Presidential Election Anything but Laughable
In the early 1970s, the late comedian Pat Paulsen wrote a book called “How to Wage a Successful Campaign for the Presidency.” In it, he prepared speeches, advertisements, debate responses, and answers to media questions for any candidate.
If Paulsen were alive today, he might have written a mock acceptance speech from a Presidential candidate that looked something like this...
Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you, delegates.
I am so proud to accept your nomination for the [Republican / Democratic] candidate for President. Isn’t my wife great? Aren’t my kids beautiful and great?
Our nation’s economy is [in trouble / improving].
In September 2008, when our financial system was on the edge of collapse, the government did the [right / wrong] thing by letting a few large investment banks fail and then stepping in to save the others.
Many economists [agree / disagree] this led our nation, as well as the world economy, into its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
A few weeks later, the nation’s largest commercial banks, where you have your checking and savings accounts, were on the brink of collapse. The government had to decide whether to let them [live / die] [with / without] government assistance.
A Republican President and Democratic Congress worked together on a $700 billion bailout. I believe they did the [right / wrong] thing.
A few months later, another President and Congress agreed on another $800 billion bailout for the auto industry and the rest of the economy. This time, I believe they did the [right / wrong] thing. Since then, the situation [has / has not] improved [because / even though] the private sector has created 4.5 million new jobs. That is [as good as possible / not enough] given the circumstances. Government is smaller and has trimmed more than 600,000 jobs. That is [good / bad] because there were [too many / not enough] teachers, police, fire fighters, and other public servants.
Now, we [are / are not] through the worst of this crisis, and must move the country forward. I have a five point plan to put the country back on track.
First, we must make our country energy independent. Our nation is blessed with vast quantities of natural resources that can allow us to be energy independent by 2020 and fuel our country for a century or more. We need to develop domestic sources of [fossil fuels / natural gas, nuclear power, wind, and solar energy]. We [must ease / are easing] the regulatory burden on our energy companies. New sources of energy can provide the new high paying jobs and become our largest export.
Second, we must improve our educational system and give everyone a better chance to succeed. I am so fortunate to have gone to Harvard [with / without] government assistance. Only an educational system designed at the [federal / state / local / parental] level can compete with Germany and Japan. Steve Jobs told me that Apple needs 30,000 new engineers who can be trained in America. My iPod has music from [fill in this blank to appeal to your voters].
Third, we [must negotiate / are negotiating] free and fair trade agreements so American workers and businesses play on a level playing field. We must stand up to China, and protect our intellectual property and the dollar.
Fourth, we must reduce the deficit by [raising / lowering] taxes. Spending is [out of / hard to] control because of [this / the previous] President.
Finally, we must [start / continue] to help small businesses, they are the source of new jobs of the future. Over the past four years, government has [hurt / helped] small businesses more than ever before.
If you vote for me, we will do this together. We can change the direction of our nation. Thank you. Thank you so much.
God Bless the United States of America.
Pat Paulsen called this comedy. Today we call it “talking points.” This year’s candidates could have taught Paulson a thing or two about debating. When several of them got questions they didn’t like, they ignored it and said, “You ask the questions you want; I give the answers I want.” If only Mitt Romney and President Obama could make us laugh.