Campaign Memories and Alka-Seltzer Dreams

In which our man Will Durst lays Presidential Campaign 2000 to rest with a compendium of his favorite moments of the past 12 months.

Image: AP Photo/Beth Keise

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“Will,” you say, “there can’t possibly be any good memories among the thousands of laughable, absurd, ludicrous moments our two lovable major political parties have provided us over the past 12 months.”

Well no, dear friends, there are not. Nonetheless, I like making lists. So, I have exhaustively sifted through the gaffes, scams, and blunders of the past campaign, and here are the ones I can remember.

  • Iowa Republican debate: John McCain is asked if he would keep Alan Greenspan on as chair of the Federal Reserve. McCain says that not only would he retain Greenspan, but if Big Alan were to die, McCain would prop him up and put sunglasses on him like in “Weekend at Bernie’s.” What he doesn’t mention is the precedent for this in Republican politics: That’s what they did with Reagan during his entire second term.

  • New Hampshire primary: Orrin Hatch drops out after polls show he remains at 0 percent with a plus or minus 4 percent margin of error.

  • New Hampshire Republican debate: George W. is asked the first thing he would do if elected. He says he would get down on his knees and ask God to help him. Gary Bauer leans over and says, “If you get elected, that’s the first thing we’re all going to do.”

  • New Hampshire Democratic debate: Bradley and Gore refuse to use strobe lights; millions of viewers who are unable to detect any signs of movement tune out, thinking a satellite glitch has occurred.

  • New Hampshire Gore rally: I’m sorry, I dozed off. Were you saying something?

  • Oakland Bush rally: Not one African American in attendance.

  • Republican Convention, Moment I: In an effort to appear sensitive to diversity, Bush picks a former CEO from a totally different Texas oil company as his running mate.

  • Democratic Convention, Moment I: Bill Clinton executes a perfect rock-star walk to the podium, but disappoints the crowd by failing to throw scarves while crooning “Blue Suede Shoes.”

  • Democratic Convention, Moment II: Barbra Streisand wears sunglasses in Staples Center so she won’t be recognized in her skybox as she waves at the cameras.

  • Democratic Convention, Moment III: Al tries to pump Tipper’s stomach with his tongue.

  • Presidential Debates, Moment I: Gore strides up to Bush, looks like he’s going to belt him, and in his only authentic moment all year long, Bush does a double take.

  • Presidential Debates, Moment II: Bush says he’s for affirmative access, not affirmative action. Hey, he’s the son of a president running for the presidency: That is affirmative action.

  • Presidential Debates, Moment III: Supporters find they believe in a lot of what Al Gore says, until he says it. Then the insight hits: “I thought so too, but now I’m not so sure.”

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And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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