Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Larry The Cable Guy-Politician

Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has stated that Americans want politicians to be more like Larry The Cable Guy, because of his "Git-R-Done" catchphrase and attitude.

Note, he did not say he thinks Larry The Cable Guy should be a politician but rather that politicians should model themselves after the ideology that the character created by Dan Whitney preaches.

"Sometimes I think we need [a] Larry The Cable Guy running for office so we can just 'Git-R-Done' because that's what people really want out of us. They want competence. They want us to accomplish something,...I don't think the average voter is as ideological as he or she is practical."

Interesting. And not a surprise, since if you were to ask the people of Arkansas what comedians they can relate to most (and probably trust most) no doubt many will state Larry The Cable Guy and his blue-collar sense of humor.

Comedians and politics aren't two paths that haven't been crossed before. Prop-comic Gallagher tried running for Governor of California in their recall election. Doug Stanhope seems to be somewhat serious of his intentions to possibly run for President on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2008. Howard Stern (I know, not a comedian, but a shock jock that can be funny) tried running for New York City Mayor before. And lets not forget the obvious, the constant calls for either (or both) Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to run for President based solely on the reasoning that they can read jokes about the news and politics off a script that were created by a bunch of professional comedy writers, sometimes without Stewart or Colbert's involvement at all. As Mad Magazine put it perfectly in issue ..467: "no appearance by a pandering politico is complete without the kiss-ass suggestion that Jon Stewart should enter politics. At which point, the same studio audience that doesn't think George W. Bush is qualified to handle his job, happily explodes at the notion of being represented by Adam Sandler's roommate in Big Daddy."

What is it about people trusting comedians more? Is it because they quote-unquote "tell the truth"? Is it because they say things most other people would never dream of saying? Is it because politicians are fools anyway, so as Gallagher put it, why not put a professional in that position? Maybe. I'd like to think that it has to do with the power of comedy. I'd like to think that people realize that via comedy, one can tackle a serious topic, and put it in a perspective where the absurdity of it is clear to everyone. More or less, the main purpose of satire. I'd like to think that people realize sometimes that only via comedy can anything truly be said.

Is that what Huckabee is saying? Is he claiming that politicians should be more like comedians in the sense that they tell the truth and cut the bullshit? No, I don't think so. I think he's implying that they would somehow get the job done faster (something, that no one can accomplish, unless you're Michael Douglas or Martin Sheen or possibly James K. Polk). Just because comedians can shine some light on a subject doesn't mean that the whole nation will agree with him or her on it. It doesn't mean that bills become law faster. All it means is that we'll have David Cross as our Press Secretary.

The "Git-R-Done" ideology Huckabee is ascribing to suggests they'll get the work done faster, and that's what people want. Well, it's a nice idea...won't happen.

It's fitting this comes up the same week when Robin Williams and Lewis Black's comedy "Man Of The Year", about a Jon Stewart-like comedian who runs for (and wins) the Presidency opens in box offices. Watch and see how he won't accomplish anything faster.