Language: The Slogan Society

In politics, it seems, bad times make good slogans. Herbert Hoover's promise of "a chicken in every pot" did not get him re-elected in 1932, but it was a far more ingenious catch phrase than the Republicans' 1944 theme, "Time for a change," or "I like Ike" in 1952. And for all John F. Kennedy's eloquence, no Democratic orator since the Depression has matched Franklin D. Roosevelt's phrasemaking prowess on behalf of "the forgotten man." Lyndon Johnson's vision of "the Great Society" is not only vague, but vieille vague as well; the...

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