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The Permanent Bumper Sticker

Post by Michael Allen on Jan. 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
January 11, 2010 8:33 am

Journalists coined the term “Permanent Campaign” during the Clinton Presidency, when it became obvious that the Comeback Kid was more interested in running for office than he was in governing the United States of America. Focus groups, talking points, teleprompters, polling before each and every policy move, and beginning the next election cycle the day after the last election all became hallmarks of “The Permanent Campaign.”  That campaign continues to this day.

A minor but fascinating component of this phenomenon is the Permanent Bumper Sticker. The first time I noticed it was after the 2000 election, when many of the Gore/Lieberman folks left their stickers on for four years. Why? Another Democrat near-miss in 2004 prolonged the silliness. How many “Kerry/Edwards” stickers did you see on I-5 from 2004-2008? A few folks still have them on their cars! Do any of them really wish Kerry and Edwards had been elected and had run again in 2008 instead of Barack Obama?


It could very well be that in red states like Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, etc., folks keep Bush/Cheney and McCain/Palin bumper stickers on their pickup trucks; I don’t know. My world is Puget Sound, and I sure didn’t see too many GOP stickers here during the 2000-2008 elections, much less after.

Right after Obama announced in 2007, the smiley-globe “Obama” bumper stickers appeared everywhere. Since he won, I figured most of his bumper stickers would come off, but no, they remain ubiquitous. Here on Puget Sound, some folks need to commune on their commutes. I wish I had a nickel for every green Suburu Outback with an Obama smiley-globe.

This is a true story: A friend of mine has a neighbor who had an Obama bumper sticker on his Outback  for nearly two years. This guy put it on for the Iowa caucuses and wore it until last month when he bought a new Prius. So, yesterday morning my friend left his house and saw the neighbor driving away in his new car. This guy had pasted on a brand new Obama bumper sticker!  

He must keep spare Obama bumper stickers in a desk drawer?…  You can’t make up stuff like this.

Next column: Why haven’t the Permanent ‘No Iraq War’ Signs been replaced with those reading ‘No Afghani War’?

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