In 1996, longshot presidential candidate Caroline Killeen mocked President Bill Clinton for saying he once tried marijuana, but didn’t breathe in the smoke.
It’s been 20 years (!) since filmmaker Al Ward and I met Caroline Killeen, a.k.a. the “Hemp Lady,” at her presidential campaign headquarters – a homeless shelter in Manchester, NH. Following the lonely ex-nun through the slushy streets on the day before Christmas, we shot the first scenes of our first documentary, “Why Can’t I Be President?”
I celebrate Killeen’s legacy – and reveal what happened to her – in today’s Boston Globe, as part of their fantastic “Primary Memories” series.
Produced for PBS stations, “Why Can’t I Be President?” highlighted the quirkiest feature of the New Hampshire Primary – that ANY American (age 35 and up) who pays $1,000 can run for President.
In most other states, who gets on the ballot is determined by the political parties, the Secretary of State or by gathering tens of thousands of signatures of registered voters (which requires a huge organization and lots of money.) In New Hampshire, the dream is yours – a permanent place in history – for a thousand bucks.
Some “fringe” candidates, like the Hemp Lady, devote their candidacy (and resulting media attention) to a serious cause. Some use their candidacy as a resume line to sell books and get higher rates on the speaking circuit. And some are just simply crazy, like your local Town Meeting crank – but with a much bigger megaphone.
It’s fascinating to consider how the term “fringe” has evolved since then. Continue reading
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 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
With all the birthday hoopla surrounding Abraham Lincoln, his favorite Bible, and his reincarnation as Barack Obama, there is one angle that has been unfortunately overlooked by historians.
Deep in the woods of New Hampshire, there was once a bearded, wood-chopping, Lincoln enthusiast who ran for president against Bill Clinton. Fringe presidential candidate Carmen Chimento, who served me one of the most fantastic veggie omelets I’ve ever eaten, even went as far as putting his face on phony $4 bills!
The following clip, from my 1996 documentary “Why Can’t I Be President?”, is narrated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.