While politicians pay people to write their campaign speeches for them - peppered with more mudslinging than we've seen in years - the humorists on TV and in syndicated publications are having a ball searching out anything a candidate does or says that would make a satirical comment. All is grist for the mill, as long as it makes the general public chuckle.
No sooner had Texas governor Rick Perry tossed his 10-gallon hat into the presidential ring, firing his pistol into the air as he did so, than the press rushed in with invented captions for a photograph of that auspicious rally: "Let's put the yee-haw back in foreign policy!" "I'm the rootin'ness, tootin'ness, hombre east, west, north & south of the Pecos!" "Jesus take the wheel; I'll ride shotgun!" and "Maybe if I act like a cowboy long enough, people will fergit I'm a moron."
Nor did it take long for the press to recognize Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann's penchant for misquotes, as when she said, "John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa, that's the kind of spirit that I have, too." Turns out, Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa, three hours away, while Waterloo, her home town, was the home of John Wayne Gacy, a notorious serial killer.
Rep. Bachmann also put her foot deeply down her throat while campaigning in South Carolina, when she stated, "Before we get started, let's all say 'Happy Birthday' to Elvis Presley today." In truth, the date was actually the anniversary of the singer's death.
In her spontaneous statements she was hazy, often even incoherent. The press kept quoting her: While visiting the Mall of America in Minneapolis, she was quoted as saying, "There's a commonality with the Mall in that there's marble everywhere. The other thing I remarked about was there is water everywhere." That took time to analyze.
Or, later, in her anti-environmentalist mode, she erroneously made an erroneous deduction:: "Carbon dioxide is natural. It's not harmful, it is a part of Earth's lifecycle. And yet we're being told that we have to reduce this natural substance, reducing the American standard of living, to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occurring on Earth."
Humorist Jimmy Kimmel chided over her deliveries: "She gave a rebuttal for the Tea Party, and she is a natural on camera. But she kept looking to the side the whole time. Either the cue cards were in the wrong place or she was keeping an eye out for illegal immigrants."
Jay Leno picked up on her convoluted language when she was asked if she was a submissive housewife. "No," she replied, "but my husband is." Humorist Conan O'Brien took a different tack when he reported that an audio recording from five years ago has been released of Michelle Bachmann's prediction of the end of the world. Quipped Conan,"Her exact words were, 'I'm going to run for president in 2012.'"
And comics also focused in on Rick Perry. Said Kimmel, "Perry was once a Democrat. Just once, in college. He was experimenting." Kimmel also said, "Perry is an attractive candidate for many conservatives, because he wants smaller government, and he wants to cut national spending, and he knows how to fire a grenade launcher. He's like the Sarah Palin of politics."
Leno took a swipe at the current president while dissing Perry: "It turns out that the Texas governor got a 'D' in Principles of Economics. So he can't be president, but he can get a job on President Obama's economic team."
Nor did Jimmy Fallon ignore the president. "Here's some good news." he said. "Barack Obama announced he's bringing home troops from Iraq. That's right. Unfortunately, he couldn't get them direct flights back. They have a two-year layover in Afghanistan."
As for the other presidential hopefuls, just wait until they start seriously campaigning.
Rotten Tomatoes critiques: "Don't Be Afraid," C+; "Our Idiot Brother," C+; "Colombiana," C.
Note: PasiCats and other local musicians close the Houghton Downtown Summer Concert Series, tonight, 6-9pm, Parking Deck, across Wells Fargo.