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Trail Mix 

The problem with this election is that the candidates aren't funny.

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More Jokes, Please

I haven’t been able to put my finger on why this election season seems more like drudgery than fun. Then I read John Dickerson’s latest from the campaign trail on, and it made sense — these candidates aren’t funny.

“This is a once-in-a-generation political humor crisis,” Dickerson wrote Sunday. “Every campaign since 1968 has had at least one candidate who could make audiences smile. In 2008, Gov. Mike Huckabee and [John] McCain could have qualified for Last Comic Standing.”

Kennedy, Reagan — even Lincoln — led with their wit when necessary. A nice zinger can be endearing, prove a nimble mind and make for a great soundbite. So tune your ear for humor — it could be a difference-maker in 2012.

Pundit Watch

Another thing that’s not funny is the state of our punditry. Whether you’re watching FOX, MSNBC or even CNN, every pundit has some kind of partisan axe to grind. Are there any, you know, normal people offering opinions?

Here’s one: Gregg Easterbrook, a smart guy with many interests — sports, space, globalization. In politics, he even has nice things to say about both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Which is why he’ll never make it on TV.

He does have a great sports column on, “Tuesday Morning Quarterback,” that sprinkles in some politics, including this from Tuesday, about Congress raiding the Social Security Trust Fund: “Does even one current member of Congress care? By giving away the store, they bask in perks and campaign contributions, and will have departed before the crash hits.”

Easterbrook also writes a politics column for Reuters (, so bookmark him if you’re sick of hearing the blather that passes for punditry these days.

Olympian Battle Brewing

It’s easy to forget with all the commotion, but Washington will be electing a governor next fall. The battle is underway, as nobody expects more big-name candidates to jump in besides Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna.

As former state Democratic Party Chair Paul Berendt told the Seattle Times, “The politics of the time has just made [the governorship] really undesirable. There is an ambition deficit going on.”

Still Republicans are keen to take the Governor’s Mansion for the first time in 27 years — and the most recent poll has McKenna ahead, 44 to 38 percent.

There’s a public attention deficit on this race, too. But Trail Mix is on it; we’ll cover local and state races, along with the national stuff, so stay tuned.

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