My mother always said, "Stay out of religion and politics," and I will leave spiritual matters aside. But frankly, Mom, the presidential contenders are just too tempting.
I actually started thinking about the candidates when writing about the ongoing woes of American Airlines. Someone mentioned the airline's old slogan, "Something special in the air," and I immediately thought of passengers flailing away with their legs sticking up in the air, as happened during the recent "loose seats" debacle. Not a good look.
Anyway, I was pondering airline slogans and started wondering if any would make zippy campaign mottos, and then ... OK, cue the wavy-lines-on-TV-screen. We're about to get "creative."
Both candidates have perfectly serviceable slogans -- President Obama with "Forward" and Mitt Romney with "Believe in America." Both are pleasant, certainly inoffensive, but perhaps a little vague. ...
OK, they're boring. If these fellows would take a cue from the airlines, they might be able to spice up the race.
Some airline slogans are better for this than others. A bad example is the Russian carrier, Aerflot, which used to advertise with the line, "Fly with Aeroflot's airplanes," which rather begs the question: Fly with their airplanes as opposed to what -- their submarines?
Here are some better airline slogans, past and present, that might make this fall a little livelier.
More Experience Than Our Name Suggests (Virgin Atlantic)
A slightly racy connotation, but what do you expect from Richard Branson? The rock star of airline entrepreneurs has always had fun (his airline's home page used to greet readers with a jaunty, "Hello, Gorgeous!"), and the slogan could be useful for any candidate wishing to lighten up a bit. However, since President Obama has already held the top job for four years, the "experience" line might work best for his Republican counterpart.
Defy Obstacles (Air Canada)
This early-days slogan is definitely not much fun and feeds into Canadian stereotypes of dullness (stereotypes that would shatter forever after even a brief visit to Toronto or Vancouver or a host of other terrific Canadian cities). I suppose the president might be open to adopting this in the wake of the general response to that first debate, although Romney might consider it after his back-and-forth on the "47 percent" issue. More likely, both men would rather just skip it to embrace a more recent Air Canada motto: "World class, worldwide."
You're Going to Like Us (TWA)
The magic of this slogan, which dates from the 1970s and 1980s, didn't last. TWA went in and out of bankruptcy before gasping its last in 2001. Perhaps the sense of bad karma will put off our candidates so ... on to the next one.
Live Today, Tomorrow Will Cost More (Pan Am)
This old slogan for a proud but long-defunct carrier would terrify most voters. I suspect both candidates would be far better served by employing a former president's mantra: "It's the economy, stupid."
Doing What We Do Best (American)
Definitely an old slogan. You can see it in a TV ad featuring flight attendants in '80s hairdos and hemlines spouting such lines as, "We know the best trip through the airport is a fast trip through the airport," and asking when was the last time you had a fast trip. Not to mention there's that karma thing again, as American Airlines finished September with an incredible record of 21,000-plus delayed flights (and more than 1,000 canceled flights). Next!
A Passion For Perfection (Lufthansa)
Not bad. But will voters believe anyone running for any public office is in anyway capable of perfection?
Easy Life, Happy Flights (Lucky Air)
That's the current slogan for China's discount carrier, Lucky Air. Easy life? I'd remind the candidates to beware of making promises you cannot keep.
When You've Got It, Flaunt It (Braniff)
Both Democrats and Republicans might like to claim this slogan, though it is a bit egotistical -- and therein lies the problem. The "flaunt it" credo, which grew out of a late-'60s advertising campaign, was widely praised -- especially by "Mad Men" types -- but is said to have ultimately backfired as customers grew weary of the bragging because service on Braniff flights started falling off a cliff. The airline flew its last flight in May 1982.
Very nice. Very dull, too. Next?
We Really Move Our Tail for You (Continental)
This is almost as bad as the old National Airlines series, "I'm Cheryl. Fly Me." Notice that National disappeared back in 1980 when it was acquired by Pan Am, which itself disappeared in 1991. Not a great slogan for anyone, these days.
There is no particular slogan or catchphrase in the new (and excellent) TV ad from Delta, but it does include one line I'd like to see engraved on every airplane: "Never let the rules overrule common sense."
Best line for the candidates? Steal what the pilot always says at the end of a flight: "Thank you for joining us, we know you have a choice."
And if your choice doesn't win, you can always head over to JetBlue (slogan: You above all.). The carrier is running a contest for those who say, "If my guy doesn't win, I'm leaving the country!" Prize: a ticket out of the country.
The opinions expressed by Rick Seaney are his alone and not those of ABC News.