If the medium is the message, today that is television. According to Larry Bird, curator of the Smithsonian's political history collection, television is the vehicle of choice for candidates wishing to promote their political views (or simply dish their opponents). Gone are the days of ice cream scoops, song sheets, pocket watches, caps and other novelty campaign items. Even buttons and bumper stickers are becoming difficult to find, he says. At right, a sampling of presidential campaign collectibles from the past.