Video: Grown-up geography bee

By on 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann'
updated 1/22/2004 3:25:09 PM ET 2004-01-22T20:25:09

Howard Dean is learning that if the Internet loves anything more than renegade presidential candidates, it loves homemade satirical music videos. Governor Dean had several remixes of his geography recital speech hit the web and radio stations around the country. 

His bid to rally his staff Monday night in Iowa turns out to have had much longer legs than he could have imagined, or at least hoped.  It seems to be moving him from political admiration to mainstream societal running gag -- the last thing you want if you are running for president.  At this rate, he‘s about to achieve the level of Internet infamy achieved previously only by Paris Hilton and the “Star Wars Kid.” 

Besides the satirical songs, the “New York Post” consulted psychiatrists today to explain the Dean event.  One of them suggested it may have been a sign he misses his wife.  It continued to be meat for the humorists, Jay Leno, last night, depicting the apocryphal arrival, in New Hampshire, of Dr. Dean ala Dr. Hannibal Lector.

And while the governor himself today tried to have fun with it and one point spoke slowly and softly, one of his rivals for the democratic nomination, in essence, mocked him.  Last Wednesday, on the “Today” show, Wesley Clark started rattling off states as well: “We‘re prepared to go nationwide.  We‘ve got strong organizations, lots of support in South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arizona, New Mexico, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin.”

It‘s not just Democrats looking like runners up in a grown-up geography bee. In what was either an extraordinary coincidence of timing, or the a sly swipe at the Dean verbal tour across America, the Republican party is getting in on the action, too.  In last night‘s State of the Union, the president rattled off a list of 17 countries who are part of the coalition in Iraq.  It was a list so long that Republicans actually missed the applause cue and clapped about two countries too soon. 

Suddenly it‘s “Jeopardy,” your contestants are Howard, Wesley, and George.  And, your category:  States and nations for 1,000, Alex. 

When something a presidential candidate says gets turned into mocking music videos on radio morning shows,  when it seems to have supplanted the motivations of Michael Jackson as the hot topic for all the armchair shrinks of the country, when it gets satirized by one of the other candidates-- that is a cultural phenomenon. 

This was the 5th story on Wednesday's 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann.' 'Countdown' airs weeknights, 8 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

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