My brother Cole is now a politician, thanks to a winning election for student body treasurer. It may have been a small-time election, but he won the same way that many politicians win their elections:
A) By flooding the market with way more advertising than his opponents
B) By having really good hair
C) By not talking about the moon or aliens
Seriously, more wannabe politicians need to heed letter C. This week (I am not making the following stories up) one of my colleagues interviewed the two candidates running against Greg Walden for the U.S. House of Representatives. One candidate, Joyce Segers, is an open believer of Lemuria-- the belief that Mount Shasta is a mythical power source left over from an ancient, magical civilization that came here from another planet and some (including Segers) believe those beings still live in a hidden city under the mountain. Really. Aliens in Mt. Shasta.
When my colleague asked the other candidate, whose name I don't remember, what his biggest platform was he started talking about how the moon is getting farther away from the earth every year and if he is elected he will make sure NASA gets funding to put solar-powered engines on the other side of the moon to push it back toward earth, otherwise in a few more decades we will have "perpetual daylight." There are several scientific problems with this. One is that it is not the moon that causes night time, so even if it gets so far away it decides to turn traitor on the earth and become Saturn's moon the sky will still get dark at night. Second, I don't think solar power is going to work very well for engines on the dark side of the moon. That's kind of why it's called "the dark side of the moon."
This week a guy wanted to place an advertisement in our newspaper for go-go dancers for the pagan church he is starting. When questioned about his church's basic tenets, he said he wasn't sure yet what they were, because he was just getting started. But he knows he needs bikini-clad dancers. I'm sure his next call to the newsroom will be to announce his candidacy for something.
Luckily, Walden (who seems more or less sane)is running again, so we don't have to entrust our country with any of these people. But what happens to the states where they don't have another viable option? Do they decide who is slightly less likely to end up in a mental institution and vote for that person? Ah, that explains so much about Congress. For example, it explains how the good people of Georgia elected Rep. Hank Johnson, who asked last year in all seriousness if sending more Marines to the tiny island of Guam would cause it to "tip over and capsize." Yet another example of why political science majors should really be required to take some actual science classes too.
Fortunately for Hank Johnson, whatever intern was responsible for writing his press releases must have taken the same class as all the other political press release writers, which teaches when the person whose campaign you are working for says something completely stupid/offensive, the first step is to write a press release saying he or she "meant it metaphorically." Did a politician say something about shooting their opponent or using a "second amendment remedy"? They meant it metaphorically. Did Mitt Romney say something about hanging Obama? He meant it metaphorically. Did Newt Gingrich talk about putting a colony on the moon? Yes. But his campaign strategists didn't take the "he meant it metaphorically" class. Or the "any mention of the moon makes people call your sanity into question" class. Or the "there is a certain point you should just give up, and you passed it a long time ago, dude" class.
If people don't buy the excuse about meaning it metaphorically, politicians can always say that they "cannot say with certitude" if that is their policy/quote/underwear being plastered all over the Internet. Or that they may have "used the wrong words" when calling someone a slut. Or that when they said people in this country should be speaking the "language of prosperity, not the language of the ghetto" they were referring to when "ghetto" meant a medieval Jewish neighborhood. After all, there are more Spanish-speaking voters than medieval Jewish voters.
Fortunately for Cole he is a regular viewer of the Colbert Report, so he knows all the tricks. If he ever gets caught embezzling from school funds or something like that he can always blame the liberal media.