Jean Barker

Crazy for President!

2011-11-18 07:20

I heard a story on American Radio the other day. All about Malema. Alarmist and annoying, it reminded me that South Africa has always had its political lunatic fringe. It needs to be trimmed occasionally, like, say, by suspending Malema as President of the Youth League (not for being 30 years old, but for behaving like he's pushing four). Done! Good job guys!

Turns out, America has its political lunatic fringe too. Some would say it's not so much a political lunatic fringe as all-over body hair. No wonder I am so comfortable in the USA.

A quick survey of people standing up as 2012 Presidential Candidates will bear me out.

Let's begin with conservative Republican (apologies for the repetition) candidate Herman Cain, who's has already been president once before...of Godfather's Pizza. And a gospel singer. He combines these accomplishments in his videotaped performance of Lennon's Imagine (there's no pizza). He's probably the craziest of the lot - and therefore the most entertaining. His Thank You for Smoking TV advert is still hilarious, his keep it simple stupid-style  “999” 9% sales tax plan would probably cripple the economy overnight - but it certainly sticks in your head like a bad nursery rhyme.

He was originally popular with the right wing, having made openly made anti-Islamic comments, then denied them, then made them again. The media nicknamed Cain the “anti-Obama”, because his ratings were really, really high...before sexual harassment claims damaged his campaign.

There's also Michele Bachmann (Republican), who is basically Sarah Palin with an upgraded virus filter. On torture: "If I was president I would be willing to use waterboarding. I want to save American lives and that's why I want the CIA to have every interrogation tool available to them so we can win the war on terror." Herman Cain agreed with her, as did Rick Perry (another candidate for the Great Old - Republican - Party, aka GOP).  American lives are somehow different and more valuable than other lives, you see. They're more important than obeying international law and shit.

And let's thought having a party called the “Soccer Party” was kooky? Meet karate expert, decorated vet and occasional anti-Semite Jimmy McMillan, who was once a senatorial candidate for the Rent is Too Damn High Party.

Other fun folk running for the biggest job in the USA include Tom Miller, a career flight attendant before he ran for prez, Andy Martin, the genius behind the claim that Obama is Muslim, and Danny Woodring whose online-only campaign makes me wonder: does this guy even have a passport photo? Like Woodring, Democratic candidate and pro-lifer Randal Terry looks like he couldn't afford to run a mobile home, let alone a presidential campaign. I'm wrong, though. Terry, apparently, has $3m to blow on a Superbowl advert for a campaign he'll never win. Never.

Real contenders? Well, there's Obama, who brings his good looks, education, intelligence, and his good record as president and the fact that he killed or assistant-killed some boogyman to his credit.

Conservative Mitt Romney is doing better since Cain got accused of being gropey.

And there's always the relatively hot-looking Rick Perry, who's working his way to the top of the list by trading on a combo of his appeal to religious conservatives and his appeal to the sexually frustrated...same thing?

The fight is pretty dirty. It consists of a few half truths and a lot of lies, told on all sides, with Obama telling fewer than most, and Bachmann, Perry, Cain and Romney telling stacks and stacks.

It's not really that hard to understand why a lot of people would rather occupy Wall Street than vote for any of them.

- Jean is a screenwriting/directing dual MFA student in California, USA. She tweets as @jeanbarker and blogs pictures of signs and more, here. She will be back.

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