Friday, January 13, 2012

Stephen Colbert for President, Again

I love recycling an old post, especially one I can replay with few revisions. A lot of funny people have been running for President recently (Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Herman Cain), it's a concept that just doesn't get old.

The traditional path to the presidency is to write a book and then announce you are a candidate on a television chat show. (It used to be fight in a war and then marry a rich woman but John Kerry [and John McCain]* proved that formula doesn't work any longer.) Stephen Colbert has announced he is [thinking about]* running for president (in South Carolina). Stephen (can I call you Stephen?) is not the first comedian to run for president. Some will note that the only way to understand the Bush presidency is to assume it is all just a comedy routine (It's not?). [And the only way to watch the 2012 list of Republican candidates without an overwhelming urge for self-immolation is to believe they are trying to be funny.]*

In 1940, Gracie Allen of the team of Burns and Allen (If you only know George Burns as a solo act you missed the best half of his career.) ran for president on the Surprise Party ticket. She made a whistle-stop tour of all of the hit radio shows of the time.  Her campaign platform included taking pride in the National Debt (It's the largest in the world!) and putting Congress on a commission system, whenever the nation prospers Congress gets ten percent of the take.

Earlier (1928), Will Rogers ran for president against Herbert Hoover (He would have made the Depression fun) as the Anti-Bunk Party ticket. Prohibition was the law of the land them. His campaign promises include, "wine for the rich, beer for the poor and moonshine for the  prohibitionists."
Make every speaker, as soon as he tells all he knows, sit down. That will shorten your speeches so much you will be out of here by lunch every day. ~ Will Rogers after attending the Democratic National Convention
Of course, Pat Paulsen (motto: If elected, I will win.) is the only thing that made the 1968 election (Vietnam War, Richard Nixon, good times!) tolerable. A regular on the irreverent Smothers Brothers television show, he brought the only small sense of reality to an election where Richard Nixon was the peace candidate.

Paulsen on gun control: "Let us not be ledmess by those who would mislead us.  Let no man take away our liberties. Stand up and be counted...Let's preserve our freedom to kill."

Paulsen on poverty: "You can't just give poor people money. The poor people will just go out and buy food and clothes and pay rent and junk like that." [Reminds me of Rick Santorum's view of "bla people."]* 

Paulsen on corruption: "Let's all remember that we have a government 'of the people...for the people...and by the people...' and there are very few people in our government that you can't buy."

Stephen, make us proud.

* Denotes 2012 update.

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