Change vs. Country
There were two shirts at the checkout counter of my local convenience store - one McPalin, one OBiden. The background on one repeated the word "Country", the other "Change." It's hard to imagine the underpinnings of a campaign message being any more abstract. 2004 was a referendum on the war that became a war over patriotism. 2000 was health care vs. anti-Clinton. 1992 was foreign policy for Bush vs. "it's the economy stupid" for Clinton. Today's themes seem one step further removed: change everything vs. put the U.S. first.