday, West said:
“We are now $16 trillion in debt. We have 47 million Americans on food stamps. We have close to 9.5 million more Americans in three-and-a-half years on the poverty rolls. That’s not turning the corner…But yet, they want to bring out an old Soviet Union, Marxist-Socialist theme for their campaign called “Forward.”
West may be referring to a publication founded by V.I. Lenin called, “Vpered,” the Russian word for “forward.” Or to a handful of propaganda posters and Soviet manuscripts, some of which All American Blogger has dutifully collected here. Never mind the fact that “Forward” has been Wisconsin’s motto since 1851, more than sixty years before the creation of the Soviet Union. And never mind that Americans have a predominately negative view of socialism, according to a Pew poll from last year, which would make using a poster recalling Soviet Russia terrible campaign strategy.
Maybe the Obama campaign thought they were playing it safe with a concise slogan like “Forward.” Maybe this proves a new adage: everything is innocuous until Allen West figures out why it’s socialist.