Laughter, the best politics?

I’ve always believed that a good sense of humor is not only important in a president, but critical to a successful president. In fact, I think that humor played a major role in every presidential election since 1980, with the possible exception of 2000.

I’ve written about this before, in reference to the 2004 campaign. Humor in a leader humanizes them, makes them more likable, easier for the rest of us to identify with them.

Recently, I’ve noticed a decided dearth of humor among the Democrats running for president. There’s a seriousness that borders on downright grimness among them.

On the Republicans, though, at least a couple of the candidates have decided to at least have some fun. Earlier this week, I wrote about John McCain cutting loose a little on the campaign trail. And yesterday, I heard about another lower-tier candidate having some fun.

One of the big news magazines — I think it was Time, but it might have been Newsweek — sent a list of questions to the candidates. They were the standard types of questions you might ask someone during a survey or a job application. But one candidate pulled a straight-man act worthy of Leslie Nielsen.

First, they asked “what is your dream job?” Teacher was high on the list of responses, while apparently John Edwards said “factory supervisor” or some such thing. But Tom Tancredo’s response? “President of the United States of America.” You know, the job he’s currently running for.

Another question was the classic “if you were stranded on a desert island, what one thing would you take with you?” There was a host of stock answers — the Bible, my wife, etc. etc.

And then there was Tancredo: “A boat.”

I think that might violate the “stranded” part of the question, but it’s a damned good answer nonetheless.

Yeah, I recognize that this is a pretty shallow reason to vote for a candidate, and it would never be my sole factor in casting my ballot. But it’s a good insight into the character and personality of the person, and as such should be considered.

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