Category Archives: Election 2012

Holy Presidential Beef Jerky, Batman! The Best Political Gifts of 2012… (And The Best One for Me)

2012 GOP Presidential Candidates Channel the 1966 Batman Villains -- a masterpiece by artist Jon Stich (Click here to see more of Jon's work)

2012 GOP Presidential Candidates Channel the 1966 Batman Villains — a masterpiece by artist Jon Stich (Click here to see more of Jon’s work)

This Jon Stich original painting is selling for $700 and it would be living over my mantle tomorrow if I had that kind of disposable income. Personally, I think the artwork is worth at least 10 times that.  Look at the perfect match-ups between Batman’s mortal enemies and Barack Obama’s top archnemesises (what is the plural of “archnemesis?”)

In an interview for The Hill, D.C.’s Congressional newspaper, Stich told me he assigned the 1966 Batman villains Republican alter-egos based on facial characteristics and not personalities. He said he would have given the same treatment to Democrats if this had been an election year for them.

This masterpiece is the top pick in my 2012 Political Gift Guide, which you can read below. Limited edition prints are far more affordable at $15 a pop. Check out the rest of your wondrous Christmas and Chanukah options here:

The 2012 Political Gag Gift Guide -- Part One (Double click to enlarge)

The 2012 Political Gag Gift Guide — Part One (Double click to enlarge)

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The 2012 Political Gag Gift Guide -- Part Two (Double click to enlarge)

The 2012 Political Gag Gift Guide — Part Two (Double click to enlarge)

Inspired to do some shopping?  The links to buy are below. Please note that I am not affiliated with any of these companies and share their kitschiness only out of a pure love for the genre.

WHERE TO BUY (Double Click for Instant Gratification)
1. Gotham City GOP Painting
2. Republican Lady Fashion Dolls
3. Barack Obama Meathead Mosaic
4. Political Puppet Hecklers
5. Wall Street Victim Figurines
6. PEZidents – Presidential PEZ Dispensers
7. Joe Biden Laser-Etched Earrings
8. Pooping Commander-in-Chief

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Filed under 1966 Batman References, Election 2012, Politically Incorrect Products, Why Can't I Be President?

Collecting Political Losers

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1848′s GRUMPIEST CANDIDATE: Lewis Cass, who served in the presidential cabinets of Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan, fell short in his own White House bid against Zachary Taylor. (Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

I know why Democrat Lewis Cass lost to President Zachary Taylor in the 1848 election. Cass looks absolutely PISSED on his campaign buttons. Given that the above portrait is a drawing, wouldn’t you think that the political consultants would insist on drawing a smile or even a half-smirk?

Yet, according to Heritage Auctions, the Cass campaign button recently sold for $7,767, while the same style Taylor button fetched $4,182.

button

THE BEST CAMPAIGN SOUVENIRS don’t always translate to victory.

Despite losing the 1964 election to LBJ by an embarrassing margin, Republican nominee Barry Goldwater is still popular with political memorabilia collectors. (I happen to own a rusting can of 1964 “Gold Water,” which is literally what you think it is.)

Cass and Goldwater are anomalies, however. Usually, the political memorabilia of a second place presidential candidate winds up in the same closet as Super Bowl runners up and gracious Academy Award nominees.

John Kerry = Al Gore = Mike Dukakis = John McCain = Mitt Romney.

In my latest feature for The Hill’s quirky Capital Living section, I explore the fate of “Political Losers” and how they fare in the minds of history buffs and packrats.  Double click the newspaper image below or click here for an easy-on-the-eyes enlargement:
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Filed under Election 2012, politics, The Hill

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

Coming to a Birthday Party Near You — Obama vs. Romney

Hallmark’s first Mitt Romney-themed birthday card. The punchline: “Trust me. I know what a million bucks looks like.”

My latest cover story for The Hill’s “Capital Living” section explores an unexamined but critical factor in the 2012 Presidential Election: How will political birthday cards impact voter behavior at the ballot box?  Click on the image below to read the full story:

(Click to read full story)

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Filed under Election 2012, Journalism: The Hll, Political Satire, politics

Rock’em Sock’em Robots — Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney Edition

POLITICAL SLUGFEST: Forget about the ballot box. We can now settle the 2012 presidential election like men!

No one leaves the political ring without a black eye, right?

Toymaker and political rabblerouser Emil Vicale, founder of Herobuilders, just released a 2012 Presidential Election version of Rock’em Sock’em Robots — that classic 1960s mechanical boxing game that will make your thumbs more sore than any video game joystick.

Vicale is selling just the Mitt Romney and Barack Obama robot heads (with surgery instructions for decapitating the old heads and reattaching the new ones) for $39.95 — or the entire assembled set for $99.

BUT WAIT, doesn’t Mattel own the rights to Rock’em Sock’em Robots?  Absolutely.

Vicale maintains that anyone has the right to buy an existing product, customize it and then sell it on the secondary market. For example, you could buy a brand new Camaro, trick out the suspension, add funky hubcaps and paint the whole thing hot pink and resell it as a Hot Pink Camaro.

Herobuilders had an ugly battle with the PEZ Company a few years back over the same issue when they put their original Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani heads on top of regular PEZ dispensers. PEZ lawyers (candy does NOT come out of their necks) aggressively went after Vicale and he created his own dispenser device called  “Head Candy.”

The PEZ rivals, which actually are loaded with Sprees or Mentos, come with muscular male or buxom female body attachments (superhero and corporate themes).

But back to the boxing “Romneybots” and “Obamabots.”

A new way to teach kids about the reality of politics? The Herobuilders kit to modify your existing Rock’em Sock’em Robots retails for $39.95.

In an exclusive interview with The Hill (modest confession: I was first to break the Obamabot story), Vicale reveals that he is NOT parodying the Washington pundits’ universal characterization of Romney as a robot. He had been planning a McCain-Obama Rock’em Sock’em set in 2008, but his idea came too late in the election season to market it.

The Hill story also shares some fascinating behind-the-scenes debates over toy design:

“Both the Romneybot and Obamabot heads are portrayed in their natural skin tones and not the corresponding Republican red and Democratic blue. Vicale said the prototype heads looked too creepy in primary colors, making Romney seem like the Devil and Obama an alien from the movie ‘Avatar.’”

FATHER-DAUGHTER BONDING: Nothing promotes family togetherness like old-fashioned political mudslinging (or fisticuffs). Toymaker Emil Vicale enjoys his Obama and Romney robots with his 8-year-old girl.

If you’re a fan of political novelty toys and souvenirs, then Vicale is no stranger. He’s also the brainchild behind the Mitt Romney Etch a Sketch doll, the Newt Gingrich action figure (everyone wants one!) and a Barbie-like incarnation of U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

Not too early to start your Christmas shopping!

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Filed under Election 2012, Guys Who Play With Dolls, Political Satire, Politically Incorrect Products, politics, Tacky Souvenirs, The Hill, White Collar Boxing

Shoot for the Moon: President Obama scores a surprise lunar endorsement

BIPARTISAN SHOCKER: The Weekly World News Alien Endorsed Bush and Clinton

I’ve long admired the Weekly World News coverage of extraterrestrial political endorsements.

With the help of its mascot alien, the defunct supermarket tabloid accurately predicted every presidential election since 1980.

So please allow me to brag for being the first to break the news that President Obama has been endorsed by the world’s premier Lunar Real Estate Agent. That’s correct, the man who is selling acres of the moon for $19.99 plus $1.51 in “lunar tax,” doesn’t trust the Republicans this election cycle.

You can read all about this historic moment in The Hill — with a souvenir PDF print version here and here:

(Click the moon to read story)

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Filed under Election 2012, Extraterrestrial Real Estate, Weekly World News Alien

Suck It, Super Tuesday!

Post-Primary Jealousy: Click the picture to learn more about this depressing condition. (Cartoon by Brad Fitzpatrick/NH Magazine)

Truth be known, my bedroom doesn’t look ANYTHING like this. My wife Stacy keeps my political sign and bumper sticker collection confined to my office and the basement.

But there are kernels of truth embedded in “Primary Envy: Who Needs Super Tuesday?,” my latest humor column for New Hampshire Magazine. Why should the other 49 states have the right to vote? Can’t the candidates come back to Manchester, Nashua and Concord one more time for a rematch?

P.S. I know that voters are pumped in Ohio and Georgia, but does anyone care about the results of the Massachusetts Primary right now?

P.P.S.  My wife and I are also the only people in our social circles who don’t have a TV in our bedroom and don’t own a flat screen TV at all.  Sticking with the Cathode Ray Tube, baby!

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Filed under Election 2012, Last Laugh, Political Satire, politics

Hedging My Bets: Newt Gingrich and Dino Flintstone

Newt and Callista Gingrich cuddle with Dino Flintstone on the 2012 presidential campaign trail.

Now that Newt Gingrich has romped in the South Carolina Primary, I’m grateful that I hedged my bets this political season in my quest to get the 2012 Republican nominee for President to pose with Dino Flintstone.

As faithful “Culture Schlock” readers know, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney had waxed nostalgic about Dino while he was basking in the endorsement glow of New Hampshire’s junior U.S. Senator, Kelly Ayotte.

With the international media scrum outnumbering actual voters by 6:1, I boldly cornered Newt on New Hampshire Primary Day during his visit to the polls outside a Merrimack elementary school.  Here’s how the conversation went down:

Me: Mr. Gingrich, it’s a proud New Hampshire tradition that whoever poses with Dino Flintstone, wins the Primary!

Newt: (smirks and poses) You just made that tradition up, didn’t you?

Me: Absolutely!

Mrs. Gingrich had no comment on Dino, despite her husband’s well-known fascination with dinosaurs (he used to have a T-Rex skull in his office) and wild animals.

New Hampshire Primary third place finisher Jon Huntsman takes a moment on the most important day of his life to bond with Dino.

I gave the same pitch to Jon Huntsman as he was rushing away from a series of radio interviews late in the afternoon on Primary Day. He humored me by posing, saying “Well, then, I guess I should be part of the tradition,” but I got the sense that he thought it was quicker to pose and move past me than to just say no. He was in a huge rush.

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Filed under Dino Flintstone, Election 2012, politics

Newt in a Tree

What happens when you get on the wrong side of an obsessed (and vengeful) liberal neighbor.

Just for kicks, I recently staked Newt Gingrich for President yard signs on the lawns of two diehard Democrat friends who consider Newt to be the antiChrist.

This was a covert operation, under the cloak of darkness and with my engine shut off, and I must say there was perfect execution.  No physical damage was done to either lawn (minus the two pinprick holes in the soil), but certainly emotional damage was inflicted.

Both friends instantly knew it was me.  Friend A called me and exchanged a few hahas and that was that. Friend B vowed revenge.

And revenge came with a ladder, as he snuck one in my front yard in the middle of the night and wired the Newt sign tightly around a high branch of our Maple tree. I don’t put political signs of any kind in my yard, but I clearly deserved this stunt. Much to his disappointment, I was able to yank this down with a single jump.

So on the eve of a projected Newt Gingrich victory in South Carolina, how do I up the ante with my neighbor?

Perhaps flock his yard Pink Flamingo style?

Please take my Yard Sign Revenge Poll and help me decide my next step:

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Filed under Election 2012, politics

Republicans in Tights: The Superhero Primary

If you could be any superhero in the universe, who would you be and why?

That’s the question my nine-year-old son, Ari, just asked most of the Republican presidential candidates — in the spirit of the kind of deep pop cultural conversations that we have all the time.

Except that Ari is a much tougher interviewer with me, usually demanding to know my Five Most Favorite and Five Least Favorite characters across various movies, TV shows, comic books and literature.

Sometimes, the discussion veers off into villains, as well. For the record, no one tops any of the three Catwomen (Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether) from the 1966 Batman series.

This might come across as a cute kids video, but if you’re curious what it all means politically, please check out my “Republicans in Tights: Behind the Scenes of the Superhero Primary” column at The Atlantic.

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Filed under 1966 Batman References, Election 2012, The Superhero Primary