Talking Veepstakes (Guest Voice)
In this Guest Voice “Raging Moderate” political comedian Will Durst takes a look at the Vice Presidential sweepstakes in the Democratic and Republican parties.
by Will Durst
This seems like a good time to talk about the race for the vice presidency. Not because of the overwhelming excitement involved in what is essentially a backstage safari. And not because of the dazzling personalities being rigorously vetted. Because nothing else is going on. Right now, the Veepstakes is the only game in town. The presidential campaign has entered what can only be described as its dormant hibernation phase. The whole damn thing has stalled like John Goodman over the dessert table at a 4-star casino’s Sunday Brunch on the Mississippi Coast.
Think of an endlessly looping PBS pledge drive.
The candidates have abandoned the playing field and are sucking down Gatorade while the trainers search for additional wads of cash to stuff into the hollow portions of their uniforms. And the score at halftime finds Barack Obama leading John McCain by about 15 points. Which should excite Democrats. I mean the last time they had this kind of a lead, at this point in the race, was way, way back, four years ago when John Kerry enjoyed a similar lead over George Bush. Oh.
Meanwhile, welcome to silly season. To demonstrate their unity, former sworn mortal enemies, Senators Obama (Crips) and Clinton (Bloods) met up in a New Hampshire town named Unity where, back in January, both received 107 votes. Get it? They’re not at each other’s throats anymore. They’re in Unity. You can’t make up stuff like this. And no, I have no idea if Truth or Consequences, New Mexico or Maggie’s Nipples, Wyoming were considered as alternates in case the civic fathers of Unity proved truculent.
We should relish these two months of campaign down-time before the conventions begin, and where, just like now, absolutely nothing will happen. The only difference is then, that nothing will be reported upon at such a great length, that grown men are developing rashes on the insides of their thighs just thinking about it.
Who will be number two? Nobody knows. And we might not for a while. This time around the VP picks are undergoing prodigious scrutiny due to the peculiar vulnerability of each of the nominees. John McCain is old and could nod off at any time, and Barack Obama is black and will have to campaign in America, a country more comfortable with guns than library cards. No word as to whether that whole library card thing is scheduled for any future Supreme Court docket.
Both secondary races are wide open and the speculation is so thick you can hide small clusters of cherry tomatoes in the smoke coming out of Chris Matthews’ ears. You got your public short-list and you got your private shorter-list and then you got your slip of paper with Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney’s names on it, who only get the nod if every other politician in America coincidentally trips and falls into an active lava tube.
Some people say that the vice president doesn’t affect the general election. Maybe not, but the choice of the vice president does have an impact. Do the names Eagleton, Ferraro, and Quayle have any meaning here? How ‘bout Admiral Stockdale, Ross Perots’s running mate in ’92? “Who am I? Why am I here?” A question never adequately answered. For him or for us. Or for our current presumptive nominees.
Political comic and author, Will Durst will be appearing at Rainbow Books in Madison, Wis. on July 2; on CNN’s “This Week in Politics” on July 5 and 6; the Mason City Limits Comedy Club on July 11 and 12, and at the Springfield, Ill. Barnes & Noble on July 12. Copyright ©2008 Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.