Clinton Issues HyperCard Stack

My main hobbyist Mac is a PowerMac G4 MDD running OS9 that I’ve souped up like crazy with maxed out RAM, a couple of SSDs, various PCI cards, silent fans fitted, LEDs, etc. I love it, it’s an absolute beast of a machine and is, in my opinion, the best way to experience OS9. One of the SSDs is absolutely stuffed to the gills with “stuff”, random bits of digital detritus that I’ve collected from magazine cover discs, backups of ancient FTP sites, scouring through the last few surviving HotLine servers, and so on. Tens of thousands of files. Every now and again, I open up Sherlock (Classic Mac OS’s system search tool) and just enter random words to see what matches are found amongst my sea of software. I did just that yesterday evening and managed to find “Clinton_Stack”. I had absolutely no idea what it was so did the only thing I could, which was double-click it to satisfy my curiosity. I’m glad I did, it’s a beaut!

Main screen of the Clinton Stack Hypercard stack for Bill Clinton's Presedential Campaign.

It’s a HyperCard stack made in 1992 and details the policy positions in the Presedential Campaign of a certain Bill Clinton! 😀 It’s really nicely done, too, with a couple of Clinton soundbites that play automatically when the stack opens. Delving into the content, there’s an overview on “The Issues” facing America at the time, and then separate sections for key policy areas such as the economy, health care, the environment, AIDS, defense, and more. These are mostly summaries of Clinton’s and the Democrat’s manifesto but there are a few quotes dotted throughout and also Clinton’s full speech to the Democratic National Convention in July 1992.

Screengrab of a slide on Clinton's National Economic Strategy.

It’s a real neat thing, this. As far as I can tell, it was not produced by the Clinton campaign itself, rather it’s the independent work of enthusiastic supporters. An “about” slide in the stack details that it was made by FOG Software, with scripting by a Michael Agosta and graphics by J.B. Lawton III.

A screengrab of a slide in the stack thjat has production credits.

There was a text file included alongside the stack which gave a little more info:

Date: Sat, 08 Aug 92 06:34:28 EST
From: “Kirke B. Lawton”
Subject: Clinton_Stack.hqx

Clinton Issues Stack (BinHexed Self-Extracting)
This Hypercard Stack (version 2 required, I believe) contains
the text of a number of Bill Clinton’s speeches (including
his Convention acceptance speech) and summaries of his issue
positions.

The stack was produced by my brother (JBLiii@aol.com) and his
friend (UNLV@oal.com) who are Clinton supporters. I claim no
responsibility for the contents of this stack. Nor does the
campaign HQ in Little Rock (not yet anyway).

I think this item has real value as an example of early use of technology in political campaigning. In the current day and age, with political groups spending an absolute fortune on apps, websites, and social media campaigns, maybe this HyperCard stack shows the dawning of a digital future for politics.

I’ve made an emulated version of this in the Internet Archive’s in-browser Macintosh deal, so you can go and check it all out for yourself and look back to a more innocent time in American Presidential history. Please note that to hear the opening couple of soundbites you’ll need to turn sound on in the emulator once it’s booted (click the Apple logo in top-left of the emulated screen, select “control panels”, scroll to “sound” and turn volume up). This is a mildly annoying glitch in the otherwise magical Internet Archive Macintosh tool; it doesn’t affect all items I’ve emulated, but some it does.

Screengrab of emulated Clinton Stack item in Internet Archive.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

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