Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Politicians Share Blame for Lowering of Standards of Taste

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Politicians Share Blame for Lowering of Standards of Taste

Article excerpt

A BUNCH OF COMEDIANS, journalists and political types got together this week to talk about what some think is the sorry state of political humor these days.

It was a scream!

Well, that's an exaggeration. After all, the setting was a panel discussion at the National Press Club, not the Improv. And the moderator was Morley Safer of "60 Minutes." But there were some good lines: Comic Bill Maher on Bob Dole: "Do you want to know how old Bob Dole is? When he won California, he declared it for Spain." Dole, he added, "is against abortion except in cases of rape, incest and the survival of the candidate." Some of the best gags were delivered by Roger Stone, a Republican political consultant: On Dan Quayle, his former employer: "He thought Roe vs. Wade were two different ways to get across the river." And about Pat Buchanan: "He says there's no room in my campaign for racists or anti-Semites. Of course not - those positions were filled months ago!" Then there was "the adultery thing," as one panelist put it. Many hands have been wrung in Washington about radio shock jock Don Imus, whose remarks at a dinner attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton included references to the president's alleged infidelities. The panelists differed along party lines as to whether Imus had been funny. Tony Blankley, the press secretary for House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said many of the complainers who publicly clucked about Imus' lack of taste regularly laugh at his radio show in the privacy of their cars. Stone mentioned that he had met the president recently and "really liked him - until he tried to pick up my wife." Along with Clinton's love of food, Whitewater still seems to be grist for the gagsters' mill - Stone said it has spawned a revived market for a Nixon-era bumper sticker: "Jail to the Chief." The quips about Clinton went over less well among the audience than did the jokes about Quayle or Buchanan, which may be evidence that one's sense of political humor has a lot to do with one's political leanings. …

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