Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
July 9, 2012

Obama “Betting On” America

Obama Betting on America Dietsch

Maybe it’s supposed to be brash, or even retro (considering the font), but this Obama slogan isn’t really working for me. As much as suggesting confidence, “Betting on America” also conjures long odds and risky bets. Or gambling. Like we’re approaching the point in the economic stalemate where government is left to casino revenues, state lotteries and sin taxes.

And we know who suffers the most from those schemes, don’t we?

(photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom via TPM slideshow: ‘Betting On America’: Scenes From Obama’s Bus Tour)

  • Enoch Root

    Contrast with ‘Betting On Global Finance’ or ‘Betting On Austerity.’ I wager you’ll never see signs with this slogan anywhere but outdoors, in front of gathered middle-class people.

    But yah, not so great.

  • Chad_goldman77

    Agreed, saw this the other day with Luke warm feelings.

  • robert e

    I get the slogan’s intent, but it’s kinda creepy, yes, coming during an economic crisis brought on by a rigged betting system (among other things). It’s too close to “Betting America” (as collateral). Which brings up the question: What’s he betting? Almost works, but totally doesn’t. So the candidate’s a gambling man? He’s got nukes? I dunno…

    It’s a shame, too, because I think one reason the slogan disturbs is because it strikes so close to home. The gambling theme is quite appropriate on a number of levels regarding our national/global economy, health care system, ecology and politics today.

    So: “Betting on America” — Great zeitgeist meme; lousy campaign slogan.

  • MorningForest

    Obama is throwing lots of slogans with the hope one of them will stick to the wall and catch on as a sound bite.  No, this slogan does not catch my interest.  I’m not betting on Obama.  Great article.  Thanks.

  • gmoke

    It works against Rmoney who has a proven track record of betting against America:  outsourcing jobs and holding offshore accounts.

  • maveet

    Hadn’t thought of it when seeing this sign in news clips, but it’s also a reminder of Romney’s $10,000 bet and Rick Perry’s, “I’m not a betting man” rejoinder.

  • bystander

    Given that a good chunk of Obama2012’s campaign financing is coming from the financiers of the Great Casino (otherwise known as Wall Street), I thought this was, finally, truth in advertising.

    • Michael Shaw


  • Thomas

    I don’t personally respond very strongly to it, but then again I’m a hardline lefty in a decidedly blue state. This is most likely crafted with all of the swing voters in swing states in mind; the low-information folks for whom voting truly is more like casting lots than an expression of personal identity or ideology. And for that use I think the construction makes a lot of sense. It significantly sets the emphasis on America and the economy over Obama the personality, and the retro type is a great straddle of patriotic nostalgia (for the triumphant post-war era of prosperity) and progressive stylishness (perhaps even overtly feminine?). And the betting language does have positive connotations too, of gutsiness, of improvisational openness, of trust and faith, of commitment through thick and thin. I think it’s actually a pretty great job of political positioning expressed in type, and with a pretty good attitude. Bold, smart, fresh.  Obviously it can’t do all the work, and the campaign has to build and reinforce the message so that its meaning is absolute come November.

  • MikeM43

    I like the slogan.  A sharp contrast to Romney’s off shore US tax dodge accounts, shielding his $$ from America.  

Refresh Archives

Random Notes