Jan 022008
 
Authors: Sean Reed

Every candidate has a gimmick, some are just better than others.

Ron Paul has the abolition of the IRS. McCain, his military service record. Obama has that whole “hope” thing going on.

However, two of the major contenders in Iowa, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Collegian road crew discovered, have something a bit more interesting – mascots.

On Tuesday, Hillary’s mascot, her husband Bill, made a stop at an RV Park in Amana, and the crew knew we needed to make an appearance.

Slick Willy started his speech about a half an hour behind schedule, but it was definitely worth the wait.

He began the event by informing those gathered of the great importance of the Iowa caucuses.

“On caucus night the whole future of the world is on your shoulders,” Clinton said.

The reason, he said, this election is more important than those of the recent past is simple – the Bush administration’s blunders have left the American way of life in peril. Clinton slammed the Bush tax cuts and policy in Iraq as causing the downfall of America’s image worldwide.

The only way to combat this, he said, would be to elect his wife, Hillary, to the nation’s highest office. But he didn’t just want voters to take his word for it, he had proof.

Hillary, it seems, had a hand in nearly every big decision of his political career, from his governorship in Arkansas to his stint in the White House. In a similar manner to way in which she attempted to reform health care during his presidency, albeit more successfully, Hillary aided her husband in taking the educational system in Arkansas from the absolute worst in the nation to one of the most improved. And what’s more, she came up with the plan all on her own.

It is Hillary’s commitment to finding practical decisions to difficult issues like health care and Iraq, he said, that make her the best candidate for the job.

Judging by the warm reception of the crowd, Bill was definitely an effective cheerleader for his wife, but it’s hard to know if his effectiveness stemmed from his words or from his celebrety. I suspect the latter.

The draw of Hillary’s star power, though, was no match for that of Republican candidate Mike Huckabee’s celebrity supporter, the world famous actor, martial arts expert, home fitness expert, and butt of endless college jokes, Mr. Chuck Norris.

A “Huck and Chuck” event was held at the Val Air Ballroom in Des Moines – and the house was packed. Whether the folks gathered were there for “Huck,” or just to see somebody get roundhouse-kicked to the face, though, was not clear.

The Collegian arrived late to the event after hauling balls from the Clinton event in Amana, but we were there just in time to see the man Huckabee called “a great American and a wonderful conservative leader.”

However if Chuck Norris is, indeed, a “wonderful conservative leader,” than the Republican Party is in trouble.

I love the man, but his speech was a train wreck. He rambled, he complained, but never once did he actually explain why he liked Huckabee, let alone why anybody else should.

When he got to the Huckster’s crowning glory, his “fair tax” plan involving the abolition of the IRS in favor of a higher national sales tax, it was painfully clear to me that the good Chuck had no idea what we was talking about.

He mentioned the fact that he didn’t mind paying taxes, but that many other businesspeople do and go to great lengths to make ensure that they don’t have to. For this reason, he said, people like him work hard to find loopholes to get out of paying taxes, too. After all, who wants to play by the rules when others don’t?

For this reason, he said, there should be no income tax, but instead a national sales tax should be implemented, so when “[when] you buy a yacht, you buy a plane … you pay taxes on it.”

Confused? So was I.

Of course, Huckabee isn’t relying on Norris for his amazing oratorical skills, he just needs somebody to get bodies in the door. And, although Hillary knows Bill can string two sentences together, she’s using her husband in the same way.

It’s a cheap ploy, but, based on what we saw today, it seems to be working.

It’s just a shame people can’t get this excited for the presidential race for a good reason like, I don’t know, actually talking about the issues. But I guess that’s just not how America works.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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