Case in Point: By Chris Honoré
Of course. It was a long, seemingly interminable marathon of a political campaign, beginning almost two years ago with hopefuls declaring their candidacies, then the primaries, countless debates, followed by the general election.
Whew! What a ride. Historical, massively important, an ongoing debate that produced some interesting, humorous, unforgettable, suspend-your-disbelief-before-you-listen-to-one-more-word moments.
Feeling a bit nostalgic? Well, here are some moments, famous and infamous, that will likely be entered into the political biography of campaign 2008. One caveat: The McCain-Palin crew did offer many more moments for Saturday Night Live levity, discussion, shake-of-the-head smiles than did the Obama camp, although Obama-Biden did produce a few gaffes that were memorable.
The McCain-Palin environmental response to the complex challenges of global warming, said by scientists to represent an unequivocal existential threat to mankind: "Drill, baby, drill" or "Mine, baby, mine." You have to admit it did have a nice ring to it. A certain simple elegance. And no geeky charts and graphs to study, no polar ice caps melting, no species going extinct to worry about. Just find that sweet crude and let's get 'er in the tank. You betcha. Recall that moment when Palin was asked by Charlie Gibson of ABC what she thought of the "Bush Doctrine." Okay, to be fair, did anyone really suspect that Bush had a doctrine? Any doctrine? Who knew? Well, as it turns out, neither did Palin, who began treading water, then asked for a lifeline. Or was that when she was asked to name an important Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade? Or was it when she was asked to explain what a V.P. really did other than to check on the health of the POTUS? She didn't know for sure, but gettin' some more power would be helpful, passin' some cool laws with the Senate could work, don'tcha know? As for seeing Putin slogging across the Russian tundra on snow shoes from her bedroom window? Not so much. Biden's gaffe came at a rally when he asked state Senator Chuck Graham to stand up and take a bow. "Chuck, where the heck are you? Stand up." Senator Graham is in a wheelchair. That was followed later when Biden, touching on the financial meltdown, had FDR appearing on television in 1929 to discuss the stock market crash. Only question that this begged: Was game three of the '29 World Series, carried by FOX, preempted for said FDR speech? Now there is video of Obama, weary, somewhere in Nevada or Montana or South Dakota explaining that he's visited 57 states so far and he's got one more to go. But hey, who can blame the candidate? Wake up in Utah and go to sleep in Iowa. Who's counting? After 20 months, it likely starts to feel like 57. Exhausted as well, McCain began a speech in Ohio with, "My fellow prisoners." Okay, fine. Maybe we should've put two pigs in a pen and the first candidate to put lipstick, eyeliner and blush on one of them wins. Cancel the election. No long lines. No sketchy voting machines. No nail biting, red/blue/purple state tally. Best fictional character created out of whole cloth during the campaign: Joe the Plumber. Complete fiction. Real name? Stanley J. Wurzelbacher (wasn't it Stanley?). Licensed plumber? Not. Buying a business worth $250,000? Nope. Owes outstanding state taxes? Yep. Planning on running for Congress in 2010? You betcha. Of course, it was Stanley who started the whole "Socialist" moniker thing which McCain-Palin repeated endlessly. The socialists are coming, the socialists are coming. Enough to make everyone paranoid. Or is it just the paranoids who are out to get us? Obama's mistake, when chatting up Joe the Plumber, was describing the progressive income tax plan currently in place as "spreading the wealth." For conservatives that's taking lipstick off the pig and then trying to floss its teeth. Freeze! Now slowly step away from those guns and let go of them Bibles. Who will ever forget the doppleganger Fey-Palin sketches. Creepy they were so good. And there was that moment when Fey, standing at the podium, pulled out her flute, asking if there wasn't a talent portion to the debate with Biden. At the beginning of said debate, Miss Congeniality said she wouldn't be answerin' the questions posed by the moderator but would be speakin' directly to the American people. Who didn't feel the love? And not to forget that maverick diva who went rogue in Saks and maxed out the RNC's credit card. Is that my Gucci or yours? At a humongous biker rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, McCain, making a campaign stop, volunteered his wife, Cindy, as a contestant in the "Miss Buffalo Chip" contest, a rock 'em sock 'em event that is usually topless and sometimes bottomless. Three handlers had to breath into paper bags for 30 minutes. Best line by Paris Hilton, who quickly pulled together an exploratory committee to test the political waters for her own run at something, "Thanks for the mention, old white-haired dude." Best line by McCain, post-election, seated across from Jay Leno on the Tonight Show: When asked how he was feeling, McCain said he was sleeping like a baby. "Sleep two hours, wake up and cry, sleep two hours, wake up and cry." Now that's the McCain of 2000 who went MIA in 2008.