Friday, April 27, 2012

Pat Paulsen For President

By Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco 

Whenever there is a Political Election Year,  Do you know who I miss? Pat Paulsen.

For the youngsters out there Pat Paulsen was a political satirist who first came to the public consciousness on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour television show in the 1960's. Before there was Stephen Colbert or John Stewart or Saturday Night Live's political humor there was Pat Paulsen.

Pat Paulsen took his political humor one step further however. He actually would run for President in the elections from 1968 until 1996. He was on the ballot in a few states and he got a lot of votes as a write in candidate.

The comedian was approached by the Smothers Brothers with the idea of running for President in 1968. His response...."Why not? I can't dance — besides, the job has a good pension plan and I'll get a lot of money when I retire."

Paulsen's campaigns were based in comedy but it would have it's serious side as well. His campaigns used obvious lies, double talk, and attacks on the major candidates, and he would respond to criticism by saying "Picky, picky, picky".

Paulsen's name appeared on the ballot in New Hampshire for the Democratic Primary for many years. In 1996 he received 921 votes (1%) to finish second to President Bill Clinton (76,754 votes). In 1992 he came in second to George Bush in the North Dakota Republican Primary. In the 1992 Republican presidential primaries he received 10,984 votes total.

Paulsen would deliver his campaign speeches in a deadpan, serious tone. Every once in a while as he was delivering a line he would catch himself as to actually think on what he was saying and start to crack a smile. He would come up with some real good "zingers", as President Bush calls them....Phrases that stick in your mind and would make you laugh.

Here are a few examples:

"A good many people feel that our present draft laws are unjust. These people are called soldiers."

"Sex doesn't have to be taught. It's something most of us are born with."

When originally "denying" he was running, borrowing from General William Sherman in 1884: "I will not run if nominated, and if elected I will not serve."

Presidential Campaign Slogan: "I've upped my standards. Now, up yours."

Presidential Campaign Slogan: "If elected, I will win."

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself...and of course the boogieman."

"I am neither left wing nor right wing. I am middle-of-the-bird."

"If either the right wing or the left wing gained control of the country, it would probably fly around in circles."

When asked if he believed in the Right to bear arms: "No, I believe in the right to arm bears."

On network censorship: "I feel proud to be living in a country where people are not afraid to laugh at themselves and where political satire is tolerated by the government, if not the television network."

On network censorship: "Censorship does not interfere with the constitutional rights of every American to sit alone in a dark room in the nude and cuss. There are realistic taboos, especially regarding political comments. Our leaders were not elected to be tittered at. For example, we're allowed to say Ronald Reagan is a lousy actor, but we're not allowed to say he's a lousy governor-which is ridiculous. We know he's a good actor. And we're not allowed to make fun of President 'Johnson'. But if we praise him, who would believe it?"

On his political affiliation: "I belong to the Straight Talking American Government Party, or STAG Party for short."

Paulsen died in 1997 at the age of 69.

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