I do happen to believe this is the most imporant election--in my lifetime, at the very least. But I was amused by this article that ran in The New York Times on Sept. 5:
The Most Important Article in Our History
By TOM KUNTZ
If the presidential election were Mae West, her reply to a flatterer calling her the "most important election ever" could easily be: "I bet you say that to all the elections, big boy." Surprise, all you election 2004 superlative-pushers, from Bruce Springsteen to the Christian Coalition: This election is the "most important" in our history - our lifetimes, a generation, whatever - only if you ignore a slew of others.
Here is a sampling of comments stretching back more than a century and a half.
1864 Lincoln vs. McClellan
"We have had many important elections, but never one so important as that now approaching."
Gen. James H. Lane,
The New York Times, March 31
1888 Harrison vs. Cleveland
"The Republic is approaching what is to be one of the most important elections in its history."
New York Times editorial, July 2
1924 Coolidge vs. Davis
"I look upon the coming election as the most important in the history of this country since the Civil War."
The New York Times, July 20
1976 Ford vs. Carter
"I think this election is one of the most vital in the history of America."
debating Jimmy Carter, Oct. 22
1980 Carter vs. Reagan
The International Union of Electronic Workers said it felt it was important to take a stand early because the critical problems the nation faces may make the 1980 election "the most important of this century."
Associated Press, Nov. 2, 1979
1984 Reagan vs. Mondale
"This is the most important election in this nation in 50 years."
Ronald Reagan, Nov. 5
1988 Bush vs. Dukakis
"It may be the most important election of this century."
Senator Robert C. Byrd,
Democrat of West Virginia, Oct. 22
1992 Bush vs. Clinton
"I ask you to join with me for these last three days to reach out and call your friends and family and neighbors to tell them this is the most important election in a generation."
Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, Oct. 30
1996 Clinton vs. Dole
"This is the most critical election in the long history of the American labor movement."
The Washington Post, March 3
"It's the most important election of our lifetime."
Christian Coalition director,
The Tulsa World, April 14
"Talk about a bummer! Can you imagine how the Republicans must feel at this, the beginning of the most important election year in decades? Pass the Prozac, please."
Democratic political analyst;
commentary in The Denver Post, Jan. 31
2000 Bush vs. Gore
"The first national election of the 21st century is the most important election (so far) of the 21st century."
Ebony magazine, November
United States Representative Zach Wamp said last week he believes "2000 historically is the most important national election in my lifetime."
Chattanooga Free Press, Nov. 22
2004 Bush vs. Kerry
"This is the fourth presidential election which Pearl Jam has engaged in as a band, and we feel it's the most important one of our lifetime."
Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam,
"This is the most important election I can remember, at least since 1968."
Al Franken, comedian,
Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 8
"Christian Coalition of America believes this is the most important election in our nation's history."
Press release, Aug. 24
"We share a belief that this is the most important election of our lifetime."
Statement on Bruce Springsteen's
Web site on the Vote for Change tour
"My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime."
Senator John Kerry
Democratic National Convention,
"For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, the election of 2004 is one of the most important, not just in our lives, but in our history."
Vice President Dick Cheney
Republican National Convention
Larry King: "Is this the most important election ever?"
President Bush: "For me it is."
"Larry King Live," Aug. 12