It's bumper-strip season


When election seasons roll in every two years, the bumper strips come out. And while it is still early in the 2006 off-year voting, favorite slogans can be spotted on the rears of cars.

This year, the Democrats, hoping to capitalize on President Bush's fading numbers in the polls, can be seen with the strip "No One Died When Clinton Lied." A tough one, but they usually are. Paul West of the Baltimore Sun called with that one.

Several other current and past political writers were queried about their favorites.

• Mine dated to the 1964 presidential election, when Barry Goldwater backers came out with "In Your Heart, You Know He's Right." The supporters of President Johnson came back at the archconservative Goldwater: "In Your Guts, You Know He's Nuts."

• David Broder of the Washington Post recalled the gubernatorial race between Democrat Edwin Edwards, later to go to prison, and Republican David Duke, who had past ties to the Ku Klux Klan. Edwards backers used the strip "Vote for the Crook. It's Important."

• George Condon, bureau chief of the Copley Newspapers in Washington, laughed about the case of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Republican of California, running in 1994. "A Congressman You Can Be Proud Of" proclaimed Cunningham's message. He is now in prison for bribery–big time.

• Walter Mears, the former Associated Press political writer, said GOP-er George Romney's backers in New Hampshire in the 1968 presidential primary came out with "Romney: We Must Stop Moral Decay."

"Seemed more like a slogan for dental floss," said Mears.

• Carl Leubsdorf, bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News in Washington, said Richard Nixon's strip in 1968, "Nixon's the One," came back to haunt him when the Watergate scandal erupted. Democrats fingered Nixon with the phrase as a guilty statement after 1972.

• Philadelphia voters were treated to "Rizzo Forever" in South Philly when the tough Italian ex-cop Frank Rizzo was running for re-election as mayor.

• In 1992, supporters of the first President Bush's re-election effort got angry with the press and circulated the following: "Ignore the Media, Vote for Bush."

• And who can forget the hilarious strip in West Virginia when, during the 1980 gubernatorial race, multimillionaire incumbent Democrat Jay Rockefeller was running against Republican former Gov. Arch Moore? With Rockefeller spending money in huge chunks, Republicans marked their cars with "Make Him Spend It All, Arch."

• In 1972, TV anchor Roger Mudd was stunned to hear that two women from Wisconsin were parading around a "Roger Mudd for Vice President" sticker after George McGovern's running mate, Tom Eagleton, dropped out and Democrats had to meet to select a new candidate. Sargent Shriver got the nod, and Roger was off the hook.