Category Archives: Election 2008

Revisiting the Funniest Presidential Candidate Ever (Digitally Remastered Version)

As radical funnyman Vermin Supreme is experiencing an unprecedented surge in political media coverage and popularity, I think it is vital to remind America that I (kind of) discovered him first.

With that in mind, filmmaker Greg Constantine and I have released a new digital remastered version of “King of the Rats: On the Campaign Trail with Vermin Supreme,” which was a finalist in CNN’s iReport Film Festival.

  • SEE Vermin get pushed around by Mayor Rudy Guiliani’s bodyguards! (Vermin calls them “goons.”)
  • LISTEN to Vermin boldly predict the John Edwards sex scandal, daring him to come out of his campaign bus with “his hands up and his pants down.”  Also hear him warn about America’s lack of zombie preparedness and embrace Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) as his vice presidential running mate.
  • WATCH Vermin dance with his plate of prime rib at John McCain headquarters and covertly sneak into a Barack Obama victory party!

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Filed under Election 2008, Election 2012, Political Satire

Love him or hate him, Obama still has the magic touch

Four years after my baby daughter used Barack Obama as a photo prop, there’s another infant about to become a media superstar!

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Filed under Barack Obama, Election 2008, politics, The Baby Primary

What Me Worry? Barack Obama finds MADdening common ground with George W. Bush

In an odd political pairing, Obama and George W. Bush have both been redefined by the MAD magazine’s mascot. Astoundingly, Obama compared his protruding ears to those of Alfred E. Neuman’s at the annual Al Smith political dinner in Manhattan. Bush as been hammered as a guy who’s way too lackadaisical in a crisis.

How long will it be before President Obama is slammed with the “What Me Worry?” image?

If you like offbeat political and pop culture memorabilia like this, then please check out my new Slate magazine slideshow devoted to the fake presidential bids of Archie Bunker, Fred Flintstone, Snoopy, Charile Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus Van Pelt, Barbie, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mr. Clean, Captain Morgan the Rum Pirate, Fonzie, Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla, and MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman!

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Help me solve a cartoon and political mystery: Who was Magilla Gorilla’s 1964 running mate?



In a brilliant marketing move, Hanna-Barbera studios plunged Yogi Bear and Magilla Gorilla into the presidential race against LBJ and Barry Goldwater. Yogi was already an established cartoon star, but Magilla had just been created as a vehicle to sell a new line of toys.

Now, my self-esteem is in jeopardy, as I cannot identify the slouchy Droopy character that H-B put up as Magilla’s running mate. I know there is a sad-sack Droopy the Dog character, but he is not the same animal pictured on the button.

Anyone deemed particularly helpful in solving this mystery will be entitled to a vintage 1960 “Peanuts for President” cocktail napkin, from the same box that I comment on in this Slate magazine analysis of fictitious presidential advertising campaigns.

Offer good while supplies last.

(I always wanted to say that).

Looking forward to hearing from some cartoon scholars!

If you like offbeat political and pop culture memorabilia like this, then please check out my new Slate magazine slideshow devoted to the fake presidential bids of Archie Bunker, Fred Flintstone, Snoopy, Charile Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus Van Pelt, Barbie, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mr. Clean, Captain Morgan the Rum Pirate, Fonzie, Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla, and MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman!

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Filed under Election 2008, politics

Eddie and Teddy: What does Baltimore Orioles legend Murray have in common with President Roosevelt?

It’s tempting to dismiss Ken Griffey Jr. as washed up or as another Mickey Mantle case of bad knees ruining his true potential. But Griffey was performing at such astronomical heights at such an early age for so long — and presumably without steroids — that he cemented himself in Cooperstown a decade ago. Don’t blink now, but he’s got 611 homers.

So why does the Ken Griffey Jr. for President campaign seem as outdated as all those Bo Jackson ads for Nike?

Griffey reportedly hated the Nike ad campaign, but it generated so much (pre-YouTube) buzz that rival sneaker company FILA put up slugger Eddie Murray for a White House bid as well. While the premise of Griffey’s TV spots wandered all over the baseball universe, bringing in Democratic pitbull James Carville, Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes and even funkmaster George Clinton, the Eddie Murray bit was a one-joke act.

Murray was notorious for giving the media the silent treatment. Think Teddy Roosevelt’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick” policy for the Western Hemisphere. His TV ads were all narration, naturally not even bothering to quote him.

Carville in the Nike ad was omniscient about the birth of the Washington Nationals. “If they’re so smart in Washington,” he said, “why don’t they have a baseball team?”

For more on baseball and fake political campaigns, check out the New York Mets grassroots effort in 1964 to elect one of their minor league shortstops to the Oval Office.

A bit more of baseball presidential campaign trivia: Red Sox legends Carlton Fisk, Ted Williams and Curt Schilling endorsed George W. Bush over the past two elections. Schilling pitched for McCain this year, up until the very last moment in New Hampshire.

If you like offbeat political and pop culture memorabilia like this, then please check out my new Slate magazine slideshow devoted to the fake presidential bids of Archie Bunker, Fred Flintstone, Snoopy, Charile Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus Van Pelt, Barbie, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mr. Clean, Captain Morgan the Rum Pirate, Fonzie, Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla, and MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman!

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Filed under Election 2008, politics, Sports

Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone body meld with John McCain at the Democratic National Convention

What are the Democrats going to do after they humiliate the 72 year old at the ballot box?

Perhaps they’ll need to find more old people to ridicule.

This unauthorized Flintstone’s body morph was a big seller at the Democrat National Convention.

If you like offbeat political and pop culture memorabilia like this, then please check out my new Slate magazine slideshow devoted to the fake presidential bids of Archie Bunker, Fred Flintstone, Snoopy, Charile Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus Van Pelt, Barbie, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mr. Clean, Captain Morgan the Rum Pirate, Fonzie, Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla, and MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman!

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Filed under Election 2008, politics

Political Button of the Day: Obama Prays for Victory

Gearing up for Election Day, I will occasionally share a favorite button from my modest-but-quirky political memorabilia collection.

Imagine a fortune cookie made with 2,000 pound slabs of Jerusalem stone and crumbling on one of the holiest sites in both Judaism and Islam. It’s a tradition to cram a note to God in the Western Wall (also referred to as the Wailing Wall) to the point that the crevices look like they are jammed with centuries of spitballs.

This button surfaced on a souvenir table at the Democratic National Convention, perhaps an effort to sway Jewish Americans on the fence to go for Obama.

The backstory is quite bizarre. A young rabbinical student swiped Obama’s prayer note after he stuffed it in the wall, causing a national uproar when it was published by a major Israeli newspaper.

Here’s what Obama’s scribbled note said:

“Lord — Protect my family and me,” reads the note, first published in the Israeli newspaper Maariv daily. “Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.”

Pretty standard stuff, although where’s the traditional Miss America contestant call for world peace?

If you like offbeat political and pop culture memorabilia like this, then please check out my new Slate magazine slideshow devoted to the fake presidential bids of Archie Bunker, Fred Flintstone, Snoopy, Charile Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus Van Pelt, Barbie, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mr. Clean, Captain Morgan the Rum Pirate, Fonzie, Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla, and MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman!

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Political Button of the Day: Mets farmhand Wilbur Huckle and the Metropolitan Party

Gearing up for Election Day, I will occasionally share a favorite button from my modest-but-quirky political memorabilia collection.


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Sometimes no matter how crappy he is in the clutch, a baseball player can be beloved for his name only. You know, the perfect baseball name. Like Duffy Dyer, Tug McGraw or Coco Crisp, whose name was so cool that fans thought he would be another Johnny Damon by coolness alone. I’m embarrassed to say I bought Crisp’s rap album.

The novelty wears off of course, when the realization kicks in that a guy with a boring name that hits .285 is far preferable to the “colorful, zany character in the clubhouse” who hits .230. Yes, I mean you, Kevin Millar. (For the record, I did not buy any of his albums).

But back to politics. Wilbur Huckle was a minor league fan favorite in the Mets farm system who didn’t even get one of those Moonlight Graham pity at-bats in the major leagues. In 1964, flush with excitement over their new digs at Shea Stadium, New York fans jokingly formed the “Metropolitan Party” and nominated Huckle as their presidential candidate.

Occasionally at Fenway, you’ll see a handmade “David Ortiz for President” sign vying for four seconds of TV coverage. But these buttons were everywhere at Shea.

Huckle, who was the minor league roommate of future Mets Hall of Famer Tom “Terrific” Seaver, did not wind up with any electoral votes against Lyndon B. Johnson and Barry Goldwater — but how many light-hitting Mets minor leaguers from the 1960s do we still talk about today?

Huckle’s brief cult hero status was captured in the book, “Williamsport’s Baseball Heritage,” by James P. Quigel and Louis E. Hunsinger:

“Shortshop Wilbur Huckle had the surest hands of any Mets infielder and delighted Bowman Field fans with his hustle and work ethic. Though small in stature, the affable redhead was a scrapper and one of the most popular players during the Mets years in Williamsport. He often conducted impromptu fielding clinics for neighborhood kids outside his Cherry Street apartment before arriving at the ballpark for official duty.”

“Affable redhead?” Sounds like a description of Lucille Ball.

The fact that Mets fans zealously adopted Huckle reminds me of Charlie Brown’s undying devotion to his favorite baseball player, Joe Shlabotnik, who batted .004 in one season due to a lucky bloop single. He also once threw out a runner who had fallen down between first and second base.

After retiring, Shlabotnik went on to manage one game with the Waffletown Syrups and was fired for ordering a suicide squeeze play with no one on base, according to the historians at Peanuts Wiki.

Huckle went on to manage the Batavia Trojans for three seasons (1972-1974), skippering his clubs to two sixth place finishes and one fifth place finish.

If you’re reading this, Mr. Huckle, please get in touch and let Mets Nation know which candidate you are supporting in 2008!

If you like offbeat political and pop culture memorabilia like this, then please check out my new Slate magazine slideshow devoted to the fake presidential bids of Archie Bunker, Fred Flintstone, Snoopy, Charile Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus Van Pelt, Barbie, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mr. Clean, Captain Morgan the Rum Pirate, Fonzie, Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla, and MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman!

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Political Button of the Day: The Estonian role in Nixon’s rise to power

Gearing up for Election Day, I will occasionally share a favorite button from my modest-but-quirky political memorabilia collection.

In all the historical nonfiction I have ever read, I have yet to see one writer explore the Estonian-American community’s role in President Nixon’s rise to power.

Did Nixon have any special affinity for Estonian voters? Not really. He covered his bets and issued campaign buttons for at least two dozen nationalities.

A random check on eBay surfaced “Hungarians for President Nixon,” “French for President Nixon,” “Scots for President Nixon,” “Ukranians for President Nixon,” and “Slovacks for President Nixon.”

Wonder what kind of slurs Nixon used behind these people’s backs?

If you like offbeat political and pop culture memorabilia like this, then please check out my new Slate magazine slideshow devoted to the fake presidential bids of Archie Bunker, Fred Flintstone, Snoopy, Charile Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus Van Pelt, Barbie, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mr. Clean, Captain Morgan the Rum Pirate, Fonzie, Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla, and MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman!

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Political Button of the Day: How “Reagan Hood” Spreads the Wealth

Gearing up for Election Day, I will occasionally share a favorite button from my modest-but-quirky political memorabilia collection.

As the proud recipient of the Ronald Reagan Academic Fitness Award, this political button pulled at my heartstrings when I spied it at a Democratic National Convention souvenir booth. But sentimentality wasn’t enough for me to shell out 45 bucks for it.

The real Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor, a la the imagined legacy of Barack Obama, while Reagan was demonized for allegedly doing the reverse. Or, are Obama and Reagan actually kindred spirits as this political analyst suggests?

The big question is: Could the Gipper pull off looking suave in that unflattering hat? Would Mikhail Gorbachev have taken him seriously?

It’s worth noting that Kevin Costner goes hatless on the DVD cover of “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”

If you like offbeat political and pop culture memorabilia like this, then please check out my new Slate magazine slideshow devoted to the fake presidential bids of Archie Bunker, Fred Flintstone, Snoopy, Charile Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus Van Pelt, Barbie, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mr. Clean, Captain Morgan the Rum Pirate, Fonzie, Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla, and MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman!

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Filed under Election 2008, politics