21 August 2012


by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 21 August 2012

"If the grace of God miraculously operates, it probably operates through the subliminal door." William James

With all the traffic, much by car, flooding into Tampa, Florida this week for final planning and coordination of next week's Republican National Convention, what better topic to address than the bumper sticker.

Do bumper stickers matter? It depends.

About a month and half ago I wrote commentary titled 'The Art of the Presidency' - to-the-point analysis about the artwork, the logos, adopted by Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney.

That analysis and opinion zeroed in on the president's logo being all about him, and his challenger's logo emitting a message of country and people.

The respective bumper stickers...

Mr. Obama

His logo, though a circle - an "O" for his surname, is squarely about self. And, his message  'Forward.' ends with a stop sign - a period. What does 'Forward.' mean - in light of unrealized grandiose campaign promises; four years of economic stagnation; crippling debt; and a nation divided to mention only a few failures?

Where is Mr. Obama's bumper sticker message of country? Of the people? Of unity? Of action? He's spent an inordinate amount of time talking with nothing to show for it. As for his message, a simple lean to the word - FORWARD. - more effective.

Translation: 'Forward.' is about one person - Mr. Obama. And the upright unremarkable font with a period suggests going nowhere - it represents the very static unremarkable ineffectiveness of his tenure; not criticism but observation. If that's the purpose, then perfect.

Mr. Romney

His logo has a sense of country and people. Wrap the word 'America' around the catchy 'R' and so much stronger the message. 

Translation: The 'R' - serendipitously holding center place - reflects people and pulling country - land of the red, white, and blue - together. The forward leaning letters imply movement, action, and the exclamation point a hand slap on the table gesture of emphasis. Through word and logo the bumper sticker message - country, people, and unity.

Mr. Obama's message is clear - him. And that is not going to change. By staying with the logo that helped get him elected he's giving notice to expect four more years of the same. Anyone paying attention? But might his logo, his message, now associated with a sustained record of failure, actually be seen by the public as something else? Surely the optimism of 2008 is not today's reality.  


Mr. Romney's message is clear, too - we, us, team. He's running on a platform that includes proven leadership and reintroducing executive and business experience to the Oval Office. Imagine that, someone who has experienced success in the economy and actually knows something about economics.

To those loyal to Mr. Obama, whatever the reason, a bumper sticker message will not matter.

But there is a crowd, a big crowd and not just independents, who voted for Mr. Obama that are none too happy with his performance. They are disappointed and feel betrayed. And some feeling foolish (I know some of them) for voting for him the first time - allowing emotion to subdue their rational thought. To them, a bumper sticker, a refreshing soundbite offering an alternative, just might be all that's necessary to encourage a closer look at Mr. Romney and so vote.

Humans are complex beings. Mr. Obama's election just reconfirmed emotion can trump reason. His election also proved that there's a price to pay, more often than not a hefty one with no buyer's remorse, for making an emotional decision. But emotion has run its course and an awakened America will vote reason in the looming election - though between two men, it really being about the America Mr. Obama wants and the America the majority of Americans are determined to keep.

As for bumper stickers, who knows their power.

Long ago I heard a successful business executive remark about capitalism and the art of selling, "Everything in life is advertising. Everything. We are bombarded by advertising - from bumper stickers to billboards. And you never know who's attention you'll attract and how it will influence their thinking and behavior." 


Do bumper stickers matter? It depends.

But, as I've written dozens of times, in the world of non-linearity small, seemingly insignificant things, can make for disproportionately big outcomes. And time and again life proves that to be the case. Why not a bumper sticker?!

In closing, as has always been and will ever be, America is bigger than one man - even the one man his faithful like to describe as 'cool.' Remember, there's cool and there's absolute zero - that point when disorder (in a system) reaches its minimum value. The president's cool dropped significantly in November 2010. And has continued to drop. Soon Americans, principally the steamed silent majority patiently waiting who only speak in voting booths, will again opine about cool - and with zero doubt about it, absolutely with exclamation point!

Post Script

Related commentaries.

The Art of the Presidency

Small Things, Big Consequences, and Electing a President http://acoloneloftruth.blogspot.com/2012/08/small-things-big-consequences-and.html

Mr. Obama's Punctuation Goof! - Period?

The Election - It's Over - The R's Have It!


Mr. Romney Doesn't Need a Zinger, But...

Oh What a Late Summer Night's Dream - 'O' Concedes

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