SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Which free-spending mayor borrowed “moving forward” first, Mike Moore or Jeff Gahan?


Both Mike Moore and Jeff Gahan have embraced variations of “moving forward” as campaign slogans as they seek lifetime employment.

I suppose the Aussies wouldn’t think much of either candidate, as revealed in this article from 2010.

‘Moving forward’ slogan treats us like imbeciles, says speechwriter, by John Masanauskas (Herald Sun)

JULIA Gillard’s constant use of the slogan “moving forward” was treating voters like imbeciles, says a former Labor speechwriter.

Author Don Watson said yesterday he was turned off by the PM’s election launch speech on Saturday, in which she used the phrase 24 times.

“It is the cliche of our times. When she started trotting it out I walked away after five minutes. I couldn’t stand it any more,” he said.

Mr Watson, who has railed against management-speak in books such as Death Sentence, couldn’t understand why today’s politicians used such language. “I don’t know why they think it’s a winner. And if it is a winner, then I’m even more dumbstruck. It’s hard to imagine what the alternative to ‘moving forward’ is. I don’t know – moving backwards? I suppose that’s what she’s trying to establish.

“People think the only way you can make a political point or persuade people of an argument is to treat them like imbeciles. It’s like training a dog.”

Note that imbecilic is an adjective: “Imbecilic (comparative more imbecilic, superlative most imbecilic), like or as an imbecile; so senseless as to be laughable; absurd, foolish, stupid, idiotic.”

Moore (R) and Gahan (also an R, but a D for the sake of today’s argument) aren’t the first two politicians from theoretically opposite parties to share a slogan. This, also from 2010:

Name That Campaign, by Richard Whittaker (Austin Chronicle)

Gov. Perry’s new slogan sounds awfully familiar

Texas Democratic Party: Hey, maybe you can get a cut of Perry’s t-shirt sales!

If there’s one thing that Democrats and Gov. Rick Perry can agree on it’s that Perry’s new campaign slogan, Moving Texas Forward, is a great slogan: So great, in fact, that it’s been the Texas Democratic Party’s slogan for the last four years.

Then there’s this, from 2012.

Punctuation Nerds Stopped by Obama Slogan, ‘Forward. By Carol E. Lee (Wall Street Journal)

From Both Sides of the Aisle, a Question: Is Ending It With a Period Weird?

The. Obama. Campaign. Slogan. Is. Causing. Grammarians. Whiplash.

“Forward.” is the culprit. It was chosen to reflect the direction Mr. Obama promises to take the country if re-elected. It also is designed to implicitly convey the opposite: that likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney would set the nation in reverse.

Simple enough. Except the moment seven characters became eight, things got complicated. Period. Even for some in the president’s orbit, the added punctuation slams the brakes on a word supposed to convey momentum.

“It’s like ‘forward, now stop,’ ” said Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of the National Economic Council who still advises the Obama campaign. He added, “It could be worse. It could be ‘Forward’ comma,” which would make it raise the question: “and now what?”

The president signed off on his own slogan, but evidently isn’t sold. “Forward! Period. Full stop,” he has joked to his campaign staff, according to an Obama adviser.

On that, if on nothing else, Mr. Obama has bipartisan support.

“It’s sort of a buzz kill,” said Rep. Pete King (R., N.Y.).

The period was a subject of a spirited debate as Mr. Obama’s senior advisers and outside consultants spent hours in a conference room at their Chicago campaign headquarters deliberating over the perfect slogan, according to an adviser who was in attendance.

Does a period add emphasis? Yes! Does it undermine the sense of the word? Maybe!

David Axelrod, the president’s longtime messaging guru, is a champion of the period. “There’s some finality to it,” Mr. Axelrod said. For those who think it stops “forward” in its tracks, he has a suggestion: “Tell them just to put two more dots on it, and it’ll seem like it keeps on going.”

The period debate hasn’t been confined to the upper echelons of the Obama campaign. Politicians, grammarians and designers who brand people and products have noticed it, too.

“There’s been some speculation that the period really gives the feeling of something ending rather than beginning,” said Catherine Pages, an art director in Washington, D.C.

In 1992, George H.W. Bush’s line, “Who do you trust?” generated chatter about the use of “who” versus “whom.” Dwight Eisenhower’s 1952 slogan “I like Ike” is clearly a sentence, but didn’t include a period. George W. Bush’s “Yes, America Can” slogan included a comma; Mr. Obama’s “Yes We Can” chant four years later did not.

Meanwhile, the title of the super PAC supporting Mr. Romney, “Restore Our Future,” seems to bend the rules of space and time, if not grammar.

Those who brandish red pens for a living are divided on whether Mr. Obama’s campaign slogan passes muster.

“It would be quite a stretch to say it’s grammatically correct,” said Mignon Fogarty, author of “Grammar Girl’s 101 Troublesome Words You’ll Master in No Time.” “You could say it’s short for ‘we’re moving forward.’ But really it’s not a sentence.”

The only single words that properly end with a period are verbs, Ms. Fogarty added, or interjections such as “wow.”

The hilarious Deaf Gahan on Twitter has “drumpfed” them all.

In New Albany’s case, the best way for the city to be moving forward is to be sending Gahan backward for a return to veneer sales.