A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 08, 2010
“To go forward, put it in D; to go backward, put it in R” (D=drive, Democrat; R=reverse, Republican)

“All you ever needed to know about this election, you’ve learned from driving. If you want to go backward, you put it in R. But if you want to go forward, you put it in D,” said Iowan Tom Harkin at the August 2000 Democratic National Convention. Harkin has often used the saying, as have Democrat politicians such as Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The joke is easily explained that “D” means both “drive” and “Democrat,” while “R” means both “reverse” and “Republican.”

Wikipedia: Tom Harkin
Thomas Richard “Tom” Harkin (born November 19, 1939) is the junior United States Senator from Iowa and a member of the Democratic Party. Harkin is currently the most senior junior senator. First elected to the Senate in 1984, Harkin was a candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 1992, and is currently chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

18 August 2000, Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, “Iowans speak at convention; Harkin, Vilsack ctiticize Republicans” by Rod Boshart, pg. 2A, col. 4:
LOS ANGELES—In speeches to the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, Iowa Democrats Tom Harkin and Tom Vilsack said the choice in the November election comes down to whether the White House focuses on people or the powerful for the next four years.

“Just remember one thing,” Harkin said from the Staples Center podium. “All you ever needed to know about this election, you’ve learned from driving. If you want to go backward, you put it in R. But if you want to go forward, you put it in D.”

“Let’s put the country in D—forward with Al Gore and Joe Lieberman.”

18 August 2000, USA Today, “In the delegates’ view, Gore shed stiff image at last” by Laura Parker and Martin Kasindorf, pg. 5A:
Tom Harkin gave a course in political driver’s education. “If you want to go backward, put it in R,” he said. “If you want to go forward, put it in D.”

Google Groups: alt.politics.bush
Newsgroups: alt.politics.usa.republican, alt.politics.bush, talk.politics.misc, alt.fan.rush-limbaugh
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2000 06:44:31 GMT
Local: Fri, Aug 18 2000 1:44 am
Subject: Gore’s Clear, Concise Declarations Of Intent

By Ian Christopher McCaleb and Matt
Vice President Al Gore accepted the Democratic Party’s 2000 presidential nomination Thursday night by avoiding outright attacks against his Republican rival in favor of concise declarations of intent on issues varying from health care to campaign finance reform.
As Ohio delegate Erin Sullivan said as she took a drag from her cigarette, “It’s just like learning to drive. If you want to go forward, you put it in D. If you want to go backward, you put it in R.”

New York (NY) Times
Liberties; Rats In The Barn
Published: November 1, 2000
At long last, the Democratic campaign is tentatively trying to take some credit, with Joe Lieberman warning crowds: ‘’If you want a car to go backward, you put it in ‘R.’ If you want it to go forward, you put it in ‘D.’’’

Google Groups: tx.politics
Newsgroups: tx.politics, dfw.politics, austin.general, houston.general
From: (Name withheld by request)
Date: 12 Jun 2004 01:22:46 -0600
Local: Sat, Jun 12 2004 2:22 am
Subject: Lone Star Loonies: the Texas G.O.P.

“If you want to go backward, put it in R.
If you want to go forward, put it in D.”

State 29
Monday, September 11, 2006
Tom Harkin Recycles
“Tell your friends and your neighbors that all they ever needed to know about this election this November, they learned in driver’s education,” he said. “If you want to go backward, you put it in R. If you want to go forward, you put it in D.”

That joke is so bad, you just know Harkin’s used it before.

In fact, he used it in his speech in 2004 at the Fighting Bob then (PDF).

Lame! Can’t come up with a new joke in two years?

Harkin also used it in 2000 at the Democratic Convention, the 2006 Iowa Democratic Party Convention, and some legislative conference in March 2004. And probably many other times that Google can’t currently find.

Google Groups: Open Debate Political Forum IMHO
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2008 00:43:04 EDT
Local: Fri, Apr 25 2008 11:43 pm
Subject: Republican competence

Politics is like driving. To go backwards, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

New York (NY) Daily News
Final lap: Clinton, Obama near the finish line in Indiana, N.C.
BY Michael Mcauliff
Tuesday, May 6th 2008, 2:27 PM
Hillary Clinton tuned up for her election day in Indianapolis with a stop at the famous speedway.

“We need to get on the track in America and get toward the finish line to change this country,” Clinton said, posing the car of driver Sarah Fisher, who endorsed Clinton. “I’ve said it before, I think there’s a good driving analogy. If you want to go forward, you put it in D. If you want to go backward, you put it in R.”

Google Groups: Pastoral Issues of Interest
From: “Rick Mitchell”
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 21:30:26 -0700
Local: Tues, Sep 9 2008 11:30 pm
Subject: Fw: Sarah Palin Republican VicePresident Candidate AlaskaNative Tribal Issues

“Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.” (TrueBlue Majority quotation)

Daily Kos
“To go forward, put it in D”—who wrote that line?
by TrueBlueMajority
Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 07:54:50 PM PDT
Actually, I don’t know.  Do you?

Every now and then someone asks me who wrote my sig line, and I actually don’t know, so I decided to write out the long version of the answer, and when people ask in the future I can just post a link to this.

TrueBlueMajority’s diary :: ::
This is my sig line:
Politics is like driving.  To go backward, put it in R.  To go forward, put it in D.
When I first found the “put it in D” quote, Tom Harkin had said it at his Iowa Steak Fry.  Apparently Harkin says it all the time.

But as I searched around to see if Harkin was the author, I saw that lots of other people have said it also.  It’s apparently an old Democratic chestnut that is invariably quoted at Jefferson-Jackson dinners and gatherings of state delegates and caucus organizing meetings and wherever old school Dem politicians congregate.

Hillary Clinton likes to say it.

John Lewis has said it.

Joe Lieberman quoted it in a book he wrote about the 2000 election (I won’t link to him!).

You can get a bumper sticker with it.

And no one ever gives anyone credit for the line.

When I first picked this sig back in 2004, the oldest references attributed it to Harry Truman, although in a long time of looking tonight I have not found a single Truman reference anywhere!

New York (NY) Times
Senate Debate Looms on Tax Cuts for Rich
Published: August 4, 2010
Mr. Obama told the labor leaders they must remind their members, “this election is a choice,” between “these folks who drove America’s economy into a ditch” and the Democrats who for 20 months have “been shoving that car out of the ditch inch by inch” as Republicans stood by.

“And now we’ve finally got that car up on the blacktop there, about to drive, and they say they want the keys back. Well, you can’t have the keys because you don’t know how to drive,” Mr. Obama said, to laughter.

He added, “Somebody pointed out to me that when you’re in a car and you want to go forward, you put it in ‘D.’ You want to go back in the ditch? You put it on ‘R.’ ”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military/ Religion • (1) Comments • Sunday, August 08, 2010 • Permalink

Comparing politics in a car is such a bad way to put it. I think they are the same in a way that a car can’t run if there is no driver. A government can’t function if there is no leader. Simple right? But I think car tires best describes the politics. There are many ups and downs that you will encounter.

Posted by Car Tires  on  05/02  at  04:20 AM

Seems appropriated to be parred with the concept of driving, because aspiring to better the political system is so much easier if only it were like driving.california online adult drivers ed

Posted by drivers ed  on  07/20  at  11:09 AM

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