Obama's Campaign Rhetoric: So Fresh and Substantive The Simpsons Mocked it 16 Years Ago (Updated)

Here’s MD Gov. Martin O’Malley at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

O’MALLEY: With 29 months in a row of private sector job growth, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By making college more affordable for millions of middle class families, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By securing the guarantee of Medicare for our seniors, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!


Democrats attending the convention ate O’Malley’s lines up.

Going back to his “slow jamming the news” appearance on the Jimmy Fallon Show in April, President Obama has gone with the “forward, not backward” bit.

The 140-character pitch: Another Twitter question was from a father who wanted to know what he should tell his teenage children about why he’d vote for him. Obama wanted to respond on Twitter, and so he went for pithy: “Let’s move forward, not backward. I believe in young people and I’m going to fight for you.”

Aside: What does “I believe in young people” even mean? That young people exist? That they have potential? Obama is a stand-up Captain Courageous for going out on that limb.

Obama and his campaign thought the brief pitch was so good that they added to their official tumblr site, where Obama’s followers dutifully tweeted it zillions of times.

If all of this “forward, not back” stuff sounds familiar, you may have caught a classic Halloween episode of The Simpsons. The Simpsons run “Treehouse of Terror” specials every year. In their 1996 version, which aired just a few days before the election that year, aliens invade the earth with the intent to take over. They snatch both Sen. Bob Dole and President Bill Clinton and replace them. The two alien candidates blur every distinction between themselves and go hollow on the campaign rhetoric. Fast forward to about 4:45 in this clip.


ALIEN REPLICANT BILL CLINTON: My fellow Americans, as a young boy I dreamed of being a baseball. But tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward! Upward, not forward! And always, whirling, whirling, whirling, towards freedom!

Springfield’s citizens eat up the alien Clinton’s words. Later, alien replicant Dole declares that the “politics of failure have failed,” which is every bit as substantive as “I believe in young people.”

h/t DR

Update: Obama worked in some electioneering during his visit to FEMA headquarters today. Well, either he was electioneering, or auditioning for a gig on MSNBC.

“The president made clear that he expects his team to remain focused as the immediate impacts of Hurricane Sandy continue and lean forward in their response,” the White House said in a statement about Mr. Obama’s video-teleconference that he conducted from the White House Situation Room. “Forward” is the slogan of his re-election campaign.

Lean forward, eh?


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