The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 6, 2012

As campaigns wind down, candidates fight fang and claw

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — As you no doubt are all too well aware by now, we are in the waning days of election season.

Four weeks from Tues-day, we will go to the polls to cast our votes for candidates seeking a variety of offices, but most notably that of president of the United States.

For political geeks, this election cycle is concluding far too soon. But for the rest of us, the drone of rhetoric being spouted by candidates of all stripes drones in our ears like the whine of a dentist’s drill (minus the smell of superheated tooth enamel, of course).

There are commercials, campaign rallies, television interviews and debates. Wednesday night’s initial presidential debate even invoked the name of Big Bird, for crying out loud.

Candidates often are long on promises and short on specifics. They will tell you what they intend to do should they be elected, but not how they plan to do it.

After a while, the volume of words devoted to the campaign become overwhelming, and trying to extract substance from all the speech making is like trying to discern the buzzing of a single bee among a swarm of thousands.

I have chosen my favorite candidates, and my decision was not based on anything they said.

My pick for president is ... Leaf Anderson.

Anderson has no party affiliation, and his platform is a simple one. He has one campaign promise, “No dog left behind.”

Leaf, you see, is a black cocker spaniel who sports blue suspenders and a red tie. He hails from Minne-sota and bills himself as the first cocker spaniel to run for president of the United States.

His campaign booklet, posted online at thisdogfor president.com, is a little light on details, containing primarily various photographs of the candidate looking cute, cuter and cutest, though one photo does show Leaf shaking hands with a potential voter.

That seems to indicate that Leaf is trying to get elected strictly on his looks, but Lord knows he wouldn’t be the first national candidate to do so.

He supports universal access to water, a point illustrated by photos of the candidate drinking from a kiddie pool. His primary platform plank supports adoption of shelter pets.

Leaf pledges not to be swayed by lobbyists, though he admits he could be temp-ted by a passing stranger carrying treats, or a scampering squirrel or rabbit.

Leaf’s primary strength as a candidate is, according to his campaign website, that “He can lick any problem.”

Leaf’s bold choice of a vice presidential running mate figures to expand his appeal across a broad range of voter dynamics — Cuddles the female black-and-white cat.

The addition of Cuddles to the ticket could prove a wise move, depending on the outcome of a U.S. Senate race in Virginia.

Hank, a 9-year-old Maine coon cat, is running against former governors George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D) for Virginia’s open Senate seat.

Hank’s campaign slogan? “A better Virginia ... a brighter future.”

Hank is being billed as a Washington outsider who has clawed his way up the ladder, after being born to a single mother and raised on the streets.

The campaign has gotten ugly, however, as a political action committee called “Canines for a Feline-Free Tomorrow” has run attack ads demanding Hank release his birth certificate and accusing him of using catnip and inhaling.

Hank faces an uphill battle, however, since current rules forbid animals from serving in Congress (though voters have certainly sent some real dogs to Wash-ington over the years).

Perhaps Hank should set his sights a little higher, like the White House, or lower, like becoming mayor of his hometown.

That worked for Lucy Lou, a border collie who has served as mayor of Rabbit Hatch, Ky., since 2008. Lucy Lou beat out Toby, a springer spaniel, and Travis, a cat, for the office.

Not to be outdone, Stubbs, a buff-colored tabby cat, has been mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for the past 15 years.

It seems the trend of non-human candidates is catching on overseas. Tuxedo Stan, a black and white cat, is running for mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, his platform promoting spaying and neutering cats.

Stan received more than 55 percent of the votes on a recent CBC News online poll.

 The phenomenon has even reached Russia. Bublik, a three-month-old Siamese kitten, is running for a seat in the Sverdlovsk Oblast regional legislative assembly.

Bublik is firmly anti-neutering, which gives new meaning to his campaign slogan, “For a Fun Future.”

Bublik, whose name translates roughly to “bagel,” even has a press secretary, who is confident in his boss’ ability to win the election.

Ivan Kolotovin is confident of Bublik’s chances because he is the only candidate making no promises.

Makes sense to me. The way I look at it, if we are going to endure a political season in which the candidates spend all their time fighting like cats and dogs, they might as well be real cats and dogs.



Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.