May 16, 2009

Seriously, a New Deal

"More recent presidents have had trouble making their labels stick. Mr. Clinton called for a New Covenant in a series of speeches at Georgetown in 1991 as he ran for president, but pollsters turned thumbs down and he largely dropped it. George W. Bush championed an Ownership Society when he ran for re-election in 2004, but that also made little public impression.

Robert Dallek, a presidential historian, suspects Mr. Obama’s expression may suffer the same fate.“I’m not sure what it means,” Mr. Dallek said. “The successful slogans tied in a convincing way to current events. T.R.’s Square Deal, F.D.R.’ s New Deal, J.F.K.’s New Frontier and L.B.J.’s Great Society all resonated because they summed up what their presidents intended and what the public was eager for at the time. I guess you could say the same for the New Foundation, but foundation doesn’t strike me as a word people will comfortably take to.” — NYT
New foundations has problems: it's hard to imagine giving a building a new foundation. New foundation means new building. You can't just let it hang in the air while you slip in and replace only the bottom. It's like taking a card from the bottom of the deck, or removing a tablecloth while people are still eating.

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