George can be one funny guy. He just needs to hold a microphone.
Ergo, the difference between George Bush's grumpy performance in the
first presidential debate when he gripped the podium and glared at
John Kerry and the second where, clutching a microphone, he sometimes
worked the crowd like a standup comic quipping one liners.
Granted, he still managed to slip in one comment on how "hard"
it is to be president. And he stuck to his imaginary guns that he
still would have declared war on Iraq, despite the findings of the
Charles Duelfer report that Saddam didn't produce weapons of mass
destruction after 1991 and that the United Nations' sanctions were
But in the Friday, Oct. 8 debate, George also exhibited his ability
to make people laugh, whether with him or at him, while he defended
his presidential record in Texas-sized proportions.
Methinks he missed his true-life calling.
Born into privilege, George was doomed to Yale and political office
when all the while, gosh darn it, he just wanted to make people laugh.
Too bad his daddy didn't use his influence to pave his way to an internship
with Second City. If so, instead of "Hail to the chief,"
perhaps today we would be saying, "Hail to the comedian."
But help is on the way. The country could give George his pink slip
in the upcoming election so he, like the millions of Americans who
have lost jobs on his watch, can launch a career change.
Just think of the potential. George could portray himself as an inept
U.S. President on Saturday Night Live, make a cameo appearance
as a straw-chewing hayseed on Hee-Haw, or do a WASP impersonation
of God's son.
And he'd get a lot of comical mileage reenacting the time he choked
on a pretzel, tripped and injured his face. He could sport a 10-gallon
hat, spurred boots, a holster with a real cap gun, and ride a mechanical
bull at future Republican national conventions. Best of all, he could
replace the elephant as the party's official mascot. They could call
him the Yuk-up.
Being of Irish ancestry, I realize a sense of humor is a thing of
value even, if not especially, in the worst of times. Many a therapist
acknowledges that humor is a viable coping mechanism in times of great
challenge and stress.
But there is such a thing as inappropriate humor, like when one is
in the middle of debating topics of international and domestic importance
in a presidential debate. Humor also can serve as a tool of distraction
when the integrity or substance of what one has to say is noticeably
Studies have shown that a funny person is often perceived as more
likeable than a serious person. This perception could potentially
sidetrack an otherwise cautious voter from scrutinizing a presidential
candidate's track record, which may not prove as laughable.
Because all of the jokes in the world won't balance the budget, protect
us from terrorists, create good jobs, provide quality health care,
educate our children, improve the environment, or raise the dead from
a preventable war.
Rhiannon Ross lives in Kansas. She can be contacted at Rhiannross@aol.com