The field of candidates for the 2020 Presidential Challenge Blowout is taking shape just in time for pitchers and catchers — they report for spring training in early February – and what makes this timing so marvelous, so utterly serendipitous, is that it is also beginning to look a lot like a mid-season Sausage Race.
The Sausage Race is a baseball tradition born in Milwaukee where, during the seventh inning stretch of Brewers games, sausage mascots dress up like different sausages and go racing around the park. It’s a fan favorite, because nothing beats watching a ten-foot kielbasa faceplant on the infield, or a tottering chorizo slamming into an andouille, or an out of control bratwurst veering off course and flipping wildly over the dugout rail.
It’s hard not to see the burgeoning field of candidates for the American presidency in much the same way.
To wit: video posted by Mother Jones magazine of Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke wearing a onesie, and what appears to be a pig mask, while covering Blitzkrieg Bop – an otherwise terrific song by The Ramones. To be fair, Beto hasn’t formally announced, perhaps because he was too busy live-streaming from a dental chair while getting his teeth cleaned, but I sincerely hope he runs — if only to see how low the bar is actually set for the most important job in the world.
Not to be outdone, software gazillionaire John McAfee has announced his candidacy, albeit from exile on the high seas. McAfee has not paid taxes, by his own admission, for eight years, and has some trouble with the IRS. As to his platform, McAfee recently told reporters — via satellite phone while bobbing around in a severe nor’wester: “…do not ask me about immigration, foreign relations, education etc. I have no idea.”
At least he’s honest. Other candidates in the field will undoubtedly wax endlessly about their brilliant solutions to these problems, but on the heels of a month-long government shutdown it’s quite clear that no one in American politics has any solutions anymore. For anything.
Instead, it’s every weenie for himself.
What’s most intriguing about McAfee is his doppleganger strategy, which is to run in absentia by hiring thousands of actors to wear McAfee masks and to make random appearances on the campaign trail. This is an idea he borrowed from Asian nations typically run by military juntas, where the practice is merely practical. Alas, McAfee has other issues, including a notorious paranoia, and a larger question remains about the unsolved homicide of his neighbor in Belize, for which he remains the prime suspect.
There’s also Kamala Harris, who flunked the bar before having an affair with San Francisco’s “Downtown” Willie Brown, and then rode those coattails into the Attorney General’s office where she set about destroying California law enforcement. Harris likely has the inside track to the nomination, but only after shoring up her bonafides as a soldier in the Army of Savonarola by strapping Justice Kavanaugh to the Judas Cradle during his confirmation hearings.
One might expect a former prosecutor to understand the requirement for evidence before putting Kavanaugh to the test, but its apparent that large numbers of American voters no longer care about such mundane details as due process.
And, if political genealogy still matters, it’s probably worth noting that Harris’ guru and benefactor, Downtown Willie, once gave a speech where he lauded Jim Jones, of Jonestown fame, as “a combination of Martin King, Angela Davis, Albert Einstein (and) Chairman Mao.”
Uncle Joe Biden might still jump into the race, though at this point the chances of a white septuagenarian serial groper surviving the myriad temptations of the campaign trail seem a bit slim. Also, there is the problematic issue of him recently admitting that he likes Republicans, which isn’t going to sit well with the perpetually furious and congenitally offended DNC.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are interesting sausages, in the same way that Lenin and Trotsky were interesting. Warren will no doubt forever regret her attempt to appropriate a Native lineage, which probably killed her shot at the Oval Office, and its doubtful Bernie will ever overcome his image as a burned-out church deacon pounding the rostrum and wielding a dog-eared copy of Das Kapital like Moses come down the mountain.
One thing I love about the Sausage Race is that my pick never wins. This is also true of presidential elections. Maybe its because I just put my money on the plain old weenie. You know the one, the great tasting dog with a little bit of ketchup, a little bit of mustard, a decent bun, and maybe a dash of relish. Last time around I bet the farm on Jim Webb – me and five other people in America – but its fun to imagine just where we might be if that reliable old dog had actually found the finish line.
Sadly, the plain old hot dog has no chance in modern America. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Which is too bad because it rarely gives anybody heartburn.
While the chorizos and the kielbasas have all the flash and speed, the plain old weenie has neither. He’s just reliably good, and is usually found running a quietly brilliant race, well behind the pack, off camera and off course, right into the wide-open gap in center field.
* You’ve added to my list of Absudities I Know with the Willie Brown – Jim Jones annecdote. Thanks.
* Now re: Ketchup and hot dogs: NO! And I have excellent backup: “The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council recently came out in disapproval of adults using ketchup on hot dogs. In a guide to hot dog etiquette, the organization decreed that for those 18 years of age and older, acceptable wiener toppings include mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili.” There are standards, my friend!
I usually eat my dog with ONLY ketchup. But this is advanced hot dogging. The Council has been corrupted by mustard money.
It’s an issue of ancestry for me, as I’ve been told that my cur of a maternal grandfather put ketchup on everything! Since he was a no good blankety blank, I’ve got a complex about it. It’s my problem, Craig, not yours. 🙂
Well my friend, you have outdone yourself on this one!! I’m still chuckling at all the mental pictures swirling in my head.
If it weren’t all true I’d say you have a shot in the SciFi/fantasy genre. Perhaps Zaphod Beeblebrox will announce from the Restaurant at the Edge of the Universe. I’m still searching for his sunglasses that turn black in the presence of danger. That will help.
You need a syndication!
Ha! Don’t give up on Zaphod. The Starbucks guy is looking like he might jump in, so its clear that anything is possible at this point. Thanks, Jim.
I truly enjoyed this my friend! I am still chuckling mostly because it was funny! A little out of fear for the future.
Good writing, Craig + a nice website. You are too young to remember Herb Caen and his Baghdad By The Bay column in the San Francisco Chronicle for almost seven decades (1930’s to the 1990’s) https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/7-Decades-of-Baghdad-By-the-Bay-Tied-Together-2855480.php ..but politics aside, you would be a fresh voice to the cesspool of political correctness that passes for “news in this once beautiful city.
It is sad that even editorial commentary has become impervious to the dashing waves of truth and journalism is the poorer in the process.
Keep up the good work. RLF <
I remember Herb Caen. I also remember the green sheet. That was a fine tradition for a newspaper…bummer it went the way of the dodo bird. Thanks, Ricks.
PS: Mustard on hot dogs, ketchup on burgers. Mixing the two is verboten or you’re 4 years old. Its like binary explosives or subatomic fusion. These aren’t toys!