Political Cliches

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Political Cliches for Political Candidates (from politicalcliche.com)

Contents

Candidate Descriptions

Here are the phrases to use when describing a candidate. 'She' can be substituted for 'he' where appropriate.

  • He's his own man.
  • He's a man of vision.
  • He's a visionary.
  • He has a clear vision for our future.
  • He's a man of character.
  • He's a man of integrity.
  • He's a man of great moral fiber.
  • He's a candidate for the people.
  • He'll bring dignity to the office.
  • He's running a grassroots campaign.
  • He cares about children and families.
  • He's demonstrated real leadership.
  • He'll make a difference in people's lives.
  • He's good for the country.
  • He knows what the country needs.
  • He's running on his record.
  • His record on the issues is clear.
  • He's a voter advocate.
  • The voters know what he stands for.
  • The voters can identify with him.
  • He understands the voters.
  • He connects with the voters.
  • He's willing to stand up to the Washington bureaucrats.
  • He won't back down to the special interest groups

Running a Campaign

Slogans and logos

One of the first things to establish is a campaign slogan. All successful politicians fight for something. Good things to fight for are Working Families, Our Children, or better yet Our Children's Future. You can say just about anything while on the campaign trail provided you tie it to Our Children's Future. If your opponent is already using a "fight" slogan, then you should consider "working" for something in yours. Realize that Working for Working Families sounds pretty awkward. Incorporate "fight" in your campaign before your opponent does.

Most successful campaigns make use of the red-white-and-blue color scheme. A stars-and-stripes decor in campaign signs, buttons, banners, and brochures is a nice extension of this principle. If your opponent grabs these colors before you do, you'll be at a significant disadvantage.

Brochures, town hall meetings, and sound-bites

Employ as many of the following cliches as possible. Try to use "We" in favor of " I " and "Our" instead of "My". People like to believe that we're all in this together. Always talk about our children even if you don't have any of your own.

  • This campaign will focus on the issues.
  • We'll build a bridge to the 21st century.
  • We'll face the challenges of the new millennium.
  • We'll grow the economy.
  • We're going to reform government.
  • We'll reach across party lines.
  • We're here to serve the American people.
  • We'll fight for working families.
  • We'll empower people.
  • We'll leave no child behind.
  • We must put children first.
  • Our children's future is at stake.
  • We have to look to the future.
  • Together, we'll build our future.
  • Together, we can make America great.

Discussing Polls

  • It's still early.
  • There's still a long way to go in this race.
  • I've never believed in polls.
  • What matters is how people vote on Election Day.
  • Polls don't mean a thing.
  • Polls are much ado about nothing.
  • I looked at a poll earlier today and it showed a completely different result.
  • The polls fail to show who has the momentum.
  • People will vote with their conscience.
  • People will vote with their hearts.

Debates

If you are going to disagree with your opponent during a debate, be sure to preface your comments with "With all due respect" even if you have no intention of showing any semblance of respect in your rebuttal.

You can deaden an impressive statement your opponent makes by starting your reply with: "The fact of the matter is...". Although his comments may be 100 percent accurate, this subtle remark conveys the impression that he doesn't have his facts straight.

A nice way to summarize a long, meaningless, rambling remark is with the words: "At the end of the day...". This gives the half-asleep audience the impression that you see the "big picture" in a seemingly complex subject. It is crucial for a successful politician to have a powerful stage presence. The majority of people who watch political speeches have little interest in what is being said. They are evaluating a speaker's delivery style and mannerisms while paying scant attention to the content of the speech. The speech can and should be filled with cliches (listed below), interspersed with facts and figures that may or may not have some connection with reality. But the speaker must look convincing while delivering a speech, even in the rare case that something of significance is being said.

The Power Fist

A speaker should always have the hands in motion and make plentiful use of authoritative gestures. The most important hand position is the Power Fist. To attain this position, follow these simple steps: 1) Raise one hand to about chest-level. 2) Make a fist with the thumb on top. 3) Slightly uncurl the index finger so that the thumb rests in the notch of the middle joint of the index finger.

You should have the position demonstrated by former California governor Gray Davis in the adjacent photo -- a good way to visualize the Power Fist is to imagine you are holding a small American flag. The key component of this gesture is having the thumb clearly protruding above the clenched fingers.

You are now ready to make your statements with confidence and authority. The best way to use the Power Fist is to punch the air while simultaneously emphasizing individual words at the end of a sentence. Let's say you are proposing some program and you want to promise that there's something in it for everybody. End your last statement with "...FOR-EACH-AND-EVERY-AMERICAN...", each word spoken in cadence with a deliberate punching move from the Power Fist. This will guarantee applause from your audience.


Pauses

Pauses add drama to boring speeches. If you do not include pauses, you might as well sing your audience a bedtime lullaby - the effect will be the same. While pauses are always important, it is critical to interject them in any theme that involves Seniors, Families, or Our Children. Here, one can bite the lower lip as if you are about to be overcome with the emotion of the moment. It's very convincing.

Analysis of a Debate

  • He held his own.
  • He hit a home run.

Cliches for Speeches

A good political speech should use lots of cliches, the choice of which depends on whether you are an incumbent, a challenger, or just trying to impress your constituency. Here's a sampling:

  • This country has a proud heritage.
  • I've journeyed into the heartland of America.
  • I've met with real Americans.
  • We are the defenders of freedom around the world.
  • We're the leaders of the free world.
  • We're the greatest country in the world.
  • No dream is beyond our reach.
  • We're one people bound together by a common set of ideas.
  • Let's celebrate our diversity.
  • We'll find out how great a nation we can be.

For Incumbents

  • Our country is as strong as it's ever been.
  • This country has come a long way.
  • This country is headed in the right direction.
  • We're a better, stronger country than we were four years ago.
  • These are the most peaceful, prosperous times in our history.
  • We still have a lot to do.
  • The real credit goes to the American people.

For Challengers

  • The middle-class deserve a tax cut.
  • It's time to get tough on crime.
  • Let's take back our streets from the criminals.
  • We must win the war on drugs.
  • We need affordable health care for all Americans.
  • We need affordable prescription drugs for seniors.
  • We have to break the gridlock in Washington.
  • We have to change the tone in Washington.
  • Are you better off today than you were four years ago?
  • It's time for a change.
  • It's time for a new beginning.
  • It's time for real leadership.

Political Talk Shows

Nationally televised Sunday morning talk-shows offer expert analysis and commentary on politicians, political parties, and other political matters. What you'll wind up hearing is a slew of cliches, including many of the following:

  • He has flip-flopped on this issue.
  • He has a hidden agenda.
  • We're headed down a slippery slope.
  • We have a changing political landscape.
  • If we do that, then the terrorists win.
  • The world changed forever on September 11th.
  • Terrorism wreaks havoc on the very fabric of our democracy.
  • Drugs wreak havoc on the very fiber of our society.
  • The bill has support on both sides of the aisle.
  • He's going to throw his hat into the ring.
  • He's amassed a big war chest.
  • He's out on the campaign trail.
  • He's the dark horse in this race.
  • He's a centrist.
  • He's left-leaning.
  • He's just to the left of center.
  • He's in the hip pocket of big business.
  • He has to rally the party faithful.
  • The party rank and file are behind him.
  • He has to get out and press the flesh.
  • He's gaining momentum in the race.
  • He has to get out the vote.
  • He connects with the soccer moms.
  • He just picked up a key endorsement.
  • That's what this party stands for.
  • He has to solidify the base.
  • The voters are tired of negative campaigning.
  • The voters are tired of all the name-calling.
  • There's been a lot of mud-slinging in this campaign.
  • They engage in partisan politics.
  • They're playing dirty politics.
  • This is a smear campaign.
  • That's character assassination.
  • They're playing political football.
  • That's just a mean-spirited Republican policy.
  • That's another tax-and-spend program.
  • That's the liberal media bias.
  • The mainstream press has ignored it.
  • They're just (Current or last President)-bashing.
  • He's trying to distance himself from (Current or last President).

Scandals

This is some of the spin you'll hear after a public figure gets caught in a scandal:

  • We're all human.
  • We all make mistakes.
  • As the Bible says: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
  • There was a lapse in judgement.
  • There was an error in judgement.
  • This is a private matter that's being dragged through the press.
  • This is a fishing expedition.
  • There's no smoking gun.
  • You have to question the timing of this story.
  • One incident should not tarnish his many years of distinguished public service.
  • I'm sure he can rise above this.
  • The true test of character is how you handle adversity.
  • He regrets any pain he may have caused.
  • He has faced this matter with dignity and honor.
  • He has freely admitted his mistake.
  • He has taken full responsibility for his actions.
  • He has begun to reconcile with his family.
  • It's time to move on.
  • It's time to move forward.
  • We must put this unfortunate chapter behind us.
  • We must let the healing process begin.

Elections

On election night, the television networks and local affiliates have many, many hours of extended coverage. Their sets are always decorated red-white-and-blue with a "mission control" look and a slogan that says something like Decision 2004. This is the greatest day of the year for political cliches, including many that are heard only on this special day:

  • We're expecting a strong voter turnout.
  • This race is too close to call.
  • The race is a virtual dead heat.
  • They're running neck and neck.
  • Key precincts have not yet reported.
  • That's a battleground state.
  • He should be able to carry the state.
  • He appeals to the swing voters.
  • What's happening in the Bush camp?
  • It's obviously a jubilant atmosphere here at party headquarters.
  • It's obviously a somber mood here at party headquarters.
  • He's not ready to claim victory yet.
  • He's not ready to concede defeat yet.
  • He stayed on message.
  • He got out the vote.
  • He resonated with the voters.
  • He ran on a strong party platform.
  • How long are his coat-tails?
  • It was a landslide election.
  • He has a voter mandate.

Candidate Speeches

  • I've called the senator and offered my congratulations.
  • The people of the great state of New York have spoken.
  • Tonight, the people of the great state of New York have sent a message.
  • We're ready to go to Washington and get to work for the American people.
  • Finally, I'd like to thank my wife and family who have stood by me every step of the way.

Recounts

Here are some cliches to use during election recounts:

  • Every vote is precious.
  • Every vote is sacred.
  • Every vote must be counted.
  • Each vote is like a human voice.
  • We must determine the will of the people.
  • The voice of the voters must be heard.
  • The recount must be full, fair, and accurate.
  • Our democracy is at stake.
  • If we ignore votes, we ignore democracy.
  • We must do what's in the best interest of the country.
  • We must have a full recount for the good of the country.
  • We must follow the rule of law.
  • We don't want a fast result, we want an accurate result.
  • We can't disenfranchise the voters.
  • You can't change the rules in the middle of the game.
  • The votes have already been counted three times.
  • This election should not be decided in the courts.
  • They're trying to steal the election.
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