It’s all over but the general election, the pundits say. For the Democrats, there is no challenger to the incumbent, and through a long, arduous and sometimes bitter process Republicans have chosen the guy they always do; the one whose “turn” it is. We could have been spared a lot of talk of moon colonies, womb veils and hope among owners of long-idled pessary factories.
Pessaries ‘r Us
But knowledgeable observers know otherwise–that’s what being knowledgeable is for. There is one American subculture that reliably produces a dark-horse candidate for the Presidency every four years, like clockwork, the Olympics and leap years. That’s right, the Rhythm & Blues Party.
Every since alto sax man Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson re-worked the Big Bill Broonzy hit “Just a Dream” with a verse that imagined him sitting in the President’s chair, the R&B Party has produced men of the hour who give hope to Americans disillusioned by partisan politics who just want to lay down a loose groove of funky stuff. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard, so print out this handy Election 2012 Guide, study it carefully and bring it to your neighborhood polling place this November.
Percy Mayfield: Out of contention, at least for this fall’s election, is Percy Mayfield, who sang “I Don’t Want to Be President.” Mayfield cited the very public nature of the job–his wife might find out about his girlfriend–and the ever-present risk of assassination: the need, for example, “to have someone taste my cognac before I could take a drink.”
Mayfield’s heir and successor, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, a/k/a “The Gangster of Love,” similarly withdrew from the race, perhaps fearing exposure of his gangster ways, even though he was a decorated veteran, cited for his “funk beyond the call of duty.”
Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson: Father of R&B Candidates
James Brown: Brown dipped his toe into presidential politics with “Funky President,” a cryptically coded thank you note to Gerald Ford, the man who pardoned Brown’s close friend Richard Nixon.
“Where can I buy one of those brand new bags you mentioned–Pat would like one.”
Sadly, Brown is legally disqualified from running because he is dead, but so what? That never stopped Calvin Coolidge.
Taylor: “Foreign policy experience? Dig this Nehru jacket!”
Johnnie Taylor: Not to be confused with “Little Johnny Taylor,” regular-sized Johnnie Taylor supports public policy initiatives that preserve the nuclear family through hits such as “It’s Cheaper to Keep Her,” a diatribe against divorce, and “I Been Born Again,” a testimony to monagamy that echoes a theme popular with evangelicals.
Sadly, Taylor has also withdrawn his name from contention with the song “I Could Never be President,” echoing Mayfield’s concerns. It is a troubling commentary on our politics that good men with bodacious, honking Afros such as Taylor are discouraged from entering public life.
That leaves Louis Jordan, who declared his 1952 candidacy in “Jordan for President,” promising an administration that will “move you, groove you and keep you fit,” instead of Harold Stassen, “a hipster who takes no sassin.’”
Harold Stassen: Rhythm Assassin
As French R&B fan Alexis de Tocqueville once said, “America is great because she is funky. If she ceases to be funky, she will cease to be great. Now everybody get up offa that thang.”