Abraham Lincoln's lively and refined sense of humor
was perhaps his greatest, mostly forgotten, quality.
Accounts of his speeches, both words and audience
reaction, are filled with humor and, as it may be
rightly called, the art of ridicule as a campaign
tool. Here's a Lincoln story told by a man who was
While "riding the circuit", acting as prosecutor,
judge and defense lawyer in the rural courts of
frontier Illinois, Lincoln, upon returning to the
hotel which housed he and his colleagues, whom he
found crowding the fireplace, was greeted with:
"Cold as hell out there tonight Lincoln" to which
Lincoln was said to have replied, "Yes...tis...and just
like hell, I see all the lawyers are nearest
the fire." hahahahaha...Maybe even the first lawyer
Lincoln was certainly an anomaly among politicians for
nearly the first 200 years of American history. So far
as I know Jefferson, Washington and the Founding
fathers were no barrel of monkeys, though the
Grandfather of Our Country, Ben Franklin was quite the wit.
Of course during Lincoln's time, and thereafter,
humor and political satire played a great role in
American politics. Artemus Ward, Lincoln's favorite
writer, and frequent critic, inspired the likes of
Twain and Bierce and generations of humorous political
writers. But humor was more or less remained off the table for serious politicians.
To this day, from cartoonists to broadcasters,
political satirists have never lost their appeal or
Likewise, an equally serious and earnest politician,
Winston Churchill, was known widely for his wit and
frequently eased the deadly dark days of war with
"comedy relief ". "If Hitler invaded hell I would
make at least a favorable reference to the devil in
the House of Commons." Hahahahaha;...Hitler and the
devil in one sentence!, in the middle of a war!, and
got a million laughs!...a comedic genius indeed.
Truly funny people, like Lincoln and Churchill (Tom Lehrer,
Robin Williams, Will Rogers etc.) are highly intelligent, nimble-minded people possessed of great powers of observation, deft language with striking charm and personality. And they can really think and speak on their feet.
As the television age developed so did the "stand-up"
in some of politicians emerge. While Nixon displayed a tight humorless nervous demeanor JFK was funny intelligent and charming.
And more-so grew the plethora of entertainment comedy emanating from and around them. Particularly TV shows like the Smothers Brothers with Pat Paulsen, the KopyKats and such.
Since Nixon, each President has spawned a veritable
cult of humor and comedians, a pop-culture sideshow of
the modern-day political circus.
From Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr. and certainly Clinton,
America got a million laughs, and entertainment
careers were made. And they were all smart and classy
enough to laugh at themselves (painfully at times I'm
sure) along with everyone else.
Clinton's wisecrack, when he said "I didn't inhale",
was probably the single most successful political
ridicule/joke ever used. America howled. In a single
stroke he totally disarmed his accusers
and made the "pot charge" a laughable gambit
Which brings me of course to the present
Infestation of the White House. Junior Bush has no sense of
humor at all. None. Nadda. I doubt he's ever said or thought
a single original funny thing in his whole life.
Neither do his speech-writers or any of his intimate
circle, (which may explain why there's not a single
statesman among them either). For that matter there's
not one funny charming guy (or beautiful smile) in the whole incestuous White House/GOP clan.
Cheney, Rice, and the plethora of his resigned
disgraced gang of thugs haven't one grain of a sense
of humor between the whole mob of them.
Oh they're ridiculous to be sure; ridiculously stupid,
ridiculous bare-faced liars, ridiculous hypocrites,
ridiculously delusional...but its just not funny.
America hasn't had a good belly-laugh in seven years.
The Bush-related entertainers are all a flop too. There's just nothing funny about anything Bush and his crime family
do or say. Nothing to laugh about here. No stumbling
down stairs, or "I'm not a crook", "read my lips"
quotes...or Monica jokes. The annual Presidential roast
has been utterly painful the last few years.
The likes of Imus, Limbaugh and the GOP pundits of course claim to be comedians.... They are always "joking" when they are caught making really outrageous evil racist bigoted sexist statements about people.
In fact when guys like Michael Moore and Al Franken,
heretofore comedians, told the serious truth about
Bush, most people thought they were joking and the
videos of Bush himself were Hollywood trickery. It was
all true. It was ironic to be sure. But it just wasn't
The funniest thing Bush ever says, is to repeatedly
mispronounce the word "nucular", when discussing
doomsday weapons that could destroy all mankind and
the planet. Its really funny, especially when the
other nuclear leaders who speak Russian, Chinese
French etc. all pronounce the word "nuclear"
correctly. But somehow, maybe because Bush himself
isn't "in on the joke" I just can't laugh when I hear
it. A cold shudder goes through me instead.
In my opinion, the total absence of humor indicates
the presence of total stupidity and lack of personality?
And America in 2007 is what you get for having a really really stupid guy
So if I were asked my advice by the present crop of
2008 candidates, (and I'm not being asked mind you),
Consider each question and moment as an
opportunity to make everyone laugh and they'll be
relaxed and on your side. People love to laugh and if
you laugh at your opponent, and yourself, the people
laugh with you....and you win.
And likewise I would advise the voter. Vote for the funniest guy. He's brighter, more observant, compassionate, capable and charming than the others.....and you win