McKinley in 2000

In Reports from Green Lake by Brady Carlson0 Comments

Are you a Republican who won’t vote for George Dubya? MOP-UP has the answer!

We’ve got a booming economy, peace in Kosovo and crime is way, way down. If it holds up for another 12 months, Al Gore will be the next president of the United States, period.

This obviously doesn’t please Republicans, who went through this “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” election loss with Bob Dole in 1996. Regardless of circumstances, a great candidate can turn things around for the GOP. But do they have one? Frontrunner George W. Bush has no announced policies, and the other contenders- Elizabeth Dole, Steve Forbes and Dan Quayle- don’t offer much more info themselves.

That’s why a handful of diehard Green Lake Republicans are offering an alternative Republican candidate for the upcoming election: former president William McKinley.

“McKinley’s a brilliant choice,” says Jo Ann Woolitt, founder of MOP-UP (McKinley’s our President, U Poops!). “He’s already got five years of White House experience, he’s never lost a Presidential election, and best of all, he’s got no political favors to pay back. He’s the perfect ‘outsider’ candidate.”

A McKinley bid may be what the Republicans need to unseat Gore, the keeper of the Clinton legacy. But even though early numbers suggest that McKinley could win, the task is not without its difficulties. For one thing, McKinley hasn’t said if he would run or not. Woolitt waves this off, saying “He’ll run. If we draft him, he won’t say no. He’s that type of candidate.” Also, McKinley was shot in 1901 by a crazed anarchist, which brings up two possible problems, his being dead and, consequently, his possible reluctance to return to public life. Woolitt’s thoughts? “I don’t really think it [being dead] will be a factor. Our polls show that McKinley’s charisma as a speaker and candidate is still higher than Al Gore’s even though he’s dead.” MOP-UP has formed an exploratory committee on McKinley’s behalf, and have begun the obligatory petition drive to secure his name on primary ballots this coming March.

Mainstream Republicans were quick to dismiss the McKinley issue when it was first proposed, but their protests come less often as Woolitt and MOP-UP gain credibility. Trent Lott, who once told reporters “I think she [Woolitt] needs to be bathed in raw sewage” told our sources last week that “McKinley could very well be an asset to our party in the coming election.” Candidates Bush and Dole both issued press releases saying that it was time to look to the future, not to the past, but neither have mentioned McKinley in recent weeks, trying to avoid bringing any further media attention to the 25th president.

Democrats are confronted by the McKinley factor as well, and are trying to walk a tightrope between matching (if not outdoing) the Republicans at their own game and propping up the Gore campaign. Some party moderates are endorsing Martin Van Buren and Grover Cleveland, stand-up party men (or should that be “propped up”?), as possible Gore running mates, but not without opposition. “What the #$@# is with all these dead people these days?” said one Democratic Senator who wished to remain anonymous. “As if there weren’t enough stuffy old guys in Washington. I see Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s office every day, I feel like I should bow my head when I walk by!”

Much can happen before the primaries kick off, and the fate of the McKinley-2000 project remains to be seen. But life adds a bizarre footnote to every news story: the biggest winners in all this talk, regardless of party, are the makers of the Weekend at Bernie’s movies, who find that their vision for a new relationship between the living and the dead is finally becoming real. Writer Robert Klane told Associated Press that “Bernie’s… wasn’t just entertainment, it was a political statement. Now we know how da Vinci felt when we finally used his ideas and made helicopters.” Political death, apparently, has taken on a new life in American politics.

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