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    Anecdotal Observations On History & Politics

    Entries in 1988 (6)


    George Bush Also Rode in a Tank in '88

    "George Bush was in a tank three times during that campaign!"

                               - Michael Dukakis

    Former Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis pointed this out to me in an interview 5 years ago while explaining how the imfamous "tank ad" that the Bush campaign ran against him - but I'd never been able to find any images, until now.

    Here's an excerpt from our interview:

    ME: Tell me about the--the tank advertisement.

    DUKAKIS: It wasn’t an ad -- well, look; I was in a tank. George Bush was in a tank three times during that campaign! As I often say kidding these days, I’ve never thrown up all over the Japanese Prime Minister. I mean you know these things happen... But I didn’t lose because of the tanks; you know I lost because I didn’t run a very good final campaign.

    DUKAKIS: I let myself be defined by my opponent rather than doing the kind of job you have to do--first to blunt those kinds of attacks...

    DUKAKIS: If I had a nickel for everybody who has come up to me since 1988 and said you know you’re nothing like the guy we thought we were looking at in 1988--I’d be a millionaire.


    Timothy Leary Endorsed Ron Paul in 1988

    Here's an Ron Paul endorsement that probably raised eyebrows back in 1988:


    Paul, 52, is an obstetrician and a former four-term Texas Republican congressman. He bolted the GOP last year for the Libertarians, after a maverick political career that often ranged him against both parties, opposing income taxes, invasive laws and even congressional perks. With a campaign budget of more than $3 million (he rejected federal matching funds because "we don't believe in taking stolen money"), Paul is on the ballot in 47 states and Washington and has stumped in California 20 times, recently at a stellar fund-raiser thrown by "one-time acid guru turned New Age sage" Timothy Leary.

    Leary was an early LSD advocate who's mantra was "tune in, turn on and drop out," -- a message that doesn't exactly jive with the GOP of 2012.


    1988 and 2012: The Seven Dwarfs Redux?

    Much like the state of the GOP field today, the democratic nomination was equally wide open in 1988 and many contenders threw their hat in the ring -- and much like today, none were considered heavyweight contenders at the time, which earned them the unflattering nickname of the "seven dwarfs". The candidates included Richard Gephardt, Al Gore, Joe Biden, Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, and little-knows Bruce Babbit and Paul Simon, and of course, Michael Dukakis, who proved his meddle against them all. 

    With Huckabee and Trump out, dissatisfaction the the GOP field has reached an all time high. Unsure of Mitt Romney's liabilities, Newt Gingrich's gaffes, Ron Paul's so-called un-electability, Michele Bachmann's oft-factually incorrect remarks and Sarah Palin's hesitation, many on the right are hoping to draft alternate candidates who can unite the party and lead them to victory against Obama. Potential "white horse" candidates include Mitch Daniels, who is flirting with a run, and Chris Christie, who has rebuffed all efforts to enter the race. 

    While no-one has yet labeled the field the "seven dwarfs", now might be an opportune time to resurrect the label. After all, there are seven "serious" contenders, give or take a few:  

    1. Rick Santorum
    2. Tim Pawlenty
    3. Newt Gingrich
    4. Ron Paul
    5. Mitt Romney
    6. Michele Bachmann (assuming she runs)
    7. Jon Huntsman



    Gary Hart's Meteoric Fall in the 1988 Primaries

    24 years ago, one time Democratic frontrunner Gary Hart abruptly dropped out of the 1988 Presidential race. Besieged by negative press, the campaign had lasted only three weeks -- an implosion caused by a newspaper stakeout, a careless candidate and a photograph that suggested an extra-marital affair with a woman 20 years his junior. 

    Hart's nightmare candidacy began with several unconfirmed murmurs of infidelity. When questioned about the rumors, Hart took a defiant approach, playing chicken with the press, even daring reporters to tail him. 

    Famous last words. Watch this clip to see how the events unfolded:

    ABC Entertainment News|ABC Business News

    Outraged, Hart's defiance in the face of the evidence drew parallels to Richard Nixon's classic "blame the press" disposition. Nixon himself even reached out to Hart following his departure from the race, telling him that "They demand to ruthlessly question the ethics of anyone else, but when anyone else dares to question their ethics, they hide behind the shield of freedom of speech.''