Bob Franken

King Features Column

(This is delayed a week, as usual, because of the syndication deal which requires the column appears first in the client newspapers. If that doesn’t included your paper, nag their editors)

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Let’s face it, this entire campaign has been one big pratfall, so it’s terrific that the comedians have been adding more stand-up to their slapstick in the past few days. What great yucks the Obama-Romney vaudeville team got when they played the Al Smith Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. From the Romney binder of gags: “As President Obama surveys the Waldorf banquet room with everyone in white-tie finery, you have to wonder what he’s thinking: ‘So little time, so much to redistribute.'” And Obama: “Early today I went shopping at some stores in midtown. I understand Gov. Romney went shopping for some stores in midtown.”
That joint appearance in New York, with all the wisecracks, has become an election tradition. Headliners immediately took their pie-in-the-face shtick back on the road.
By the very next day, the Obama writers were in high gear, churning out new material for their leader to trash Mitt Romney and his celebrated tendency to reinvent himself: “I mean, he’s changing up so much — backtracking and sidestepping. We’ve got to name this condition that he’s going through … I think it’s called Romnesia.”
Let me tell you, the Obama entourage needs a drummer to do rim shots. As for the Romney-Paul Ryan crew, it already had one, playing behind country singer John Rich of the country group Big and Rich.
That has to be a joke, right? Obviously, Mitt was making sly fun of his big and rich self. He doesn’t really have to do that; there are plenty of people on the other side ready to provide the ridicule.

Joe Biden may be No. 2 in the pecking order, but he is clearly the Democrats’ jester-in-chief. He can be overexuberant, to put it mildly. He riffed on the so-called Young Guns among House Republicans, like Ryan, who, said Biden, “have their bullets aimed at you.”
Heavy-handed? No doubt about it. But he does get under GOP thin skins. Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck slammed Biden, snarling “In the absence of a vision or plan to move forward, the vice president is left only with ugly political attacks beneath the dignity of the office he occupies.”
C’mon, Brendan. Lighten up. “Dignity”? Vice-presidency? Are you forgetting Dick Cheney, aka Richard the Hunter? Or Spiro Agnew? Or, is this really envy because your guy doesn’t have a humor gene in his entire earnest body?
In any case, this is an encouraging trend. We really do need to add some bright levity to a drama that has been a tragedy with a little dark humor — most of it unintentional. Each side has a team in place to begin the transition to the next administration, which would begin election night (presumably, unless we end up in some grotesque situation in which we don’t know the result). In truth, both sides also should have those who are assigned to prepare a concession speech. Hopefully, they will add some spice.
If Romney loses, he could point out that he and his family plan a vacation — everyone, Ann, the kids, the grandkids. And the dog. When he returns to the private sector, he’d announce he’s forming a new leveraged buyout firm: Scam Capital, which will immediately take over the company that makes EtchASketch.
If it’s Barack Obama who must bow out, he could inform us he is becoming a spokesman for two drug companies. In one he would highlight his first debate, and pitch Ambien. Obviously, the second one would be a natural for Adderall.
With that, this circus finally would fold its tent. And then it’s time to get back to reality. Whoever wins will have an extremely hard time following his campaign act, since the massive problems we all face are no laughing matter.

© 2012 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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