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 ...
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
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.
More from Foreign Policy
A New Multilateralism
How the United States can rejuvenate the global institutions it created.
America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want
Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.
The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy
Beijing’s representatives are always scared they could be the next to vanish.
The End of America’s Middle East
The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.