Pat Paulsen (on America’s problems)

ON and ON, and over and over, it’s Hil and Bernie Marching as to (what?), but it’s mainly Trump and More Trump and All Those Other Guys. I’m grateful for the ability to occasionally enjoy the theatre of it, or else my seriousness/desperation/fear/loathing might get the best of me. (Besides, it’s Only The Old World Order, folks.) And sometimes it does, get the best of me, that is, my worry for the American future, I mean.

'68 or '72, I'm guessing.

’68 or ’72, I’m guessing.

And then random @CitizenWald tweeted a Pat Paulsen quote. Remember him? (Pat Paulsen, I mean, not CitizenWald.) Hangdog expression and a dryer-than-California monotone delivery. Comedian, best known for appearances on The Smothers Brothers show – and that’s going back a year or 40 – and then for quadrennial mock runs at the U.S. Presidency. AtCitizenWald tweeted one of his campaign slogans:

“I’ve Upped My Standards. Now UP YOURS.”

Paulsen died in ’97, having “run” in every Presidential election from ’68 to ’96. He got over 10,000 votes one time. Other slogans of his seriously ridiculous campaigns:

“If elected, I will win”


“We have nothing to fear but fear itself – and, of course, the boogieman.”

His campaign supporters (there were some) would chant thusly their longing for change:

“We can’t stand Pat!”

Most of it was silliness, and fairly gentle but still pointed mockery of the grand seriousness of what is essentially a popularity contest, not much different than elections for Prom King. Yet there was smart sociopolitical commentary there, too;

Scarily, he actually began looking somewhat Presidential.

Scarily, he actually began looking somewhat Presidential, in a Dick Nixon-ish way.

after all, the Smothers Brothers were satirists a long while before Stewart and Colbert. As I cherry-picked the Interwebs – not as easy as you might think! – for “research” on Pat Paulsen, I ran across what will now forever be immortalized as the–third-of-March-in-2016-HeSaid/SheSaid selection. It’s funny, though it reminds me of another quote, the centre of one of my Best of 2015 HowdyPosts. It was serious: justice, truth, reconciliation. So this might make you giggle or groan. Or both. It’s a gut punch, all right.

“All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.”

Patrick Layton Paulsen (1927-1997) was an American entertainer who made fun (and made sense) of the show-biz of his country’s electoral politics.

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