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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


“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.”

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate