The First Priority: Rebranding America

by lestro

The new administration faces a daunting task. President-Elect Obama inherits a country in crisis on almost every front. While the economic crisis dominates, it is a piece of a much larger puzzle, all intertwined and all completely fucked up by the Bush administration.

As talk turns to priorities for the first 100 days, the true scope of the mess we have to clean up really comes into focus. The economy, health care, education, energy, climate, a growing debt and deficit and, oh yeah, two wars.

So what we all want to know is, what will they attempt to take on first? What should they take on first?

Some will say the economy, some will say energy, some will say defense.

But the real first priority for the new administration needs to be a catchy slogan. They need an overriding theme and message to encompass the full shift and shuffle of government that needs to occur.

Like FDR’s New Deal. Or Kennedy’s New Frontier. Or LBJ’s Great Society. Even Bubba’s New Covenant.

All of those were coherent packages ranging over multiple issues and linking them under a single, simple brand name. Each was a collection of legislative proposals encompassing a wide range of agencies and interconnected issues that when taken as a whole represent the full scope of change.

This has to be the first priority for the Obama Administration. They have to get people behind the concept and vision that they can later flesh out.

During the campaign, this team proved very adept at just these. They owned “change” and “hope” and while those work for a campaign, they can only be themes for a legislation package, but they need something new.

In fact, the smart bet is that it will be something “New.” Though it sounds too Boomer to me and I am hoping their people are better than that.

But I’d like to think there’s a white board somewhere deep in the heart of Obama headquarters with a big list of brainstormed ideas:

  • New Change
  • New Hope (star wars)
  • A New America
  • A New Promise
  • The New Spirit
  • New Prosperity
  • A New Opportunity

Only time will tell what the right phrase will be, but you can bet that while the pundits may be discussing whether the next White House will tackle the economy or health care first, the real first priority is a shiny, new Brand Name for the legions of Obama Faithful to get behind.

Only once a lofty, inspiring soundbyte (that looks good in Gotham font, obviously) is created can the public transition from being behind the man to getting behind the vision.

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