Good morning and greetings, Presidential Election fans. Wow, what a wild and tragic week we had running up to Tuesday’s election. Hurricane Sandy wreaked unbelievable havoc and destruction along the east coast, with the most severe damage occurring in my home state of New Jersey and New York. These two states and the New York Jets were declared a state of emergency while requesting federal assistance about what to do with Tim Tebow.
This incredibly powerful freak storm left behind a surreal landscape of devastation. We’re talking homes destroyed, towns under water, millions without power and heat, the New York subway system ground to a halt, a rising death toll and Halloween being cancelled in many places. So much for eat, drink and be scary. There was talk of cancelling the election, as how were people going to get to the polls? By canoe?
The final word on Sandy comes from Yankee fans, who said if the storm had been named Hurricane A-Rod, it wouldn’t have hit anything.
But we are still on track to vote to see who will occupy the White House for the next four years. So with some big help from the folks at randomhistory.com, let’s take a look at some fun facts about previous presidential elections. Or as either Donald Trump or his hairdresser once said, “How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?”
The first official presidential election in the U.S. took place in 1779, with George Washington becoming our first Commander-in-Chief. While in office, the Father of our Country did not chop down any cherry trees, refused to serve a third term and made history by becoming the first president not to blame his troubles on the previous administration.
Under the heading of “I did not know that,” prior to the 12th Amendment of the Constitution in 1804, the presidential candidate who received the second highest number of electorial votes was named the vice-president. The oldest presidential candidate to be elected was Ronald Reagan at age 69, while the youngest was John F. Kennedy at 43. If he had been elected in 2008, John McCain would have take over the title of oldest elected president at age 172, er, 72 years old.
In the 1984 presidential election, Reagan received both the highest number of popular votes (54,455,075) and the highest number of electoral votes (525) in history. As a Hollywood actor, Ronnie once played the role of football star George Gipp in “Knute Rockne, All American.” Because of this, I would tell my son before he stepped onto the floor before a big game, “Sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.’
The first general election presidential debate was held on September 26, 1960, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Prior to this, presidential candidates occasionally debated, but never on TV. Tricky Dick had not completely recovered from a hospital stay and looked pale, tired and sickly. He also refused to wear any makeup, and as a result, he had a heavy five o’clock shadow look on the black-and-white TV screens from that era. JFK, by contrast, was tan, confident and relaxed with Marilyn Monore sitting in his lap during the debate. For Nixon, it was a Watergate,er, watershed moment.
The presidential election is traditionally held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Or in the words of Gregg Allman, “They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday is just as bad.” November was chosen as the election month because it was a convenient time for farmers, when the weather was still nice enough to travel to the county seat, as the bulk of their harvest chores and Halloween trick-or-treating was done.
The Obama-McCain 2008 presidential election was the first time in U.S. history when two sitting senators, although McCain was probably dozing, ran against each other for president. Only two women have ever won the nomination of a major party in a U.S. presidential election: Geraldine Ferraro was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 1984, and Sarah Palin was the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee. However, Palin was the only one who could see Russia from her house.
In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election to George Bush when the Supremely Inept Court stopped the Florida recount of ballots, giving George W. the state’s 25 electoral votes, for a total of 271 to Gore’s 255. This went down as the biggest heist in history until Saddam Hussein’s ordered his son to rip off $1 billion from Iraq’s Central Bank just hours before the U.S. began bombing Baghdad.
So let’s end with the following oaths. “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” And more importantly, I’m Geoffrey Gilbert and I approve this blog.
For today’s photo recap we are going back to the lovely evening of October 7. The clouds were lining up nicely as I hit Stockton Avenue for the sunset cruise, and as this day turned into night, no man nor beast walked away disappointed. Or to quote the great Woody Allen, “Today I saw a red and yellow sunset and thought, how insignificant I am! Of course, I thought that yesterday too, and it rained.”
On to some late night. “Halloween is a day when we all get to fool people into thinking we’re someone else. Or as Mitt Romney calls it, campaigning. We had the last presidential debate. A very subdued Mitt Romney. If you saw it, Obama would talk, and then Mitt would say, ‘what he said, but from a white guy.’ In the last three weeks, Mitt Romney has come out against tax cuts for the rich, against war, and suddenly for regulations, for teachers, for auto bailouts, for the UN, for birth control, for foreign aid. And what I love is that at this point it’s too late for the Tea Party to do anything about this except act like they’re okay with it. At this point they’re at this point they’re like Jerry Sandusky’s wife.” –Bill Maher
“Michelle Obama is with us tonight. She’ll encourage us to vote early. Most Republicans are opposed, because they believe that voting starts at conception.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Today Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president. This news surprised many elderly Americans who thought they were the same person.” –Craig Ferguson “The debates are over. All that’s left right now is to set up and rig the voting machines.” –David Letterman
“Michael Brown, the former director of FEMA who was forced to resign after Hurricane Katrina, has criticized the president. He said Obama may have acted too quickly this time — instead of taking the wait-and-do-nothing approach that worked so well during Katrina.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Donald Trump, did you see him today? He was giving candy only to kids who could show their birth certificate and their school records.” –Jay Leno “President Obama now has a 52-point lead with Hispanics. However, Mitt Romney has a 90-point lead with the people who hire Hispanics.” –Conan O’Brien
“The hurricane has interrupted the presidential campaign. Both presidential candidates are taking measures to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. President Obama is staying in Washington to coordinate relief efforts. And Mitt Romney is moving his smaller homes into his larger home.” –Conan O’Brien “This storm could mean the biggest power outage since the Yankees in the playoffs. Economic losses could reach $20 billion. And most of that is in paper towels.” –David Letterman
So that’s our election day special. Birthday wishes go out to my old backcourt running mate, Aromas’s own Doug MacKinnon. In my greatest days of basketball glory, Doug was right beside me, picking and rolling, as our opponents were helpless to stop us. The bigger they were, the harder they fell. We were legends in our own minds. Now we both have great futures behind us.
So remember to vote early and vote often. We’ll catch you being named last season’s sixth man of the year and alongside Linsanity, exploding out of the blocks this season with your new Rocket team. Aloha, mahalo and later, James Harden fans.