Join us in looking back at the trends, names, faces, places and unhinged absurdity that made our Defamer Decides 2008 coverage an unparalleled historical record of American presidential politics at its finest.
· The Man, The Myth: We first introduced Barack Obama to Defamer readers way back on June 1, 2006, when the Senator was reported to have ordered leg of toddler with a fetal-marrow salad while lunching at CAA. Were we ever glad to hear it wasn't Obama, but just a look-alike CAA agent snickering between chews about the audacity of hope. Sorry, Mr. President-elect!
· A View to a Kill: While Obama and Hillary Clinton battled for Democratic delegates, another, bloodier fight took shape at ABC: Elisabeth Hasselbeck upgraded her contrarian sass as a full-blown GOP mouthpiece, fluffing Cindy McCain at Michelle Obama's expense and exploding one co-host's head after another with John McCain superlatives until Joy Behar brought in the bomb squad. If only the debates traded just a little of their sexual tension for a fraction of The View's energy, drama and mutual loathing.
· Sarah Palin Superstar: Tina Fey comparisons flooded the Web about five seconds after Sarah Palin's selection as the Republican vice-presidential candidate. Then they flooded TV; even Brooke Hogan and Russell Brand couldn't flee the tide. Yet despite her talent in the swimsuit and flute portions of the election, Palin faded into the Alaskan dusk following her loss faster than lusty Margaret Cho could rush-order a copy of Nailin' Palin.
· The Letterman Factor: For all the purported impact Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had on the electorate in 2008, neither man wielded the radioactive fury of a David Letterman scorned. On Sept. 24, after a regretful McCain canceled his guest appearance en route to Washington (where he would stay to "fix the economy"), Letterman piped in video of the candidate in a neighboring studio, preparing for a sitdown with Katie Couric. The ensuing bloodbath underscored the McCain campaign's devastating tone-deafness to pop culture — a terminal illness, it turned out, by the time McCain was finally euthanized on Saturday Night Live.
· America Crossed the Aisle: Sort of. Republican Dennis Hopper eloquently came around for Obama, while Jackie Mason encouraged Florida's elderly Jewish population to make up their own minds lest Sarah Silverman brainwash them. And the Bipartisan Youth Choir of Atlanta reminded voters in the catchiest, most epic manner possible that they could indeed pull their levers any which way they pleased:
· New Day, New Hangover: Obama delivered his victory address in front of tens of thousands at Chicago's Grant Park. (Among them: Oprah Winfrey and her snot-absorbent oratory-crutch.) Meanwhile, Hasselbeck waited until the next day to give her own concession speech, which was too little too late for those American minds already blown by CNN's election-night hologram adventure. Congratulations to Obama and the American political system as a whole — with an Emanuel in the White House at last, we can finally embark on the long, slow, and ultimately healing recovery we need. Jan. 20, 2009, can't come soon enough.