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Rusty Phrase Rushes to the Rescue of Both Parties Rusty Phrase Rushes to the Rescue of Both Parties

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Conventions 2012 / CONVENTIONS 2012

Rusty Phrase Rushes to the Rescue of Both Parties

photo of Katy O'Donnell
August 29, 2012

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said on Wednesday night that “help is on the way,” they co-opted a phrase that has been molded to fit each party’s goals in the conventions of recent years.

  • McConnell spoke broadly, aiming the message at the country as a whole: “We’re here this week for the simple reason that our nation is in desperate need of leadership--and we believe Mitt Romney is the man for the moment,” McConnell said. “That’s the hopeful message coming from Tampa this week: After four long years, help is on the way."
  • Later the same night, Pawlenty used the phrase to pledge that Mitt Romney would scale back regulation of small businesses: "[Entrepreneurs are] saying: I want to grow my business and employ people, but they're also saying this: Just get the government off my back! We need to let them know help is on the way, and help's name is Mitt Romney.
  • Former Vice President Dick Cheney, accepting the nomination in 2000, told members of the military and their families that help was on the way--presumably in the form of greater funding. He criticized the Clinton administration for paring down the armed forces: “For eight years, Clinton and Gore have extended our military commitments while depleting our military power,” Cheney said. “Rarely has so much been demanded of our armed forces, and so little given to them in return.... And I can promise them now, help is on the way. Soon, our men and women in uniform will once again have a commander in chief they can respect, one who understands their mission and restores their morale.”
  • Challenging both Cheney and former President George W. Bush over their handling of the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Democratic candidate John Kerry told more than one group that help was on the way in 2004. After pledging the addition of 40,000 active-duty troops in order to relieve an “overstretched, overextended” American military, Kerry said, “To all who serve in our armed services today, I say, help is on the way.”
  • Kerry also promised help to the middle class, saying he would cut their taxes while ending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. He then repeated the refrain, “America can do better, and help is on the way” five times, punctuating anecdotes about homeless people in D.C. and a struggling worker in Philadelphia, among others.

 

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