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Wanted: A Sense of Humor
Townhall.com ^ | April 1, 2016 | Paul Greenberg

Posted on 04/01/2016 2:21:17 PM PDT by Kaslin

It's been a wacky election season, but when hasn't it been? Remember when Ross Perot, who couldn't decide whether he was running or not running for president, did both, alternately jumping in and out of the race as the mood struck him? Welcome to the quadrennial circus that is an American presidential campaign.

This year the stacked deck now has two jokers -- Donald Trump, the self-infatuated real-estate magnate of reality TV and the Greater New York Metropolitan Area, and Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey with a gift for gab. Naturally he promptly endorsed The Donald. It's a wonder how anybody can take them seriously -- even if they're not at all funny.

Conservatives used to be known as the humorless party, but then a relatively unknown candidate for mayor of New York City surfaced: a young intellectual who had started his own magazine to fill a void on the American right. And everything changed. He had a sense of humor (in addition to a lot more) and it showed. He actually thought politics should be ... fun! As soon as the election returns showing he'd lost had been certified, somebody asked what he'd have done if he'd won. His immediate response: "Demand a recount!"

His name was William F. Buckley Jr., and soon there was no need to introduce him. His book about that campaign, "The Unmaking of a Mayor," soon proved a small classic, unlike his other books, like "God and Man at Yale," that proved great ones.

Can you imagine any of the front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination this year, or even behind-runners, engaging in wit, irony or anything else besides bluster, braggadocio and endless self-promotion? Can you picture them telling self-deprecating jokes? But this Buckley character not only told them, he made a weekly television show featuring his wit-and-wisdom that competed with the most watched news programs on the air. And it was on educational television yet. The program, "Firing Line," was a combination vocabulary test ("mere velleity," "asymptotically") and cat-and-mouse game with outmatched guests, whose dumbfounded looks said it all: "What did he just call me?"

Then there was Bill Buckley's plummy accent, which seemed to have derived from his days in English public schools, meaning the elite private ones, but also invented as he went along, dragging out every upper-class vowel with aristocratic savor.

A rhetorical strategist of the first rank who'd grown up conjugating Latin verbs and starring on debate teams, Mr. Buckley "would nudge the guest gently but firmly down the slippery slope to forensic demise. It was an intellectual execution by a most genial hangman," as Firing Line producer Neal Freeman put it in the Wall Street Journal. It's hard to imagine now, but there was once "a charming and commanding conservative presence at the center of American culture."

Now we get a bumptious Donald Trump, who substitutes repetition for argument, a nice guy like John Kasich who has little but his niceness to recommend him, or the likes of a Ted Cruz who manages to sound principled one day and opportunistic the next -- a bunch that alternates between taking themselves too seriously and the issues not seriously enough.

Welcome to yet another wacky American election campaign -- one without humor, without wit or learning or dignity. In short, one without William F. Buckley.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: elections; williamfbuckley

1 posted on 04/01/2016 2:21:17 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

He lost me when he said Kasich was a nice guy. He’s a liberal with a short fuse. He even blew up at a potential donor when she asked him about his Ohio Medicaid expansion. I’ve heard other stories about his temper that make me think the man has a screw loose.

Kasich thinks it’s great that he stuck the rest of us with the bill for more Medicaid in Ohio. Typical liberal, generous with other people’s money.


2 posted on 04/01/2016 2:30:41 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX (All those who were appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48)
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To: Kaslin

Buckley sure was a hoot


3 posted on 04/01/2016 2:31:29 PM PDT by Bullish (Face it, insanity is just not presidential.)
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To: Kaslin

If Bill Buckley were a candidate in this edition of Republican primaries, the debates would be a lot more fun but also far more substantive.


4 posted on 04/01/2016 2:36:40 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: Kaslin

While I was in college, my favorite books were dog eared paperbacks by WFBjr. “Up From Liberalism”, “Quotations from Chairman Bill”, “The Conscience of a Conservative” (Goldwater) and Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand).


5 posted on 04/01/2016 2:38:56 PM PDT by bobo1 (Truth has but only one voice.)
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To: Kaslin
I remember the "demand a recount" comment, Firing Line (one hour a week of Firing Line is all the fairness conservatives needed, said liberals), and I remember this "banter" between Mr. Buckley and Mr. Vidal.

"Shut up for a minute." Said Buckley to Vidal and then the name-calling began . . . "[You] never saw a shot fired in anger," said Vidal to Buckley.

We should all try to remember the saying that's been with us since the time of the Revolution, "Keep your ponder wry." At least it was popular up until Burr shot Hamilton.

6 posted on 04/01/2016 2:40:58 PM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: Kaslin

Another maggot infected anti Trump idiot spewing his bs!


7 posted on 04/01/2016 2:42:07 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (I 'm just another low info/stupid & evil/vile/crazy Trump supporter wanting to select my candidate!!)
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To: Kaslin

Okay, but PG rated ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PsnxDQvQpw


8 posted on 04/01/2016 2:43:04 PM PDT by soycd
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To: Kaslin

There’s plenty of humor with our politicians.

Obama: “Knock! Knock!”

Biden: “We got woodpeckers!”

Obama: “No, silly, it’s me! You say ‘Who’s there?’. Let’s try it again. Knock! Knock!”.

Biden: “That woodpecker is back.”


9 posted on 04/01/2016 2:43:38 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Kaslin

Personally, I always thought William F. Buckley was a weirdo.


10 posted on 04/01/2016 2:44:55 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Prayer for Victory is the ONLY way to support the troops!)
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To: Kaslin

I had a Humorectomy so, there’s that...


11 posted on 04/01/2016 3:01:02 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway - "Enjoy Yourself" ala Louis Prima)
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To: blueunicorn6

Biden: “That woodpecker is back.”

ROFL!


12 posted on 04/01/2016 3:21:23 PM PDT by CodeToad (Islam should be banned and treated as a criminal enterprise!)
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To: Kaslin

Reagan had a humble, self-effacing sense of humor. What a contrast to today’s candidates.

NONE of them, Dems or Repubs, have a sense of humor!

And historically, going down the list:

JFK - too formal, scant humor
LBJ - No humor
Nixon - Zero humor
Ford - some humor
Carter- Zero humor
Reagan - *** The ONLY one with humor
GHWB - Some humor
Clinton - Some humor, but can’t laugh at himself
GWB - Humor
Barack Obama - Narcissistic humor.

Trump - not much humor, too busy chestbeating.


13 posted on 04/01/2016 3:23:05 PM PDT by AlanGreenSpam (Obama: The First 'American IDOL' President - sponsored by Chicago NeoCom Thugs)
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To: AlanGreenSpam
BTTT

I remember president Bush often made jokes about himself

14 posted on 04/01/2016 3:28:43 PM PDT by Kaslin (He needed theThe l ignorant to reelect him. He got them and now we have to pay the consequences)
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To: AlanGreenSpam

To wit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3kpYiWdVWY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrRTau5jusU


15 posted on 04/01/2016 3:30:15 PM PDT by donaldo
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To: Pining_4_TX

Well that is his opinion which is his right.


16 posted on 04/01/2016 3:30:21 PM PDT by Kaslin (He needed theThe l ignorant to reelect him. He got them and now we have to pay the consequences)
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To: AlanGreenSpam

A sense of humor is knowing when to crack jokes, and when to get busy.
We’ve had (at least) a quarter-century of clowns, a smug, self-satisfied one for the last 8 years.
We could sure use more humor here on FR, that’s for sure .... but Americans crave some serious leadership NOW,
like plants crave Brawndo.

Trumpisms:

“I don’t like excuses.”

“Somebody’s getting fired.”

“It’s energy. You need that energy. If you don’t have it, forget it.”

“My father was my mentor. I learned more from my father than anybody else.”

“Beautiful building, Trump Tower. The best.”

“Life is full of problems.”

“It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.”

“Manhattan’s a tough place. If you’re not careful, it can chew you up and spit you out. If you work hard, you can make it big. I mean really big.”

“The numbers speak for themselves.”

“If you’re really successful, you’ll all live like this.”

“Art is very subjective.”

“You’ve gotta believe in what you’re selling. [If not] you’ll be miserable.”

“I’m not the type of guy who gives second chances.”

“It’s all about leadership and getting along with your team.”

“Now I’ve had a fascination for a long time with branding and I’ve decided to open up a water distribution company. I call it Trump Ice. The purest, best-tasting water you can imagine.”

“You’ll never be successful if you sell a product you don’t like and don’t believe in.”

“I’ve been duped many times.”

“You have to make decisions.”

“There’s no place like Trump Tower.”

“What makes you think you have charisma?”

“Just follow me.”

“Never beg when you’re trying to sell something. If it doesn’t work out, take your lumps and relax.”

“As the master, I want to pass along my knowledge to somebody else.”

“Your disloyalty has been so obnoxious in this particular case that I have to say: You’re fired.”

“You never had a strong game plan. You were frantic under pressure. . . . You’re fired.”

“You know there’s huge hammering going on outside and we really have to get it stopped.”


17 posted on 04/01/2016 3:37:56 PM PDT by tumblindice (America's fonding fathers: all armed conservatives.)
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To: donaldo

Great vids. Yes, I’ve seen them. I’ve also spent 20 minutes chatting with Reagan himself in 1991 in his office (20th Century Fox bldg in LA).

No such humor these days.


18 posted on 04/01/2016 10:46:18 PM PDT by AlanGreenSpam (Obama: The First 'American IDOL' President - sponsored by Chicago NeoCom Thugs)
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Yet another faux con with a stick up his ass. Imagine that.


19 posted on 04/01/2016 10:51:58 PM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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