Jimmy Durante vs. Jack Welsh: Miers, Quayle, Jihadists



Jimmy Durante

The fabled comedian Jimmy Durante once said, “I don’t care if you’re laughing with me or at me, as long as you’re laughing. Conversely, Jack Welsh said, “Never be a victim.”

Who’s right?

Let’s review three examples: Harriet Miers, Dan Quayle, and the Jihadists.

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is now the butt of late night jokes.

The Washington Post reports:

“The tipping point in Washington is when you go from being a subject of caricature to the subject of laughter,” said Bruce Fein, …who served in the Reagan administration’s Justice Department…. “She’s in danger of becoming the subject of laughter.”


Quayle’s misspell, misstep

Vice President Dan Quayle, once one of the most promising senators on the GOP bench, was derided for misspelling potato in a classroom photo-op in 1992.

The Trentonian reports from Quayle’s autobiography:

It was a defining moment of the worst kind imaginable. Politicians live and die by the symbolic sound bite.

And finally the Jihadists, whose only real weapon is strapping bombs under the garments of little girls and boys, are now the subject of jokes.

Short video clip: The Bomber and the Cafe

Why is this funny? Because we are winning. Underlying the laugh track is the sure knowledge that the good-guys are winning. Winners do the laughing.

Each of these examples show that laughter is a leading indicator of failure. No matter how good or effective the candidate, the person, or the method.

A reputation, a brand name, a cause, can survive many setbacks, but being a joke’s punch line is the hardest.

Jack Welsh is right: Never be a victim.

Tomorrow’s post will deal with what to do when you make it onto the Letterman show (in the top ten list).


Was this helpful? Do comment.

Thank you footnotes:

Captain Ed says the White House wants a do-over.

Betsy’s Page has analysis on why conservatives are uneasy over Miers.

John Hawkins says no to Miers.

California Conservative is neutral on Miers.

Outside the Beltway has Traffic Jam.

Basil’s Blog is doing dessert backtracks.

The Political Teen Has Tuesday Trackbacks.


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2 Responses

  1. Carol says:

    So true! Once a person becomes the butt of jokes on late night TV, it’s virtually impossible to be taken seriously again.

  2. Jack Yoest says:

    Carol, I think you are right. What examples can you think of where a come-back was made?

    Outside of Sonny Bono.