Wednesday, May 21, 2008

John McCain is Funny

McCain killed on "SNL" again, in addition to yet another solid guest spot on "The Daily Show" a couple weeks back (his 13th, right?). I'm sure he did it mostly to keep battling back the "old age" strike against him, which seems more and more like the one that'll sink him (though how much sharper than Reagan does he look? And more importantly, how much sharper than Bush?). But his successful performance reinforced one of the reasons I've remained so staunchly in support of McCain the last six months - he's funny.

I know that it's silly to feel that the ability to keep things light from time to time makes me want to vote for someone, but it really does. I liked Huckabee out of the gate because of it, and remain fond of him now despite deciding he wasn't the guy I wanted to be the man on the button. Here's why:

Remember when Al Franken started running for the Senate (hint: you don't) - the major questions he got asked, gets asked, is "why should a comedian be Senator?" And isn't that the question you'd ask?

The stump answer he gave was a good one: a comedian looks for hypocrisies and ridicules them, a politician looks for hypocrisies and ferrets them out. They require a similar mindset. He's not wrong, though I certainly wouldn't vote for Franken, even if I lived in Minnesota and was already voting for the Candidates of Last Resort.

A President, perhaps especially these days, is flooded constantly with both important issues and utter nonsense, and they have to sort out which is which. I want a President who knows that instinctively. You might think that a paltry thing to think about, but look at the reverse - candidates that seem to miss the joke seem to miss a lot else. A candidate seems viable when it seems they can think on their feet, because it convinces people that they can think on their feet when they're negotiating with Palestinian Defense Minister or the Senior General of Burma. Gore seemed more viable as a candidate when he loosened up after losing in 2000, it's no coincidence his name still comes up now even with two high-profile candidates battling out the Democratic nomination.

More importantly, look at those two candidates. Both have gone on "SNL" to ingratiate themselves with a younger generation, and yet neither seemed to have any real concept of how to tell a joke, or even what the joke was. As Hillary's campaign winds down, the accusation comes up that she isn't leaving the race because she doesn't have anything else after this, that this is the end of her political life and she's determined to cling to it desperately regardless of consequences. I don't fully buy it (I don't even fully buy that there are any real consequences), but I could buy it, and here's why - no matter the situation, she keeps trucking on through everything with a fake smile and a fake laugh, and so it doesn't seem totally out of character for her that maybe beneath the veneer there's someone who doesn't have any real idea when something has swung completely out of proportion.

And as a result, maybe in the end I do buy it. Not because I find her less than capable, but I think that maybe she doesn't have the ability to step back and see the forest for the trees. I start to think it possible that in the heat of the campaign, she could lose all perspective.

When I see a candidate on TV telling jokes about how old he is, I start to believe that the same situation would never really happen to him because he'd see it. He'd have that perspective. Because he knows where the joke is.

3 Comments:

At May 23, 2008 11:16 AM, Blogger bs king said...

I voted for McCain in the primary this year because of listening to him on Imus in middle school. The man's a good guest on political shows.

Also, you forgot the whole "if McCain can still be funny after going through more trauma than the other two candidates 5 times over...well, at least we know he's resilient and resourceful" angle. It's actually pretty inspiring.

 
At May 23, 2008 5:14 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I think this speaks to why I can vote for McCain even though we disagree on certain issues- his life is not built around maintaining a high opnion of himself. Nice post!

 
At May 23, 2008 6:14 PM, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Franken doesn't seem that funny anymore, even off political topics. Just bitter. Perhaps he is someone who used to be a comedian.

 

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