Commentary Magazine


Have You Heard the One About . . .

Polls are one way to see who’s ahead in the endless game of politics. Humor is another, for the guys on the losing side tend to be a bit grumpy.

FDR had a wonderful sense of humor. His remarks about his “little dog, Fala” are a classic. So is his “Martin, Barton, and Fish” line that became a staple of the 1940 reelection campaign. It was later echoed by Hubert Humphrey in his acceptance speech for the nomination for vice president at the 1964 Democratic convention, where he ended paragraph after paragraph with the line, “But not Senator Goldwater!” Ronald Reagan was forever telling funny stories and his deadpan masterpiece during a debate with Walter Mondale knocked the age issue out of the ballpark in 1984. Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, wouldn’t get a joke if it hit him on the nose. He got the boot after one term.

So who has the lead in humor this election? It isn’t the liberals. They, in fact, have been noticeably grumpy since the days of Hubert Humphrey, who, like Al Smith before him, was known as the Happy Warrior after Wordsworth’s great poem. According to liberals, the Tea Party movement is a hotbed of racism and a white-only club. The Tea Party begs to differ and this YouTube clip pretty much demolishes the idea with humor.

We’ll see who gets the last laugh on November 2nd. I don’t think it will be liberals.