Nov 022010
Authors: Johnny Hart

So did you all notice something different about today? It was subtle, small and lingering.

Did you hear that? It’s the sound of silence. Or at least the absence of the blah blah blah created by campaign ads.

Tuesday was Election Day. For those of you who forgot, we can explain why. My colleague Johnathan Kastner, speaking on behalf of all students, put it poignantly in last Wednesday’s column: “We have no intention of voting in record numbers. Not now, not ever.”

By the way, if you haven’t read his column, flip to page 4. It’s usually way funnier than mine.

But in light of the election being over, I’d like to congratulate representative-elect (fill in the blank), governor-elect (fill in the blank, again), and senator-elect (you get the process). And a hearty good try to all other candidates.

You see, I’m writing this before the results come out. And I’m, quite honestly, too lazy to stay up and integrate them into my column.

But what I can do is give you a very brief history of election seasons past, most excitingly the worst blunders.

1. Dewey defeats Truman

So this gaffe goes all the way back to when people actually read newspapers for news. Actually, back to when they read them in general.

Let me explain. A newspaper is like a paper version of the Internet, ink and all.

On Election Night 1948 the Chicago Daily Tribune put its paper to bed, tucking it in with the headline, “Dewey Defeats Truman.” But in reality, Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey rather handily.

Needless to say, the paper woke up with egg on its face.

2. Gore wins Florida, sort of

I’m sure the 2000 Presidential Election will go down as one of the most stressful nights in broadcasting history.

First, it was Al Gore wins Florida. When Gore wins Florida, Gore wins the election.

Then it was George Bush wins Florida. Crap, everyone was wrong.

Then it was too close to call. Then hanging chads and recounts. Then finally the Supreme Court found the President-elect to be, in fact, George W. Bush.

The funniest part, though, came from former anchor Dan Rather’s remarks on CBS’s reporting.

“We would rather be last in reporting return than to be wrong,” he said, later adding, “If we say somebody’s carried a state, you can pretty much take it to the bank.”

Oh Danny boy.

3. Nixon/Kennedy debates

Oh boy, my “Media in Society” professors will be proud of me for this one.
In 1960, presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon faced off in a series of debates that would forever change history. The debates had such significance because, for the first time, they were broadcasted on TV.

Most people who listened to the debates on the radio believed Nixon won the debate. But the 70 million viewers who watched on TV saw a tan, well-trimmed Kennedy and a sickly, underweight, sweaty Nixon.

Kennedy won.

If we figured out anything about society in America it is that we like our presidents pretty.

4. Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric

You betcha this was a bad idea.

Just weeks before the 2008 Election, Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin granted an exclusive interview to CBS’s Katie Couric.

During the interview, Palin blundered a variety of questions, like what other Supreme Court decision did she disagree with. There was no answer.

Also, Palin asserted her foreign policy credibility by explaining her state of Alaska’s proximity to Russia and Canada.

Watch the tapes. Enough said. Let the mockery begin with Tina Fey.

5. McGovern’s choice for vice president

This blunder is a little less known, but if you’re a Hunter S. Thompson fan you’ll understand.

Basically George McGovern went from a fairly unknown Democratic nomination candidate to a legitimate presidential candidate in 1972.

Then he had to pick a running mate: Thomas Eagleton. Two weeks after the Democratic National Convention, it was revealed that Eagleton was clinically depressed and had received electroshock therapy.

Columnists began to question Eagleton’s ability to be vice president, and subsequently he withdrew from the campaign.

McGovern never recovered and got creamed by Richard Nixon on Election Night.


Multimedia Editor Johnny Hart is tired. Election Night is long. Send him energy drinks at

 Posted by at 2:19 pm

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