Do the slogans and quips from U.S. elections stand up to the test of time? Test your meme-ory!
This election has seen its fill of wacky catchphrases: from “Build the Wall!” to “Basket of Deplorables,” and (my personal favorite) “FFS, WTF IS HAPPENING WITH THIS WORLD?!!!!” – just a few that have sired more internet memes than can fit on a facebook feed.
Let’s see how much you can recall from elections past! Here’s a fun quiz. The letters next to each correct answer will spell out a secret message. Send Metropole your solution and we will randomly select one of all the correct entries for the grand prize.
Round 1: Politics in the New Millenium
2012 Obama-Biden vs. Romney-Ryan
1. “You didn’t build that” refers to:
N) An allegation that Birther Movement leader Donald Trump couldn’t prove he was born before his eponymous Fifth Avenue tower was erected;
O) Rick Santorum’s misquoting Adam’s reaction to the Creator when Eve appeared in Eden;
I) Obama’s awkwardly phrased remark about the social symbiosis between business, government and labor, which he later amended by saying, “so you built a business by yourself! Whaddya want, a friggin’ medal?”
M) his inability to name any specific females qualified to serve in his cabinet, and his plan to have “women’s groups” pimp talent for him if necessary;
R) his collection of Swedish pornography.
3. “Corporations are people” was
V) what a Supreme Court majority decided in the Citizens United ruling, giving corporations unhinged power to bribe politicians with millions of dollars, just like you or I can!;
I) Romney’s response to a heckler at a campaign rally, who ridiculed his promise not to increase corporate taxes. “We could raise taxes,” Romney continued, but “everything that corporations earn ultimately goes to the people…into human beings pockets.” (His deep-pocketed donors wholeheartedly agreed);
E) a oxymoronic omen that corrupt capitalism has reached its penultimate paradox;
W) all of the above.
2008: McCain-Palin vs. Obama-Biden
4. “Drill, baby, drill!” exclaimed
O) Michelle Obama, when her daughter Sasha became a majorette in her school’s marching band;
I) Sarah Palin, refuting climate-change science and clean-energy alternatives to fossil fuel, shortly before BP spilled nearly 5 million barrels of black gold into the Gulf of Mexico;
L) the lead female character of Open Wide, a X-rated movie about dentistry fetishists.
5. What did Obama mean by “putting lipstick on a pig”?
C) That Sarah Palin’s cosmetician had her work cut out for her;
U) That perhaps someday observant Jews and Muslims could be convinced to savor swine;
T) That “Maverick” McCain’s attempt to distance his policies from sitting-President Bush’s was merely cosmetic. No, Obama most certainly did not intend to imply that Sarah Palin (who had recently said that only her lipstick differentiated her from a pit bull) was a pig.
6. “Joe the Plumber” was
W) the code name of the Republican Party’s private investigator charged with digging up dirt on the Obamas;
H) a nickname given by John McCain to Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, who publicly criticized Obama’s tax proposal as harmful to small-business owners like himself (even though he wasn’t one) and went on to be exploited by Republicans and the Tea Party as a convenient symbol of the oppressed, white middle-class “value voter” that they claim to champion;
O) a fictional working-class everyman, whom elitist east-coast liberals derided as being a pitiable beer-guzzling slob who should have paid more attention in high school if he wanted a better job.
2004: Bush-Cheney vs. Kerry-Edwards
7. “Swiftboating” refers to
U) one of Bush-Cheney administration’s “extraordinary” methods of “renditioning” suspected terrorists to Gitmo;
G) John Kerry’s tenure as coxswain on Harvard’s rowing team;
H) an “astroturf” smear campaign secretly financed by rich Republican donors that successfully convinced many American voters that John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam war hero, personally wiped out his own platoon, shot himself in the foot and then had a secret romantic fling with Ho Chi Minh.
8. “Flip-flopping” refers to
T) the time when an Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his sandal at George W. Bush at a press conference in Baghdad, exclaiming, “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog”;
O) any such subsequent “shoeing incidents”;
E) How Republicans mocked John Kerry for admitting that he “actually did vote for the $87 billion [bill funding the ongoing Iraq war], before I voted against it,” because we all know it’s much better, politically speaking, to stand stubbornly by horrible decisions based upon lies than to change one’s opinion based on revealed facts.
2000: Gore-Liebermann vs. Bush-Cheney vs. Nader-LaDuke
9. The “Lock Box” is where
G) third-party candidate Ralph Nader hid out after furious Democrats issued death threats to prevent him from stealing their votes;
O) A secret room in the West Wing where Bill Clinton kept his cigar humidor and a harem of big-lipped interns;
R) Al Gore promised to secure $2.3 trillion in surplus Social Security funds (remember those days?) so that future presidents couldn’t spend it on unnecessary foreign wars, bailouts of corrupt mortgage banks and building border walls.
10. What the heck is “hanging chad?”
?) What Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea says to rock-steady drummer Chad Smith when he starts to lag the tempo;
%) A hypocritical vote to impeach Bill Clinton (for lying under oath about Monica Lewinsky) cast by certain Republicans (e.g., Bob Livingstone and Henry Hyde) after their own extramarital affairs were disclosed;
!) because many elderly Floridians could not manage to operate those “newfangled” voting machines, which used state-of-the-art mechanical levers to punch a hole in a paper ballot, hot debate ensued during the recount as to whether the partially punched paper “chads” were “hanging,” “pregnant” or “dimpled” and clearly indicated voter intent. Luckily, the Supreme Court put an end to all that nonsense and declared Bush the winner!
Round 2: Ancient history (ask your parents)
For extra credit, match these historic political memes with their originators:
“Show me the spot”
a) Bill Clinton, when he denied the existence of Monica Lewinsky’s stained blue dress;
b) Abraham Lincoln, disputing the fabricated reports of a Mexican invasion, which eventually rallied the nation into the Mexican-American War. (Thank God, congress was never again swayed by such overheated rhetoric and convinced to support an imperialist war!)
“Clean as a hound’s tooth”
a) Hillary Clinton, comparing the fabrics of her pantsuits;
“Let me make one thing perfectly clear”
a) George Bush Sr., promising never ever to raise taxes;
b) Richard Nixon’s pet phrase, usually used just before he would tell a lie.
“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”
a) Franklin Delano Roosevelt, announcing the “New Deal” of social-liberal programs that helped end the Great Depression;
b) Ronald Reagan, citing the “most terrifying words in the English language.”
“Oh, the vision thing”
a) Cyrus Habib (current Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor of Washington State), responding to questions about what will doom his campaign more: being completely blind or being Iranian-American;
b) George Bush Sr., reacting to criticism that his campaign wouldn’t come up with some trite populist solutions for a gullible, disengaged public.
“That giant sucking sound”
a) Bill Clinton, describing his “sexual relations with that woman” (Monica Lewinsky);
b) Ross Perot, predicting that his enormous ears would hear this if the pending North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) passed, theoretically causing America’s overpaid blue-collar jobs to go south of the border, leaving only grossly underpaid menial laborer’s jobs that no one else besides Mexican guest workers would take.
Round 3: Campaign Slogans
“This time, vote like your whole world depended on it”
Hillary Clinton (2016) or Richard Nixon (1968)?
“Make America Great Again!”
Donald Trump (2016) or Ronald Reagan (1980)?
Which of the following campaign slogans isn’t authentic?*
1) “Reigniting the Promise of America”
2) “Our Best America Yet!”
3) “Restore America Now”
4) “Restore Our Future”
5) “Let America Be America Again”
6) “He’s making us proud again”
7) “Return to normalcy”
8) “Let Well Enough Alone”
9) “I Like Dick”
(*1.Ted Cruz, 2.Gary Johnson, 3.Ron Paul, 4.Mitt Romney, 5-John Kerry, 6-Gerald Ford, 7-Warren G. Harding, 8.William McKinley)