Near the end of that year, it was much sadder: “Dec. 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.”
F.D.R.’s outstanding speech-writing team included Harry L. Hopkins, Samuel I. Rosenman, Adolf A. Berle Jr., Benjamin V. Cohen and the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Sherwood, all masters of the power and emotional resonances of words.
My advice to President Biden: Ask playwrights and writers like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Aaron Sorkin, James Patterson, Sarah Ruhl and others if they have some ideas for Democratic messaging.
The writer, a professor of humanities at Williams College, is the author of “1940: F.D.R., Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler: The Election Amid the Storm.”
To the Editor:
When the Democrats’ policies fail to generate popular support, they inevitably chalk it up to “poor messaging.” The problem, however, is not that they lack a “pithy,” “bumper sticker worthy” marketing message for their programs.
The problem is what they are trying to sell: excessive regulation that drives up prices and discourages innovation; social welfare policies that largely benefit the wealthy and harm those they are supposed to help; and crony-capitalist subsidies for politically favored constituencies.
If Democrats think a new slogan is needed, they could do worse than President Clinton’s declaration in his 1996 State of the Union address: “The era of big government is over.”
Kenneth A. Margolis
To the Editor:
So the Democrats are on the hunt for a catchy bumper-sticker slogan to replace “Build Back Better” and bring them success in the midterms.