Political Humor

If Your Are a Humor Writer, Your 2012 Presidential Election Choice is Clear: Vote Joe Biden for Vice President

The nation stands at a stark crossroads. We can continue down a path that will lead us to fiscal insolvency and protracted wars overseas, or we can alter our course today at the ballot box and place America’s future in the hands of a guy who will pretty much do the same things. The choice is obvious. We’re totally screwed, so we might as well have a few laughs, and that is why The Humor Columnist is endorsing Joe Biden for Vice President.

Normally publications endorse a president. The vice president is an afterthought. But this is no normal election. This is an election between two men–President Obama and Gov. Romney–who pretty much agree on everything except for abortion (Obama thinks they should be mandatory for all births) and gay rights (Romney would like to see all gays forced to wear pink hats so that he can identify them publicly.) When candidates are this close in their beliefs, you have to look at the rest of the ticket, and as a humor writer, I have to give the hilarity edge to Biden over Paul Ryan, in spite of these photos.

It’s easy to forget, with the focus on Obama and Romney, just how much joy America’s Drunk Uncle, Joe Biden, has given us these last four years. I’ll run through some highlights. Our vice president has publicly thanked Dr. Pepper (we all should!), called Ireland’s leader a drunk, put supporters to sleep with his speeches, told the city of San Francisco its football team will not go to the Super Bowl, joked about the Secret Service shooting a Florida government employee, plagiarized two presidents, dispensed dating advice to young single women (more than once), said the Cleveland Plain Dealer was in Florida, accused his opponent of wanting to make a $500 trillion tax cut (there are only $15 trillion in the economy), said he is “supposedly” an expert on foreign affairs, promised to run for president, promised to give America “the whole load” in a speech, made an inappropriate comment about Indians and forgot where he was — all on the same day, asked the father of a slain soldier about the size of his son’s balls, talked about his parents having sex, accidentally forced the president to take a stand on gay marriage, said middle class people live in unattractive homes, thinks this is the 20th century, called the 9/11 anniversary “bittersweet,” forgot he was in Ohio, said the Republicans will enslave people, forgot what The Everglades were called and promoted free butt-health to all of America.

And this is just the stuff we know about. Behind closed doors? When his guard is down?

I don’t know, but I’d like four more years to find out.

America, the choice is clear.

Dr. Pepper for vice president.

UPDATE: I just want to thank America for reelecting Joe Biden as vice president. I’ll keep tracking his many gaffes, blunders and international incidents on Pinterest.

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Michael Hiltzik Knows How to Make You Happy, You Clod

hiltzikMichaelIn a world where Thomas Friedman and David Brooks exist, choosing a favorite columnist to mock-read every week should be a two-man race, but we are blessed here in Los Angeles with one of the most predictably predictable columnists in the nation.

America, meet Michael Hiltzik. Or don’t. It’s probably better if you don’t.

I subscribe to the Los Angeles Times. I used to spend a lot of time yelling at Hiltzik columns, but I have decided to harness that energy and focus it like a laser beam of truthy America-loving awesomeness here on this website.

If my retorts seem not-well-thought-out or asinine, it’s because I write this column on short breaks from my work. This is not my full-time job. Saving America is just something I do in my spare time.

Hiltzik’s latest column in its entirety is available here. It’s about how government programs can make a nation happier. Yes, the nation he’s referencing is America. His words in bold. Mine in not-bold.

How much are we willing to pay for the pursuit of happiness?

I dunno. $70. I’m ballparking it.

Never mind the conventional speculation about whether the resolution of some political standoff in Washington favors Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, “entitlement” fans or skeptics.

Waaaaay ahead of you, Mikey. I pay no mind at all.

Question for you: is anyone actually a “fan” of entitlements? People like entitlements, but no one except wonky media types such as yourself are “fans” of entitlements. We don’t gather as a nation on Saturday mornings to grill hot dogs in a parking lot and get ‘faced and pile 90,000 high into a stadium to cheer on our entitlements. GO HOME MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION! YAY!

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President Obama Makes Historic Visit to Ohio University

President Obama waves to Ohio University students on College Green in Athens, Ohio

In 1994, when I was a freshman at Ohio University, if you would have told me that someday I would stand on College Green while the black President of the United States congratulated the Ohio Bobcat football team on its 7-0 undefeated season, I would have said that there is no way in our lifetime we will ever see a 7-0 undefeated Ohio Bobcat football team. But it happened, and I was there, and it was pretty cool.

On Wednesday evening President Obama addressed thousands of Ohio University students and Athens residents in front of the pillars of Memorial Auditorium. He spoke for half an hour, and he acknowledged Ohio University directly at the top of the speech by praising Frank Solich’s AP Top 25 program, saying, “I heard your football team is fun to watch. They’re undefeated. They might win the MAC. They might go to the BCS.” Obama then took credit for pushing for a college football playoff system and said if it was up to his opponent, Mitt Romney, there wouldn’t even be college football; the only sport would be “The Hunger Games.”

OK, he didn’t really say that. But Obama did use his speech, which came less than 24 hours after their town hall meeting clash in New York, to repeatedly paint Romney as this guy:

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Some advice for President Obama on His Visit to Athens, Ohio

Hi, President Obama. American citizen Joe Donatelli here. I heard you’re coming to Athens, Ohio to give a campaign speech at Ohio University. My wife and I are living here this semester, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you about Athens, from one non-college-student to another.

Athens, as you will discover when you fly in on Marine One, is a small city in Southeast Ohio. It is located along the Hocking River, which the Army Corps of Engineers moved four decades ago to 1.) Prevent the annual flooding that wreaked havoc on the campus  2.) Make space for an indoor recreational climbing wall. (I’m still not sure why anyone even came to school here before we got it.)

The rungs of the city are lined with residential houses, apartments, schools, businesses, churches and Beer Pong tables. Nature is on display here every fall with the changing of the leaves. A bike path provides an excellent view of surrounding area’s bucolic splendor, including the Hocking River, which occasionally contains water.

The pulse of Athens, though, is Court Street, which is known for its impressive 17:1 bar-to-Chipotle ratio. Court Street is one way, so make sure the motorcade is heading north or the Athens Police Department will be all over you. If you should decide to jaywalk (we all do — it’s a town of scofflaws, sir) then make sure you only look south, as looking both ways before crossing Court Street indicates to all passersby that you are freshman.

Should you decide to have lunch on Court Street, you will find that you have many options. Professors and townies tend to favor Jackie O’s, which serves craft beer and cheese plates, or Tony’s, a dive that has a drink called Hot Nuts, which Vice President Biden can probably tell you all about.

Last weekend was Homecoming, so my wife and a friend spent some time enjoying Athens’ Uptown (that’s what we call downtown Athens, and if you make reference to it in your stump speech by saying something like, “Mitt Romney, he wants to take our economy out-of-town. I want to take it Uptown!” then you can probably expect about 20 minutes of wild cheering and applause.) If I was you, I’d hit Lucky’s for cheese sticks (it’s a Steelers bar, so any photos taken there might resonate with Pennsylvania voters), The Union for a Schlitz (shore up the local working-class/hipster vote) and Casa Nueva for a sit-down meal. Now, I have to warn you, Casa is worker-owned, so the Republicans might use that against you, because it’s quasi-socialist. When they do, you are welcome to remind them, “Hey, they built that.”

College Green in Athens in the fall

Athens is best known around the state for its beautiful campus. Ohio University was founded here in 1804. The school has graduated successful politicians, business leaders, journalists and NFL punters. The Georgian architecture is consistent throughout most the campus, which is lined with trees and a squirrel population that, as long as it remains spread out over campus’s 2,000 acres, is in no way intimidating.

Baker Center, which is the student center, is the heart of Ohio University, and College Green, where you will speak, is its soul. College Green is used by students to walk to class, but is also popular for napping, eating, Frisbee, walking small dogs that you hope sophomore girls will notice, reading, photography and, of course, the Kissing Circle. Located near Chubb Hall (stop snickering, Mr. President) the Kissing Circle is a small space on College Green where any man used to be able to kiss any woman. (It was established before the advent of lawyers.)

Ohio’s rival is Miami. Paul Ryan went to school there. You know what to do with this information.

Normally I live in Los Angeles, which you visit often, so I understand how these presidential campaign stops work. You will probably only have time to arrive, shake hands with a few important locals and officials, give your speech and then take off for the big city (Chillicothe.) So if you only have time to do one thing in Athens before your speech, I would advise you to do this: buy a large burrito from The Burrito Buggy. It’s located right across the street from College Green.

You’re here to win votes. When Ohio University students go into the voting booth on November 6, they are going to have a choice: they can vote for Mitt Romney, a man whom America imagines eating a mayo-on-white-bread sandwich with water every day at lunch, or you, the guy who grabbed a burrito at The Burrito Buggy. Elections have been won and lost on stupider questions than, “Which candidate would I rather have an oversized burrito with?”

Good luck.

Enjoy your stay.

And remember to only look one way when (legally, wink-wink) crossing Court Street.

Joe Donatelli is a journalist who currently lives in Athens, Ohio. Follow him on Twitter @joedonatelli.

UPDATE: Getting messages from people who have seen cars and bikes going the wrong way down Court Street. I have never seen this, but I’ll take their word for it. Mr. President, please do look both ways. Or have your people look both ways for you.

More OU stories:

What a 2012 Ohio University football game looks like to someone who watched OU lose 5-0 to Utah State in 1994

The Worst College House Ever

The Junction: A Eulogy

Bobcat Fans Brave Tornado to Witness First Bowl Game Since 1968

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