One word; seven letters; so much nefarious hidden meaning. The Obama campaign’s new slogan, “Forward,” may seem like a typically oblique and anodyne piece of political branding — but thankfully, right-wing bloggers are here to reveal its true meaning, and predictably, it involves socialism and Hitler.
The president’s reelection campaign unveiled the slogan yesterday in lengthy new web video, and while the obvious subtext is that presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney would take things backwards, there is so much more.
Breitbart.com’s Joel Pollak explained that the ‘Forward’ “borrows…from decades of communist iconography.” Pollak checks off a litany of scary historixcal world leaders whose lineage Obama is supposedly following, from Marx, Stalin, and Mao, to Benito Mussolini, to Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa. “Communist leaders frequently used — and still use — the word ‘forward,’” he notes.
Even the generally more staid Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard sees only one conceivable precedent for ‘Forward’: Mao. Along with a picture of Obama appearing to bow to Chinese President Hu Jin Tao, Kristol wonders, “So if ‘Forward’ is the slogan for the Obama campaign, would ‘Cultural Revolution’ be the slogan for the second term?”
Never mind that the fascist Hitler fought a war against communist Stalin, and killed leftists domestically — Obama is apparently uniquely able to bridge this ideological divide with a single word.
Of course, any reasonable observer knows Obama is not a communist or a facist, and that it’s ludicrous to ascribe so much meaning to a single, extremely common word. (It’s the 642th most common English word out of 868,000, according to WordCount.org, which put it in the top 1/10th of a percentile of commonality.)
It’s also the state motto of Wisconsin, so unless Kristol et. al. are willing to concede that Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s 6 million residents are abiding the communist/fascist threat, the attack on Obama falls a bit flat.
Some on the left tried to make a similarly anachronistic claim about then-presidential candidate John McCain’s slogan in 2008, “Country First,” noting that it was similar to slogans used by American fascists in the 1930s, especially aviator Charles Lindbergh’s America First Committee. But that claim was as hollow and reaching as the charges against Obama’s current slogan are.