SNL on the Candidates

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 9 2011 9:34 AM

SNL on the Candidates

Saturday Night Live sketches about the presidential candidates played an outsized role in defining them in 2000 and 2008 -- not so much in 2004. The first sketch of the 2012 presidential cycle didn't really capture the feeling of this election at all, which probably just indicates that real humans aren't paying attention to it. The election, in one form of popular opinion, is between a bunch of outsized personalities led by Donald Trump.


The actual event that happened last week is dealt with in an afterthought by Shepard Smith (Bill Hader). "The debate included Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and I'm going to stop right now before I fall asleep!" The candidates who are already running (or exploring) and polling, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, are totally undefined -- Romney is a plastic emotional wreck, and Gingrich doesn't actually want to do anything. Missed opportunities! Gingrich circa 2011 is a loquacious slogan machine who quotes philosophers and historians to make his points (largely Camus and Orwell). Santorum always seems five or six seconds away from flying off the handle. Gary Johnson is -- come on, he's Gary Johnson! Is the argument against making fun of him or Cain that they're just to easy to parody?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.