'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
CLEARING UP CAMPAIGN CONFUSION
Welcome to another edition of the Q & A column, “Ask Dr. Information.” Our topic this week is political advertising.
All red-blooded Americans truly wish to fulfill their solemn civic duty and participate in the democratic process on Election Day. (“All” being defined as 40 percent of registered voters—less if it’s raining.) But there is a slight problem. Most people get their information these days via television (yes, a very scary thought) and therefore must make their voting decisions based on campaign commercials. This can cause confusion, as political ads often contain a tad bit of exaggeration and hyperbole. (A polite way of saying a dump truck load of bovine excrement.) This column will cut through the chaos and confusion, so that on Election Day all red-blooded Americans can perform their solemn civic duty by getting up early, looking out the window, and confidently deciding, “Gee, it looks like rain. I can’t be bothered.”
Dear Dr. Information: Why are campaign advertisements so negative?
Answer: Although countless surveys indicate that 99.9999 percent of the general public (with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 17 percent) hates negative campaign ads, history tells us the last politician to win an election without broadcasting negative commercials about his or her opponent was George Washington in 1789, and this was primarily due to the fact that he had no opponent that year.
Dear Dr. Information: Be that as it may, isn’t it wrong for a politician to label his opponent as a “thumb-sucking, bed-wetting communist?”
Answer: This requires a two-part answer. Number one: we don’t use the phrase, “Be that as it may,” around here. It’s a sure sign that someone is a thumb-sucking, bed-wetting communist. Number two: the label is technically OK as long as the politician does not say when his opponent did those things. Countless surveys indicate that 99.9999 percent of all political candidates at one time sucked their thumbs and wet their beds—usually around the age of two. (The only politician in modern times not in this category is Al Gore for the obvious reason that trees don’t pee.)
Dear Dr. Information: But what about the communist label? Is that OK?
Answer: It’s OK as long as the opponent first called him a right-wing, jack-booted fascist.
Dear Dr. Information: In a recent ad, the incumbent claimed she “…created over 100,000 new jobs in this district during the past four years.” Her opponent ran an ad which claimed, “…over 50,000 jobs have been lost in this district during the past four years.” Who is telling the truth?
Answer: They both are. Over the last four years 100,000 high school students graduated and went to work in fast food restaurants. During that same time, 50,000 senior citizens retired from their jobs to spend each day inside fast food restaurants complaining that the young employees are lazy.
Dear Dr. Information: When a commercial claims the candidate “said ‘No!’ to special interest groups,” what does that mean?
Answer: It means the candidate was insulted by the special interest groups’ meager campaign contributions, and refused to jump in bed with them until they sent over a dump truck filled with hundred-dollar bills.
Dear Dr. Information: What exactly are special interest groups, anyway?
Answer: No one really knows. They’re a lot like electricity: very powerful but very mysterious.
Dear Dr. Information: What does it mean when a politician says his opponent is “beholden to Big Business”?
Answer: It means the politician is jealous of his opponent’s success in raking in corporate donations—usually in the form of dump trucks filled with hundred-dollar bills.
Dear Dr. Information: Does that mean the politician would not accept corporate donations if they were offered to him?
Answer: My motto is, “There are no dumb questions,” but in this case I must make an exception.
Dear Dr. Information: Who should I vote for on Election Day?
Answer: You should vote for the candidate who is NOT motivated by personal ambition. This year that person is: George Washington.
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