Weekend open thread: Retro edition

Newt Gingrich’s surprise trip back to political relevance got me thinking about other old-fashioned (or vintage, if you prefer a more positive spin) American topics.

As a guest on Jay Leno’s show this week, Ron Paul gave an unusual answer to a standard question: Who’s your favorite president? Paul cited Grover Cleveland, which surely wasn’t what most viewers expected to hear. But the libertarian Republican has expressed his admiration for the 22nd and 24th president before:

“I like Grover Cleveland…. He endorsed the foreign policy of nonintervention; he was a gold-standard person. He loved the veto….

Cleveland was the only Democratic president to serve between 1869 and 1913, a period when Republicans dominated the Congress. He vetoed more bills than any other president except for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Love him or hate him, Ron Paul does think for himself. During Thursday night’s debate in Sioux City, Paul refused to name a favorite current Supreme Court justice. All of the other candidates named one of the usual suspects.

Christmas and Chanukah are almost here, and the holiday season is a popular time to revive traditions. Giving friends and family home-made food is one custom that never goes out of style. It’s also a good gift for people who don’t need or want more “stuff.” If you have any favorite holiday recipes, share them in this thread.

Speaking of the Christmas season, I learned recently that contrary to what you may have heard, advertisements for Coca-Cola did not invent the modern image of Santa Claus.

Santa hasn’t changed much in pop culture through the decades, but check out these vintage weight gain ads (courtesy of the Retronaut blog). These quotes are genuine:

“Men wouldn’t look at me when I was skinny, but…Since I gained 10 pounds this new, easy way, I have all the dates I want.”

“No sex appeal to that beanpole. Let’s vamoose.”

“If you want to be popular, you can’t afford to be SKINNY!”

“Amazing scientific plan adds new attractive pounds and inches”

The more things change, the more they remain the same: advertisers will never stop trying to hook women on making their bodies more attractive to men (as opposed to healthier).

Here’s another funny bit of retro marketing: vintage wallet inserts (courtesy of the Cheeze Blog). I especially loved the “approved” identification card, which suggests that you fill out not only your name and address, but also sex, age, weight, hair and eye color, blood type, employer, and Social Security number. I guess identity theft wasn’t a big problem back in the day.

This is an open thread. All topics welcome.

UPDATE: Vaclav Havel died Sunday. It’s hard to overstate the influence of Czechoslovakia’s leading dissident and first president of the post-Communist period. I’m rereading excerpts from his classic dissident essay, “The Power of the Powerless.”

SECOND UPDATE: Breaking news from Science Digest magazine in April 1958: Girls Could Help Fill Science Need.

In the hue and cry for more scientists America should look to its gifted girl students, a Michigan State University researcher has indicated.

Girls have shown the same ability as boys to do high-level work of a scientific nature, according to Dr. Elizabeth Monroe Drews, who made a four-year study of gifted adolescents in Lansing. Mich. […]

In the pre-Sputnik-era tests, three-fourths of the gifted boys said they planned careers as scientists or engineers. All indicated they planned to graduate from college and two-thirds of them expected to do graduate work.

With the girls it was a different story, Dr. Drews commented. Although the gifted girls averaged about four years ahead of their class and could match the gifted boys in scientific ability, the gifted girls chose occupations which were only only those of the average girl.

“Often, girls do not take the courses to prepare them for scientific careers and there seems to be very little encouragement in our society for them to go on to work in that area,” the MSU researcher remarked.

  • .

  • Iowa Caucuses

    I am a newbee to the blogosphere, but I want to say I have been very impressed with the depth of knowledge exhibited by some bh posters in terms of insight into the various   political races in IA…i.e. who is running for what, how the district leans, how do the new and old boundary lines compare, who won what when.  All very interesting and I have learned a lot. Great stuff. Happy Holidays !

    But I also want to toot my own horn a bit – earlier I opined as to how Ron Paul, as the best organized candidate with the most passionate supporters in IA, could be a surprise winner on Jan 3, and if so, it would be the death knell for the Iowa caucuses as we know them.

    As I made the rounds of talking heads Thursday and Friday on MSNBC, Fox and CNN….that was a frequent topic of conversation – pundits predicting a big upside for RP and a huge downside for the future of the caucuses.  As one put it – people have been trying to stick a fork in iowa for a long time. A Paul win would do it.

    I personally admire Ron Paul for his consistency.  He would make a great President…in 1850….(a line stolen from somewhere…can’t remember where to give proper credit)

    • he kept his IA organization

      and updated along the lines of Obama ’08.

      If he repeats this hat trick, I see no reason why the Iowa Caucus should die. It’s the opposite. If you want to argue that organization is king, as Obama did in ’08 and IA defenders do frequently, then a Paul win supports the caucus process. It is a Gingrich or Romney win that undercuts the basic premise for “why Iowa?” Do you a prefer a win by a candidate who ignored the state? Or perhaps a nice socon to present to America? Minister-in-chief?

      I think it will be clear and self-evident that a Paul win was fueled by crossover support from independents and Democrats. In a sense, it makes it somewhat meaningless because most of the Dem support will flip back to Obama unless Paul runs a hell of a race as nominee.

      First-in-nation is threatened, regardless. Note FL and NV, long before Paul surged to a very close second in polling.

      • IMHO

        Media perception is reality. More so in Iowa than nationally, the GOP has been hijacked by the tin foilers, and they nominate people who have no chance of winning the nomination nor the general….i.e. President Huckabee.

        Romney played here big time in the last go-round and had nothing to show for it.  McCain didn’t play, and won the nomination.  Now comes 2011, and Romney, who I believe will be the eventual nominee, passes us by until the very end.

        Paul finished second in the straw poll through his organizational efforts, but couldn’t buy his way on to a morning show the day after. If Paul wins, the story will be “Iowa GOP picks a whack job and now is clearly outside the mainstream.”  Another angle will be “The GOP is so dissatisfied with their candidates that they threw up their hands and picked Ron Paul !!!”

        Yes, a Paul victory will validate the theory that whoever is the best organized wins Iowa, but my point is so what?  Paul will not win the nomination and once again Iowa GOP has picked a non-starter. Your point about crossovers is well taken, but if Im a Demo or indy seeking to cause mischief, I would be voting early and often for Newt !

        Yes, on the Demo side, we chose Obama and he went on to win, but he was a legit candidate at the time. Ron Paul has no shot.

        Iowa went thru a lot of contortions again this time round to keep out first in the nation status, but I think this is the last time that will fly. When the last two GOP nominees were able to skip or minimize Iowa and be successful, common sense says there will be changes. Maybe it is time we try something else.  

        • "contortions"

          were independent of Paul’s potential success.

          More so in Iowa than nationally, the GOP has been hijacked by the tin foilers, and they nominate people who have no chance of winning the nomination nor the general….i.e. President Huckabee.

          Remember Pat Robertson? He won in Hawaii before coming in second to Dole in Iowa. Pat Buchanan won in LA before coming in second in IA. In other words, Iowa has lost its first slot before, and socon influence has been strong in the past.

          Honestly, if Iowa loses its position permanently on the Republican side, I’d blame the IA-GOP and that straw poll shakedown. If RP, Romney and Gingrich go on to battle it out, what is the problem with that? “Picking a winner” is a false metric — the process is supposed to winnow the field. Buh-bye Bachmann, Santorum, Perry. Actually, the caucus will have served to boot the “true” conservatives, while denying King and BVP kingmaker status. Perhaps something is working, LOL.

          In short, if there are big changes in 2016, I see it as something that was in the cards, regardless, and not due to the specific outcome of this contest. Of course, we don’t know the results yet. If it’s Paul, Perry and Bachmann, in that order, start worrying about immediate impact.  

          • imho

            A lot of people like to get historical when arguing the caucuses, but I don’t think anything past the last cycle or two is relevant.  The landscape is so dramatically different now in terms of media, campaign strategy, etc.

            I completely agree that the IA GOP will be to blame in the demise of the caucuses….the straw poll is part of it…the rest is ceding the party to the nut jobs. I’ve been around long enough to remember reasonable people like Bob Ray, Mary Louise Smith and their ilk holding sway. Wha happened?  

            The end of the caucuses will be like an airplane crash.  Usually they aren’t caused by one big thing, but rather the culmination of a number of different things occuring over a certain period of time and finally reaching critical mass.  

    • what I will be interested in

      is whether the students show up this go-round for Paul.

      I have met many students-for-Paul, but not all are the “rabid” types you see online, far from it.

      BTW, one reason the pundits are pumping up the “death knell for Iowa” theme is to pump up Romney, and frankly, themselves.

      • January 3

        isn’t a great time for student turnout.  

        • agree

          This will be very interesting. If they come out in force like ’08, a “youth” narrative favoring Ron Paul is an interesting twist for Obama, Dems and the nation as a whole.

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