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Obama’s “socialist” new slogan

Obama Forward 2012

“Forward.” Recently, Barack Obama began using that single word as a campaign slogan. Now his opponents are using it to brand him as a socialist. Behold the power of a word!

The kerfuffle over this slogan (and to be clear, this debate is happening mostly among people who enjoy politics as sport) has been simmering gradually over the last week and a half.

On April 30, the Obama campaign released a video titled “Forward” that uses the word prominently. The treatment is reminiscent of the one-word tags used in the 2008 Obama campaign, like “Hope,” “Change,” and “Progress.”

The same day the Forward video came out, the website of the conservative Washington Times published a story by Victor Morton headlined, “New Obama slogan has long ties to Marxism, socialism.”

Morton makes a credible case that many socialist publications use the word “Forward.” On the other hand…

  • So does the state of Wisconsin, which uses “Forward” as its motto.
  • So does a prominent Jewish newspaper, The Forward.
  • So does your aunt every time she sends you a chain email. (Fwd: Fwd: Fwd:)

And yet no one accused Obama of being a Wisconsiner, Jewish, or your aunt.

Despite these facts (and the fact that your average socialist will tell you Barack Obama isn’t much of a socialist), the accusations persisted. As The New York Times and The Daily Caller reported, the arguments about whether “Forward” actually means “socialism” crystalized on Wikipedia, where moderators planned to delete a page titled Forward (Obama–Biden campaign slogan).

It’s been a slow news month. Right now, in the lull between the primary season and the conventions, American politics is boring. What’s interesting, though, is where Republican pundits are finding material for their blogs and talk shows. It must be immensely enjoyable right now to tear down Barack Obama. Much more fun than trying to find anything good to say about Mitt Romney.

* * * *

Bonus: Team Obama isn’t the only brand using “Forward” these days. MSNBC adopted the slogan “Lean Forward” in 2010, and Toyota has been using “Moving Forward” for a few years. Three items make a trend. Can the creeping tide of socialism be stopped?!

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Marketing, Politics, Words


  1. BombsForJesus says:

    Other organizations using the word “forward”:
    “Ready and forward” – U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment motto
    “Forward” – U.S. 17th Cavalry Regiment motto
    “En avant” (Forward) – U.S. 151st Field Artillery Regiment motto
    “Toujours en avant” (Always forward) – U.S. 160th Field Artillery Regiment motto
    “Forward” – U.S. 32nd Infantry Brigade motto
    “Toujours en avant” (Always forward) – U.S. 34th Infantry Regiment motto
    “Semper anticus” (Always forward) – U.S. 45th Infantry Brigade motto
    “Signa inferemus” (We shall drive forward) – U.S. 167th Infantry Regiment motto
    “Primeros adelante” (First forward) – U.S. 804th Quartermaster Battalion motto
    “Toujours en avant” (Always forward) – U.S. 160th Field Artillery Battalion motto (Historical)
    “Forward always” – U.S. 171st Field Artillery Battalion motto (Historical)

  2. It’s really only “Forward” in comparison to Obama’s opponents, whose motto is pretty clearly “Backwards.”

  3. The Forverts is a socialist newspaper. Founding editor Abraham Cahan was a member of the Socialist Labor Party.

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