Saturday, October 6, 2012

Save Big Bird!

I have been an observer of politics as far back as I can recall. I typically avoid the theater that is disguised as debate, as I can think of but one sentence of substance in all that have taken place since Carter was President (that would be Ross Perot in 92, asking his distinguised opponents how they would pay for their proposals). This week was no exception. Since neither candidate will state what they truly would like to accomplish as President, for fear of becoming the subject of a distorted ad, we are stuck with the frenzy of the chattering classes, who are seeking the next sigh, glance at a watch or a rolling of eyes.

I have always preferred the injection of humor into our otherwise staid, dishonest discourse. But, it's not a fair fight: to counteract Jon Stewart, who can the Republicans offer? One can always make fun of Louie Gohmert or Michele Bachmann (simply Google either name and the word "quotes"; you'll unearth some astounding intuitive leaps). There was also the great one-liner from Senator Jon Kyl, who, after offering up a whopper about some topic, on the following day mentioned that his comment was "not intended to be a factual statement." One of my favorites from Mr. Stewart this year was his characterization of how long it takes a candidate to do a 180 degree turn from a previously stated position. He called that a Romney, which is, in real time, about 3 or 4 hours. His description of the Moochocracy was another hoot.

When I saw the clip of Mr. Romney stating he would sack Big Bird, I thought he was auditioning for the Mark Twain prize that celebrates American humor. This man, who publicly stated that he likes firing people, finally identified one. I will guess that the humor may have been unintentional, since the discussion was about deficit reduction. This year, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting received government funding of $445 million, which amounts to 1/100th of 1 percent of the federal budget. Meanwhile, estimates of federal subsidies to big oil companies are around $4 billion. Yes, the consonants on the dollar amounts are correct.

It makes me long for the days of Dick Tuck. Mr. Tuck was a staffer in the office of Helen Gahagan Douglas (yes, the dreaded Pink Lady) in 1950. He later engaged in a series of pranks targeting Richard Nixon. The most famous allegedly occurred in 1968, when Mr. Tuck hired a very pregnant woman to walk around a Nixon rally, holding a sign with the campaign's slogan: "Nixon's the One". Surely, someone can trot out Oscar the Grouch or Cookie Monster or even the noted Big Bird to hound Romney rallies. Now, that would be funny.