Binders, Malarkey: Funny, But Not Enough to Win This Election
7 months ago
We have to do more than repeat the candidates' catch phrases come Nov. 6
As a child of the ’80s, catch phrases have played a prominent role in my life. From Mr. T’s forceful “I pity the fool!” to Scarface’s terribly-accented “Say hello to my little friend,” some cats are still using some of the biggest ones at (in)appropriate times.
We’ve seen a surge of new catch phrases in the last few weeks of this election cycle. While slogans have long been election mainstays—Hoover’s “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” in 1928, Eisenhower’s “I like Ike” in 1952, Obama’s “Yes we can” in 2008 come to mind—the candidates’ off the cuff remarks have quickly become more widely known than the phrases the campaigns spend millions plastering on bumper stickers, T-shirts and online adds. Blame the combination of televised debates and real-time second screen commentary on social networks like Twitter and Facebook; we don’t even have to wait for the media to tell us what’s resonating with viewers. Before the closing statements are delivered, we know exactly what the latest catch phrase will be (at least among those who actually watch debates).
Joe Biden created several new memes during his performance at last week’s vice presidential debate. Thanks to him, I’ve shouted, “That’s a bunch of stuff!” and “Malarkey!” at least 270 times, mostly at my (slightly annoyed) husband. And after watching the second presidential debate on Tuesday, we have a few new catch phrases to add to the lexicon. The first came from Mitt Romney, who in response to a question about workplace gender inequality, spoke about “binders full of women” he requested when looking to fill staff positions. Of course, #bindersfullofwomen began to trend on Twitter almost immediately. The second came when Romney thought he had President Obama’s back against a wall about the attack in Benghazi, and the president essentially told him to go sit down. I promise you, “Get the transcript” is not only the latest catch phrase, it is the new black.