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This election's buzzword of choice has got to change

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Mavs Man, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. Mavs Man

    Mavs Man All outta bubble gum

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    http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070916/OPINION03/709160317/1035/OPINION

    Doak: This election's buzzword of choice has got to change
    By RICHARD DOAK
    SPECIAL TO THE REGISTER

    I'm sick of change.

    Oh, I don't mean actual change. I'll cope with that as well as the next person.

    I mean "change" as a political buzzword.

    Listen to the presidential candidates' commercials saturating Iowa's airwaves, and you'll hear the word over and over.

    Change, change, change.

    It's enough to make a listener gag, gag, gag.

    "Change" is one of those focus-group-tested words that campaign consultants love. It seems to say something without really saying anything.

    Everyone is for change, even when it comes across as ludicrous, such as when Mitt Romney asserts that "change begins" with him.

    Really? Romney might claim to be an agent of change, but he puts forth boilerplate that has been standard Republicanism for at least 25 years: Cut taxes, beef up the military, oppose abortion. Romney also more or less agrees with President Bush on Iraq.

    What, exactly, in that platform qualifies as change? Right. Not a thing.

    Romney also says he is a conservative. By definition, conservatives resist change. "Conservative for change" is an oxymoron. If he is for change, Romney cannot be a conservative. But what the heck? Politicians never let dictionary definitions stop them from employing a proven buzzword.

    On the Democratic side, just about all the candidates use the C-word liberally.

    Hillary Clinton says the country is "ready for change," but it's hard to see how restoring the Clinton family to the White House would constitute a whole lot of change.

    Barack Obama's Web site includes a "countdown to change." His idea of change seems to be something like, "Aw shucks, can't we all get along?"

    John Edwards has a "campaign to change America." He at least offers some notion of the change he would like to see - a better deal for working people - but like all calls for change his tends to be a little vague.

    That's the trouble with "change." The word doesn't tell the listener much. What's a voter to make of things if candidates along the spectrum from Tom Tancredo to Dennis Kucinich all espouse change?

    I developed an aversion to the word in my pre-retirement days when various managers would urge employees to "embrace change." Anyone labeled a "change resister" was in career-ending trouble.

    What nonsense. Change for change's sake is the province of fools. Some change is good. Some is bad. One kind should be embraced, the other resisted as a matter of good sense.

    Those who spout a mindless mantra of change do us no service.

    Still, change is a powerful word, perhaps especially this year with a majority of Americans telling pollsters the country is on the wrong track. No wonder all the politicians say they're for change. People want it.

    Or do they? The truth is, Americans tend to be conservative, in the original meaning of the word. They are reluctant to change. They might want a different face in the White House. They might want a more enlightened foreign policy and a domestic policy that gives more help to stressed-out working families.

    But do Americans want deep-down, fundamental change? Do they want to tear everything up and start over again?

    Doubtful. If Americans wanted that much change, we'd be having a revolution instead of an election.

    The American system has lasted so long precisely because elections don't result in all that much change.

    The policy shifts can be significant, and occasional elections are epochal. Elections do matter, but the change they bring about is seldom radical.

    By chanting the word "change," candidates create an illusion of promising more than they are likely to deliver.

    We listeners might be better off if we covered our ears whenever we hear the word "change." Instead, we should seek out the details of exactly what each candidate is proposing to change.

    Then we can make the crucial and sometimes neglected judgment: whether it's good change or bad change.

    RICHARD DOAK is a retired Register editor and columnist and a lecturer in journalism at Iowa State University
  2. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Change is going to remain the buzzword, same as it was when Bush jr initially ran.

    The sad fact is we were changing away from a balanced budget and solid economic state to a history-making deficit and chicken hawk government.

    SOOOO... change will remain the buzzword and both Repub and Dems backpeddle away form this Bush gov't as fast as possible.

    If Romney or anyone else truly resembles Bush in policy then expect they will lose. Because that is exactly what the opposition will drive home in attacking them.
  3. Mavs Man

    Mavs Man All outta bubble gum

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    Preaching 'change' is a necessity for any candidate running post-Bush, as this country wants a new face after 8 years. But I agree with the main premise of his argument, that regardless of who wins there will be little change (especially with the current crop of candidates).

    A Democrat president will be a change from 8 years of Republican leadership, but I wouldn't expect drastic policy changes from any of the frontrunners.
  4. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    No matter who wins there will be change. It will be done because the electee can blame any fallout on Bush. We will see a more balanced budget I guarantee you.

    There will be drastic change in policy if a Dem wins from the standpoint of nominated officials. Bush had a Repub congress for most of his terrible tenure where he could push through neo-con ideologues for high ranking positions: most notable the Supreme Court.

    Now that is going to be reversed if a Dem(which I find honestly to be a foregone conclusion) win the Presidency.

    The only Repub ticket that would have a shot imho is Guiliani/Paul. That would get the moderate and libertarian vote which the Repubs will need to win this time around. Thompson and Romney have next to no shot at the Moderate vote and will have to perform miracles to get the true libertarians.

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