Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to explore strange old quotes, to seek out new sayings, and new ways of stating them in a galaxy not so far away. [Listen to our podcast at thequotablespodcast.libsyn.com ]

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Most Vulgar Campaign Slogan Ever

With everyone still a little hungover from Campaign 2012, it seems like an appropriate cure is a bit of the "hair of the dog that bit you." In other words, more campaign slogans. That's the topic of Votable Quotables on this week's episode of The Quotables. Download the podcast now.

Franklin Pierce: Even in the 19th century,
it was all about the hair.
Our research for the episode turned up one of the most vulgar campaign slogans I have ever heard: "We Polked you in '44; we shall Pierce you in '52." Clearly my reaction to this slogan from 1852 has been colored by modern sensibilities. I have, perhaps, watched too many PG-13 movies and listened to too much rap music. Nevertheless, I cannot imagine that pre-Facebook people particularly enjoyed being poked much less being pierced. Neither activity seems very polite, either.

On top of that, Pierce was something of a nonentity. He had not been expected to gain his party's nomination, was not a national political figure, was a Northerner with Southern sympathies in the era before the Civil War, and he had not held elected office in some time. But, he was a war veteran and since no one really knew what he thought about anything, he was a "safe" candidate when the convention deadlocked. (You see, back then, the country did not endure endless months of primary battles and the candidates were actually selected at the convention.)

Fortunately for the poking, piercing candidate, his opponent was Winfield Scott, an anti-Slavery Southerner whose running mate came to be known as "Old Fuss and Feathers"--not exactly a nickname to inspire confidence. To make things even more interesting, the two parties had virtually identical platforms. So, what really made the difference? Turns out, Mr. Pierce was a genuinely nice person. People just liked him.

And, I guess, they didn't mind being Pierced.

What's your favorite campaign slogan?

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