Hope for 2013

A horse, of course: Hope

For the sake of argument, let’s say there are no coincidences in this world (an idea otherwise known as Trish’s Law of No Coincidences).

If you disagree, then please explain to me how Americans choose the name “Hope” for the young Clydesdale featured in the 2013 Budweiser Super Bowl ad, which was born the weekend of Pres. Obama’s second inauguration.

Obama, for those who missed the last five years of history, has been needled and scorned by both Republicans and Democrats, by late-night comedians and old movie stars (O.K., maybe just Clint Eastwood), by Sarah Palin (“How’s that hopey-changy thing working for ya?”) and Hillary Clinton, all for his message of hope.

When Clinton rejected hope in her 2008 primary campaign, I knew she would lose. After she and her surrogates went negative with their “3 a.m. and who will answer the phone when terrorists call” ad, when Hillary talked before Pennsylvania crowds about “hard-working white Americans,” and several other cringe-worthy missteps, I said at the time:

How can Obama score so many wins by offering so little — just hope — and yet everything — hope?

…At some point, [Clinton] allowed herself to morph into the candidate who does not represent change, the candidate who derides hope, the authority figure who announces the party is over and it’s time to get back to work. Who wants to vote for that?

But Obama kept up the message of hope through his whole first term, even though after Palin left politics for media stardom the word became a punch line. And while he used the slogan “Forward” instead of “Hope” and “Change” for his re-election bid, he continued to talk hope on the campaign trail, in his victory speech, and on inauguration day.

Which brings us back to that horse. Budweiser crowd-sourced the naming of the foal that would star in its “Brotherhood” ad, which began with the newly born horse, followed it through training, graduation to Budweiser work, and reunion with its first owner. “Hope” was born the Saturday that kicked off inauguration weekend, as millions gathered in Washington D.C. to participate in events marking both the start of Obama’s second term and the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anheuser-Busch said Tuesday that its contest to find a name for the foal born Jan. 16 at the company’s Clydesdale ranch in mid-Missouri generated more than 60,000 tweets, Facebook comments and other messages. Hope was one of the more popular names generated through the social media effort.

Other suggestions were nods to the song featured in the commercial, including Landslide — the name of the song — and Stevie — for Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks.

“We were overwhelmed by the response we got,” Lori Shambro, brand director for Budweiser, said in a statement.

“Many of our fans wanted a name to reflect their optimism and spirit, which the name Hope encapsulates beautifully,” Shambro said.

Always did, always will. And now, forward.

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