These buzzwords must be stopped

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images Dear candidates, I’m feeling a little buzzed from the campaign right now. Too many catch-phrases, not enough phrases that catch my attention. That’s why I’d like to propose a ban on a few of your campaign favorites. We’re in rough times. And the greatest service a politician could do to win my ...

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
592124_081013_debate2.jpg
592124_081013_debate2.jpg

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Dear candidates,

I'm feeling a little buzzed from the campaign right now. Too many catch-phrases, not enough phrases that catch my attention.

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Dear candidates,

I’m feeling a little buzzed from the campaign right now. Too many catch-phrases, not enough phrases that catch my attention.

That’s why I’d like to propose a ban on a few of your campaign favorites. We’re in rough times. And the greatest service a politician could do to win my vote is start explaining and stop sound-biting his way through tough issues. 

So, here are my words and phrases to ban:

1)  Wall Street to Main Street. I know the financial crisis affects me and that bashing bankers wins you applause. What I’d rather hear? A solid explanation of how the bailout will work (or won’t), how it will be paid for, and how it will affect government spending in the next administration.

2) Change: Yes, George W. Bush’s approval ratings are dismally low, so we’d all love a change. But the reality is, with a $700 billion bailout and many troop commitments abroad, nothing is going to “change” quickly, and some things likely won’t change at all. Please be more specific.

3) Plan: You’ve got one. But I’d like to hear the a), b), and c), and how each will be funded.

4)  Energy independence: I am all for independence, but a little realism would be nice, too. To be truly energy independent would not mean drilling or digging for more and more oil. It would — in the long term — mean nothing less than a restructuring the entire energy sector. We won’t get there in four years of anyone’s first term. For now, it’s a pipe dream.

5) Winning: …the war on terror… the war in Iraq… the war in Afghanistan. The fights we are fighting have no clear finish lines. Tell me instead what benchmarks you are looking to meet, when, and the challenges in your way.

Maybe then, you’ll win my vote. 

Elizabeth Dickinson is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.

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