Re-Elect Bush: Beta Version.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
June 24 2003 2:34 PM

Re-Elect Bush: Beta Version

A sneak preview of the president's 2004 campaign.

Presumably by accident, somebody left a live prototype  of President Bush's 2004 campaign site on the Web for a few hours today. (It's locked up behind a password now, so all links in this item are to snapshots Slate took earlier.) At least Chatterbox thinks it was a live prototype. An editorial by former Justice Department spokesperson Mindy Tucker is headlined, "Placeholder for Mindy's Editorial," with the intriguing subhead, "Mindy's editorial on women." The editorial itself reads like radical feminist poetry:

This is the body this is the body this is the body this is the body this is the body this si th body asdf asdf sdf asdfsadf sadfsdfsdfsadf

Other gems include a hot link, "See more Hispanic photos," underneath the caption to a photograph of Laura Bush reading to Hispanic children. (As her father-in-law would say, "Message: I care.") Similarly, the bio page for Lynne Cheney has a hot link, "The latest Lynne Cheney photos" (don't settle for anything taken last month!). Photos of Lynne's husband, Vice President Dick "Undisclosed Location" Cheney, are apparently harder to come by; all but two of the photographs in the "Dick Cheney Photo Gallery" appear to have been taken at a single Republican National Committee event.

An issue page devoted to the environment is hilariously skimpy, containing only a sentence-long description of Bush's "clear skies" proposal. If you click for more detail on "improved air quality" you get a page that refers to some additional environment policies concerning air quality and some (say, cleanup of industrial sites) that have nothing at all to do with air quality. Whatever.

Let's go shopping! On the "W stuff" freebie page, you can get Bush for President screen savers, desktop backgrounds, and "banners for your Web site," though none of the links is live just now. At the George W. Bush Online Store, though, you may shop to your heart's content right now. Quite a lot of the inventory is logo-wear with a giant W, including baseball caps that bear a strong resemblance to those for sale at trendy W Hotels. (Does the legal counsel at Starwood, W's parent company, know about this?) Or maybe you prefer the Dubya Bib, with a "W '04" logo made to resemble an interstate marker and the inscrutable slogan, "Drive."

And don't miss "Wanted: Political Perspective," an editorial by Matthew Dowd, Bush's pollster at the Republican National Committee. Much of this is an attempt to argue that the economy won't be an issue in 2004:

[In 2002,] folks were concerned and nervous about the economy (they still are), but this concern had not risen to the level of anger, and it is anger that fuels discontent at the ballot box.

Where lies the Anger Threshold? Maybe the Bush '04 Web site can provide a calculator in time for the formal release date.

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.