Mental Floss

Schlock the Vote: 22 Ridiculous Convention-Themed Items

Matthew J.X. Malady
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This week in Tampa, those attending the 2012 Republican National Convention will exchange far more than plans for adjusting the tax code and adjective-laden riffs relating to the hairstyles of Romney and Ryan. By bringing together an abundance of joyous, carefree, captive audience consumers, political conventions result in a perfect storm scenario for tchotchke peddlers. Everything from weird-looking stuffed animals to giant party-themed belt buckles gets created for these events.

(Also: Partisans apparently love bad wristwatches.)

So here's a look at some of the oddest and most ridiculous convention-related items of the past 50 years. The bulk of these are terrible. But which is the worst of the worst? Let us know in the comments!

1. Jimmy Carter Coloring Book (1976)

This one is just plain bizarre. And I think I may want to own it. As described by a recent seller on eBay: "Coloring book contains somewhat insulting and politically incorrect captions for the caricatures. Coloring book was issued in 1976 for the Democratic Presidential Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City. ...Features great caricatures of Jimmy Carter, Hubert Humphrey, Carl Albert, Lester Maddox, Dick Daley, Frank Church, Tip O’Neill, John Glenn, George Meany, George Wallace, Bella Abzug, Walter Mondale, Teddy Kennedy, Dan Moynihan, George McGovern, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, and more. Not exactly sure if this was pro Carter or not...as it takes a dig at just about everybody!"

Image via eBay

2. Ugly Phone (1996)

3. Republican Delegate Barbies (2000)

4. Tipper Gore Drum (2000)

Image via eBay

5. Terrible Watch Number One (1996)

Image via SwatchAndBeyond.com

6. Dukakis Foam Fingers (1988)

Image via eBay

7. Hideous Cuff Links (1960)

8. Elephant Ashtrays (1972)

9. Beanie Babies (2000)

10. Partisan Mac & Cheese (2004)

11. Terrible Watch Number Two (2000)

Image via eBay

12. Elephant Alligator Thing (1988)

13. Saddest Pennant Ever (1984)

14. Garish Belt Buckle (1992)

15. Miller High Life Convention Survival Kit (1964)

16. Bush/Quayle Baseball Card (1992)

Image via eBay

17. Wizard Hat & Spaghetti T-Shirt (1996)

Image via eBay

18. Computer Terminal Decanter (1984)

19. "Hello Lyndon" 45 rpm Record (1964)

20. Terrible Watch Number Three (1992)

21. Betty Ford Matchbooks (1976)

22. Mitt Romney Finger Puppet (2012)

Image via Etsy

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