THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Todd Domke

Stolen winks into the ball-that-knows-all

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Todd Domke
February 28, 2008

MY CRYSTAL BALL is crystal clear.

Words from future diaries have appeared in the ball-that-knows-all.

From the year 2020, with perfect hindsight, here are some personal reflections on this year's presidential campaign.

John McCain:
Dear Diary, my friend - Looking back on 2008, a New York Times story about my alleged "romantic" relationship with a female lobbyist was a plus. It neutralized criticism that I was "too old." Good thing I leaked it.

Unnamed former staffers of mine told the Times they suspected the relationship was "romantic" because I winked when I introduced her as "my friend." Hilarious. I wink all the time, and call everyone "my friend."

Well, except a debate when I accidentally called moderator Tim Russert a "fiend."

TV shrinks analyzed me like crazy, including that blowhard, Dr. Phil. "You often lose your temper!" he said, wagging his finger at me. Ridiculous! Still, I suppose I should not have knocked on his noggin and said, "Hello, anybody home?"

Was I my own worst enemy? Not while Mitt Romney was around. What was I thinking, letting him be a surrogate speaker for me?!

"Ol' McCain will be a great president for as long as he lives!" said Mr. Subtle.

I remember how he played innocent when I called him. "Golly, John, it was a slip of the tongue."

Yeah, right. Mitt happens.

Still, I should not have told that reporter I wouldn't pick Mitt for vice president "because I can't afford a full-time food taster."

I should have leaked that quip instead.

Hillary Clinton:
Dear Diary of Disappointment - I had that 2008 flashback again . . .

It's when Bill compared Barack Obama to Jesse Jackson. His gaffe was the tipping point. After that, my candidacy seemed like "Karaoke Night at the Opera."

Why didn't he just announce that I would appoint Ann Coulter as UN ambassador and finish me off in one fell swoop?

I still wonder: Did Bill really want me to win? Was he worried that I would outshine him as president, and historians would refer to me as "the good Clinton"?

I'm not a conspiracy nut, but it's not a conspiracy if there's only one guy involved.

And I still don't know how Bill talked Barack into picking him as his running mate.

Mike Huckabee:
Dear Book of Revelations - Before I became host of "Wheel of Fortune," I ran for president.

McCain won the nomination that year, but I gave the best convention speech. True, I borrowed some rhetoric from Democrats . . .

"Hope. Change. Inspiration. Those are the things America needs! Will you provide those things, Rush Limbaugh? Will you get behind John McCain? Lead us out of the wilderness into a new frontier! Come home, Rush. Come home."

The applause was incredible. Even though Chuck Norris was standing next to me during the speech (adding his own gestures), I think the delegates were mostly cheering for me.

Indeed, I thought McCain might come out on stage, hold my arm aloft (and Chuck's), and declare, "Mike Huckabee, will you be my running mate?"

Alas, he did not. I saw him peeking at me from behind the stage curtain. But he only winked.

Barack Obama:
Dear Chronicle of Change - I remember when the 2008 campaign turned nasty.

Clinton supporters circulated a photo of me dressed like a Somali elder in Kenya. Predictably, the media went wild.

My supporters retaliated by distributing a picture of Hillary in a dreadful tweed pantsuit. I'm no fashion expert, but the suede elbow patches looked very inappropriate for that cocktail party. Even though it was a shrimp cocktail party.

The conflict escalated.

Hillary went on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" with a photo album. "I've tried to show restraint and set a nice tone in this campaign," she lied. "For example, here are some pictures I refused to post on my website."

One showed me with bell-bottoms and an afro . . . another in a plaid tuxedo. . .one where I'm wearing a Davy Crockett cap, at a birthday party for Ted Kennedy.

George Will rescued me. He showed a photo of Sam Donaldson with a Mohawk.

It turned out to have been doctored, but it ended the discussion.

Ralph Nader:
Dear Diary of Personal Sacrifice and Struggle against Corporate Greed and Collusion, Political Corruption and Apathy, Media Hypocrisy and Complicity. . .

Uh-oh, forgot what I was going to write.

Anyway, my campaign is fine. You know what they say, sixth time is a charm.

Bill Clinton:
Yo, Diary - I had lunch with John McCain today.

We reminisced about 2008. I said, "You know, I didn't sink Hillary on purpose."

He just winked.

I wonder what he meant by that.

Todd Domke is a Boston area Republican political analyst, public relations strategist, and author.

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