Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jokers for Public Office

Now that joker Rick Perry is out, lets look at previous comedians who ran for public office. 

Stephen Colbert's satirical campaign for "President of the United States of South Carolina" made headlines Friday, as he appeared with Herman Cain at the "Rock Me Like a Herman Cain South Cain-olina Primary Rally." Colbert, who's not actually on the ballot on South Carolina, is using his pseudo candidacy to shed light on campaign finance reform and the Citizens United ruling. For his part, according to ABC News, Cain recited a few lines from the Pokemon movie.

Election seasons are great for comedians, but the following people did more than make fun of the candidates. They actually campaigned. And some ended up winning.

1. Jón Gnarr

Everything about Icelandic comedian Jón Gnarr's 2010 mayoral campaign was a joke. That is, until he was actually elected mayor of Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik. With the help of his comedian and musician friends, Gnarr had formed the Besti Flokkurin, or Best Party. To join the party, one must have seen all five seasons of The Wire. They promised to halt corruption by participating in it, but transparently. Construction has yet to begin on the airport Disneyland he promised a kindergarten class.


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That reminds me of the ficus that ran for Congress when Frelinghuysen ran unopposed. 

Claiming that the American people "deserve better," a potted plant, commonly known as "Ficus," is running for the Congressional seat in New Jersey's 11th District as a write-in candidate on both the Democrat and Republican Party ballots. [includes rush transcript]

AMY GOODMANWe thought we'd end this segment with another story from there. Saying he wants to counter what he calls congressmen-for-life, guerilla filmmaker Michael Moore ran Ficus plants in congressional races around the country yesterday. He says most congressmen run unopposed in their primaries, and 95% are re-elected every time in the general election. Well, the Ficus for Congress campaign began with a Ficus in New Jersey, which is taking on Congressmember Rodney Frelinghuysen. And as Democracy Now! producer Jeremy Scahill reports, these campaigns could represent a new branch of government.


    Within twenty-four hours of the New Jersey Ficus plant's announcement, Ficus for Congress campaigns began sprouting up throughout the country. There are now more than twenty Ficus plants challenging incumbent congress members from Illinois to Wyoming to Texas. The Ficus top campaign strategist is guerilla filmmaker Michael Moore.


    It's amazing to see this kind of Ficus fever sweeping the nation, and I predict that this will help boost the turnout at the election in the fall, an election that otherwise was going to be attended by the smallest number of Americans ever in our history. So hopefully the plant will do some good in bringing some people out, who — you know, unfortunately we don't have "none of the above" on our ballots in this country, so the plant is a good way to vote "none of the above," or as we like to say it's sort of a "Fic you" vote.

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