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Rutherford B. Hayes Speaks Out

11.15.2000 | POLITICS

People have been making all this fuss over the Presidential election, as if it was something new. Listen, it's happened before folks, and I know because I was there. Think this is a big deal? I won by one electoral vote, buddy. One. I didn't even win the popular vote and I still wormed my way into the White House. It almost caused another Civil War. It makes Gore and Bush look like a pillow fight. Nixon and Kennedy? A god damn tea party.

I'm sorry if I seem a bit cranky, but no one ever remembers me, even though I was the winner of the most hotly contested Presidential election in American history. That makes a man bitter. That and having a name like Rutherford (thanks Pop--just because you got stuck with a handle like that doesn't mean you have to pass it off on me). And I've had a lot of time to brood on it, since I've been dead for over a century. However, with this whole mess unfolding across the land, I've been thinking about making the talk show circuit. I believe I can offer a lot more insights into this election than Ron Insana or George Stephanopolous. Punks.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Nobody likes a crybaby. I learned that the hard way. How'd you like to get called 'Rutherfraud' for four years? I still say I won fair and square. You wanna bitch about it? Yell at Thomas Jefferson, not me. I didn't make the damn electoral college. That's like complaining about the infield fly rule. But somehow I come out like the sore loser even though I won. So just know that whoever comes out on top is going to need a thick skin to deflect all those stupid names people will come up with. I've heard them all, and I'll tell you what helps you get over it: You're the god damn President, and you could have them all drawn and quartered in the bat of an eye.

Second of all, don't take any shit from Florida. I had trouble with that bunch of swamps and coconut trees back then. We sent down some 'observers' to take care of that. Maybe some ballot boxes go missing. Maybe some ballot sheets are printed in a confusing way. Maybe some thumbs get broken. So what if they sent in two sets of electoral votes? The important thing is we got the job done. I suggest dispatching some vans full of medication and Matlock episodes for the oldsters. Or you could air lift Elian Gonzales into Miami for all those Cuban folks. I could never stand any guff from a state that doesn't even have the decency to be in the Northeast.

And dig this: Don't be afraid to spread some favors around. All those rednecks down south were in a tizzy about me taking the White House. So we just greased a few palms and promised to pull the Federal troops out. Look, if they want to beat their Negroes and screw their cousins, what do I care? In my day, we handed out a few plush appointments, like Chairman of Telegraph Pole Erection, or Governor of the Colorado Territory. There's lotsa cushy jobs out there, and lots of people willing to keep their mouths shut for them.

I could give a rat's ass who comes out on top, since it doesn't affect me in the least (what with me being dead and all). Just don't make this look like a crisis. You don't know the meaning of the word, buddy. We knew how to win elections in my day and we didn't need Tim Russert to tell us how to do it. But in between Mary Matalin and James Carville jerking off on CNN all day, do you think you could find a minute or two to mention my place in history? And remind Ted Koppell that he's got my number.

About the Author
Matthew Callan blogs daily at MSN Sports Filter. He has contributed to the NY Press, NPR, and "Excelsior You Fathead", a biography of Jean Shepherd. His Freezerbox piece "The Lemon Pledge" was given honorable mention in the 2003 edition of "Best American Non-Required Reading," and his fiction has been shortlisted for contests in Zoetrope: All-Story, Bomb magazine, and other publications.
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