Slogans for the ages

Baltimore Glimpses

August 13, 1991|By GILBERT SANDLER

IN the current mayoralty campaign, Mayor Schmoke's slogan is "Get on Board." Clarence "Du" Burns' is "Du Knows Baltimore." William Swisher's slogan is "The Best for Baltimore."

These are slogans that just blow you away, aren't they? But then few campaign slogans from Baltimore or Maryland election campaigns have entered into community memory.

One of the few memorable slogans came out of the 1966 gubernatorial campaign of George P. Mahoney. Exploiting the tense racial climate of those years, Mahoney sought to pander to some white voters' fears about integrated housing. Hence, Mahoney's slogan: "Your home is your castle! Protect it!" Mahoney lost. Spiro T. Agnew used the slogan, "My kind of man, Ted Agnew is!" sung to the tune of "My kind of town, Chicago is." Much earlier, in the late 1920s, Albert C. Ritchie ran for governor using the slogan, "He's Maryland's Greatest Governor! Why Change?"

In the 1959 mayoralty race, the Grady-Goodman-Graham ticket used "Three G's for Good Government."

When Philip Goodman ran for president of the City Council, he used the slogan, "Vote for a GOODman!" (Who could argue with that one?) When Charles ("Mac") Mathias ran for the U.S. Senate, his slogan urged you to "Back Mac." (Or with that one?)

When Walter Orlinsky was running for mayor of Baltimore, his campaign literature presented his name as "BaltiMORElinski!" And Tommy D'Alesandro Jr. ("The Elder") had himself sung into office (to the tune of the Notre Dame victory march):

Cheer, cheer for Tommy De Ay

He is the winner of every fray.

Cast your votes for Tommy Dee Ay,

The defender of the U.S.A.

(It was never explained why Tommy running for mayor of Baltimore was the defender of the whole country.)

But possibly the most memorable, or at least among the most effective slogans, was the one used against William Preston Lane by the campaign of Theodore R. McKeldin in the 1950 governor's race. It broke all the rules of political sloganeering by actually mentioning the opposition's name! Lane had, in his administration, put in the sales tax -- with us to this day. McKeldin's strategists, sensing the electorate's irate mood over the tax, started using the slogan "Pennies for Lane." The genius was that McKeldin himself never used the slogan; it was cleverly arranged that the anti-sales tax voters did! (People actually threw pennies at Lane when he made public appearances.)

Poor Lane. Beaten by a slogan his opponent never used!

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