It was about the election. Then I forgot about it for awhile. Then I remembered. Then I considered adding some stuff about Palin and pitbulls and all that Rich Comedic Material. Then I didn’t. Here it is!
Grandad Remembers the 2008 Presidential Election
Now Adam, you’re going to want to start your history report with some context to give your reader a sense of the political climate back then.
The election was a big one, since this was going to be the president that followed Bush II. Now if you recall, he’s the one that got himself elected because the Florida governor, Chad Bush, allowed the use of Opposite Day Ballots. But after folks cast their votes for the opposite of the one they wanted, Chad Bush told them he was just kidding about it being Opposite Day. Everybody agreed it was a funny joke, including the Supreme Court, who thought it was so funny that they said, “Oh tell you what, we’ll just make it easier on everyone and decide who is president.”
The day after inauguration was 9/11, which was an event in which terrorists mailed an American flag to each citizen and told us they’d bomb us if we didn’t wave them from our cars. And then the next day we went to war with Smoking Crater IV, then known as Iraq.
And then in 2004, Bush II stayed president. I forget what he was running against, an inanimate object of some kind. Pretty sure it was a loaf—yes—a loaf of bread. And one thing that happened during that time: a young senator, Tupac Obama, got up at the convention and gave a speech about the loaf that made us Democrats go, “Whoa baby now, maybe we should’ve nominated a person after all.”
The Iraq war was still going on in 2008 in which millions of US troops died and I think a couple dozen Iraqis died too. And at home Bush II was flying around the country, personally bombing abortion clinics and building megachurches in their places, and then, in the summertime, drilling endangered animals for oil.
Now I seem to recall that the 2008 primary began around November of 2004. All of America watched, discussed, analyzed political strategies like they were plays in a football game. It was fun for us. It felt like it mattered. There were all kinds of crazy characters—a famous actor, a porn star, Gary Coleman, even a minister! Billy Graham was the minister’s name and he had the funniest commercial with him and Burt Reynolds trading lines where Billy Graham would say, “Burt Reynolds’ tears cure AIDS” and then Burt Reynolds would say, “Billy Graham is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.” But this guy John McBain won the Republican nomination because he’d spent a couple weeks in an ACLU camp.
And then on the Democrat side, there was Hillary Clinton who ran a campaign platform of, “I should be president because I already was president, sort of.” And then there was Obama who nobody thought would win, but his superpower was hypnosis, and every time he asked a rich person for a campaign donation, they shelled out. And his campaign slogan was, “Remember when I gave that great speech?” and then he switched it to “Hoping for Change in a Hopefully Changing World,” and people liked those words.
That primary lasted over three years and Clinton and Obama got as mean as they could be without hitting each other. Clinton would say, “Mr. Obama is a worthless prick who would make a fine Vice President,” and Obama would counter, “Mrs. Clinton is bitch whom I greatly admire. She’s running a great race.” And then Obama’s minister, Jesse James, said some things about how it was cool to be racist, in a way, and Obama gave a speech about how it’s actually not cool but racism is complicated, and it was such a good speech that he started running with the slogan, “That’s two amazing speeches now.” And then Clinton had her own scandal when her husband got drunk and made a YouTube video challenging Obama to a fistfight. And, uh, she lost in a really slow and anticlimactic way, and she kept saying that she was still running when she wasn’t, exactly. I don’t know. Look it up if you can. Has wikipedia been blocked?
Here’s the part I remember clearly, though. A little while after the primaries, some time around late September of 2008, all of Americas simultaneously stopped caring. Myself included. When election coverage came on the TV, people changed the channel. Many cancelled their newspaper subscriptions. Internet news outlets had to post election coverage next photos of naked people to get any hits at all. So they adapted, gave up covering the campaigns altogether. Obama and McBain continued to give speeches, but the rallies were sparsely attended and only covered on CSPAN.
It was burnout, Adam. The kind of political engagement that Americans showed throughout the years of primary was just not sustainable through the general election. We thought we’d rally come November, but just—I don’t know—didn’t. The number of votes was, I believe, in the hundreds. The Supreme Court said that wasn’t enough to elect either candidate, called off the election, and told Bush II to keep his job another four years or so. He accepted. And I guess he figured he could do what he wanted and declared war on Iran, Syria, North Korea… uh, some others. Nine in total.
You’ll want to conclude this report the usual way, Adam, which is to quickly muse that it’s good that history played itself out the way it did so that the American Empire could be taken under the mighty nurturing wing of Mother China. That way our family won’t disappear in the night. But I don’t need to tell you to do that, do I?