Humor on the campaign trail

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It’s going to be a long 10 months until that official Tuesday after the first Monday in November that is known as Election Day. Biblical endurance will be needed. Also a little, maybe a lot, of humor will help along the way. Here is my attempt at a little humor as it pertains to this season.

The blonde Fox News (is there any other kind?) anchor teases us with this: “The campaign trail is getting very contentious, even angry. Former Speaker Gingrich goes after the frontrunner. Hear the sharp exchange after the break.”

Okay, I will wait. The Speaker could even pull out the old “Your mother wears combat boots.” That would be quite a sharp exchange, wouldn’t you think?

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After hearing how Jos. A. Bank is offering 14 suits and three shirts, two silk ties and an alligator belt free with the purchase of a pair of socks, the report comes on. It seems that an angry Speaker Gingrich has demanded that Mitt Romney quit spouting that “pious baloney.” “Pious baloney?” That’s contentious? Woo, we’re really getting mean spirited on the campaign trail.

I’d like to make a suggestion to any candidate who really feels the need to get in authentic, attack mode. Take the time to review a scene or two from an old western like Alan Ladd’s classic, Shane. Let me say that if you remember the name or actor Alan Ladd or that movie, you are an old-timer like me.

In the last part of the movie, there is the great scene where Alan Ladd sort of debates Jack Palance, one of the great bad guys of all time. It’s not really a debate, but Shane, played by Ladd, looks Palance in the eye and really says something worthy of being called “contentious.”

He says, “So you’re Jack Wilson. I’ve heard of you.”

Wilson replies, “What have you heard, Shane?”

“I’ve heard that you’re a lowdown, Yankee liar.”

Now that’s a sharp exchange! If candidates want to create separation in this campaign, why don’t they talk like that?

There is another thing that causes me to laugh when I hear or read about politicians and their campaign speeches. It involves a piece of machinery (not a teleprompter) and I am going to suggest that this machine is the most useless machine ever invented.

It’s called the Truth-o-Meter. Another version of this machine is The Fact Checker. Most national news organizations have some sort of faux machine that they use to check the veracity or truth of what a candidate running for office might say. Don’t waste my time. I come from the old school. If the politician’s mouth is moving, he or she is lying.

It is funny, though, to think that these important organizations think we are so stupid as to need a “liar, liar, pants on fire” wake-up call.

I also find that the candidates’ wardrobes are interesting. For a little bit, now, the denim industry has enjoyed popularity on the campaign trail. Many years ago all candidates wore ties and stiff shirts and coats no matter what kind of weather. Nowadays, though, it seems that all of them, except Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann, don’t mind being seen in a pair of denim jeans.

What’s funny about that? It just seems that some of them are not used to wearing them and they look a little strange in them. Mitt Romney and blue jeans just don’t seem to go together. I can’t remember if I have seen the President in blue jeans, but, when the general campaign arrives, I wouldn’t be surprised to see who can out-blue-jean and flannel-shirt the other.

Rick Santorum would not normally be seen as a trend setter, but he seems to have brought the sweater vest into a new kind of popularity. I’ve always like sweater vests, but this past Sunday, as I wore one,  a member came up and said, “Santorum, hey?”

A presidential campaign has got to be the most grinding and exhausting run of all. Microphones are always trying to catch every little mistake. It doesn’t matter if a candidate speaks a volume of words about the important issues facing the country. That’s not what we are looking for; at least that’s not what we get from the media that follows. After all, Mitt Romney just loves “firing people.”

Speaking of the GOP campaign, it’s given lots of fodder to the late-night comedians. I’m sure they will include President Obama after an opponent has been chosen, but for now, he’s catching a break. I think his opponent will be Romney and get ready for the “stiff persona” jokes. They’ve already started. Here are two.

From Conan O’Brien: “According to a poll, over 50 percent believe that Mitt Romney won this week’s presidential debate. Romney credits his win to his grasp of the issues and to the good people at Mattel, who built him.”

And from Jimmy Fallon: “Apparently Mitt Romney is planning to build a huge addition to his beach house in California. Here’s the cool part: they’re going to use the same wood they did to build Mitt Romney.”

Well, strap on your seat belts, folks, the good part is just about to begin.