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Robert "Bobdole" Dole (born July 22, 1923) was a U.S. Senator from the state of Archer-Daniels-Midland, and the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Vice President in 1976, which by 1996 got him promoted to be the unsuccessful candidate for President.
Bobdole is known for the increasing trend in the Republican Party to espouse weak versions of their opponents' proposals and try to skate to November without staking a position on anything ("because it is going to be a very good year for us"), like a boxer who spends fifteen rounds clutching his opponent and hopes to win the match on judging.
He is also known for referring to himself in the third person, here taking after either Julius Caesar or William Shatner. After retiring from Congress, he became the signature spokesman for Viagra, turning the chronic accusation of being "wooden" into something more than a complaint about his speaking style.
Bobdole was born in Russell, Kansas, the son of a creamery owner. Wikipedia tells us that a customer of the elder Dole was the father of future Senator Arlen Specter, but doesn't tell us whether this is how Bobdole learned how to sit on the political fence and pursue permanent tenure over results. It is likely that Bobdole's school crossing guard was the grandmother of Hillary Clinton.
In 1942, Bobdole joined the U.S. Army to fight in World War II. In combat concerning Bologna, Bobdole was hit by German machine-gun fire and recovered in a hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan now named after him and two other patients who became U.S. Senators after receiving experimental antibiotics.
In 1962, Bobdole was elected to the House of Representatives from Kansas's 1st District, a district that politicians would refer to as the "Big First" and Bobdole would refer to as "Bobdole's District." In 1968, he was elected to the Senate and stayed there nearly forever.
In 1976, Bobdole was selected as the running mate of Gerald Ford. Republicans nationwide wore pert "Ford/Dole" lapel pins, but fatefully, Ford himself kept wearing the one that read, "Whip Inflation Now (WIN)!" Bobdole made a more serious bid for the Presidency in 1988, competing against George H.W. Bush. A remark in New Hampshire that Bush should "quit lying about my record" began the buzz about Bobdole's "mean streak" toward everyone but Democrats. After all, Bobdole insisted that Bobdole didn't straddle-the-fence on taxes. Those God-damned waitresses deserve to have Social Security withheld from the tip jar, bitches. Bobdole was endorsed by Republican Party giant Strom Thurmond but served as his own campaign manager until Bush had things locked up.
Bobdole declined to run again in 1992, seeing as Bush was trying to get re-elected, but when that didn't happen, it was once again "Bobdole's turn" in 1996, this time seeking to deny a second term to Bill Clinton. Clinton portrayed Bobdole as a puppet of Newt Gingrich, although Gingrich had called Bobdole "the tax collector of the welfare state." The Democrats claimed that Bobdole wanted to take people's benefits away and that tax cuts would wreck the budget, and it worked like a charm, as it has ever since.
Worse, Bobdole resigned his Senate seat to show he was serious about winning the Presidency. This is what pundits call "doubling down" and Republicans call "winning with gimmicks." It didn't work, and as Monica Lewinsky would assert, the rest is history, but not really sex.
The thing about resigning from your office to pursue higher office is that, when the pursuit fails, you have no office at all. Gainful employment now depended on the universal observation that to ridicule Bobdole conferred instant success, and Bobdole himself jumped on this bandwagon and ridiculed Bobdole for profit, most famously promoting Viagra. Dunkin' Donuts and Pepsi Cola also built advertising campaigns around the spectacle of a former Presidential candidate being reduced to a pitch-man. Eventually, however, the refrain of, "Who's that???" overtook even these activities.
In 2001, Bobdole was treated for a heart condition by a surgeon who remarked that Bobdole retained his signature sense of humor throughout the surgery, calling the surgeon as a "stinking son-of-a-bitch" less than half a dozen times.
Bobdole serves on the advisory committee of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. That is primarily because there is no such thing as the Victims of Bobdole's Legislation Foundation.
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