Throw out the polls. Throw out the pundits and pontificators. If one were to gauge the upcoming presidential election simply based on the number of candidate-based bumper stickers seen while driving around Chattanooga, Obama would be crushing Romney by a margin of 10-1.
The election is less than 5 months away.
Based on this reporter's many weekend drives into numerous neighborhoods in this fair Southern city, there exists but one "Romney" sticker in the whole darn town. And it sits on the back left bumper of a high school boy's car, a boy who, by my calculation having spent the last 29 years teaching high school boys, may or may not be old enough to vote.
Before you think I'm gettin' all partisan and political, bear in mind that by this same cub reporter's calculations, that puts exactly 10 "Obama" stickers on the cars of Hamilton County. And, though I ain't willing to say it, more than one of those stickers might have been on the same car. Those ain't exactly braggin' rights for the prez, either.
This, though, is the reddest of Red States, this Tennessee. After all, "we" went for Santorum, not Romney. And it's unlikely that Mr. Obama will ever set foot in this state even after his presidency ends. George Washington, of course, visited every state after he finished his presidency; Mr. Obama will like have to stick to the East and West coasts and places that touch large lakes. And Vermont. Blue water, Blue States. Unless it's the South. Maybe Florida, though. But I digress.
What there are all over the place around here are posters and yard signs--for the local elections that will be coming up, judges, and county commissioners, and the like. And these, I have to say, make for a pretty dull clutter at the street corners where there are stoplights and us waiters have to ponder the signs. Yeah, they're all red, white, and/or blue, depending, unless you're running for office using your "milk money," in which case your campaign signs are the same color, style, and font as the logo on your milk and ice cream.
Branding. Clever. Not. Yeah, his signs stand out at the stoplight, but they only serve to remind me that I need a gallon of skim milk. There's no slogan. There's no "Let's freeze spending" or "I'll stop Washington from milking us." I know, I know. I missed my calling.
But seriously, do you want to know what kind of slogans are out there? "For the people." Crap like that. For the people. Really? I mean, it's been 36 years since Albert Brooks got one of the few laughs in Taxi Driver as the irate campaign manager who chews out the button company on the phone for making buttons that say "We are the people" when they're supposed to say "We are the people." Or vice-versa. For the people? That's the slogan progress we've made? I'll bet there's some advertising exec somewhere who's been holed up all weekend, skipping Father's Day, so he can come up with a new slogan, something like, "Let's Keep America Strong."
Here's my slogan: "Otherwise We're Fucked."
As in, "Obama 2012: Otherwise We're Fucked." Or "Romney 2012: Otherwise We're Fucked." I don't care. I just want a job in advertising at this point. Make some money. Based on the slogans out there and Mad Men, it doesn't look like difficult work, plus you can drink in your office. So, whichever one of you gets to it first, it's yours. And you can guarantee yourself that you will have taken total and complete control of the political discourse in this country.
Why? Because there's no comeback. Let's say Obama hopped on it first. He blankets the back bumpers of every Subaru and organically-maintained yard in this country with "Obama 2012: Otherwise We're Fucked." What can Romney do? His only response sticker can be something like "Romney 2012: No We're Not" or "Romney 2012: Because Obama Swears." C'mon! Those aren't catchy at all! Too open-ended. Too defensive.
I want something on my bumper that settles the deal. Something that other-party bastard behind me won't want to get too close to--out of fear and maybe hatred, but also respect. Yeah, respect. I got a free bumper sticker in the mail the other day, but I decided not to put it on my car. It said, "Not A Republican," which is ironic and kind of funny and all of that, but it's also weak and puny. And indecisive. Okay, not a Republican, but what am I? Or is it a kind "I know you are but what am I" kind of thing? I'm pretty sure that if we can win the bumper war, we can win this thing. And we need to. Badly. Otherwise, we're fucked.