Paulsen's Running - But Where Is He?

The dour comic's campaign slogan is 'Pat Who? in '92'... a letter from New Hampshire

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

OK, Pat Paulsen, so you're running again for president in New Hampshire. Where were you two weeks ago when I was there? I looked for you everywhere. Believe me, the state needs you and your deadpan, beagle face telling voters wondrous things like, "The No. 1 cause of forest fires is trees."

The economic gloom is so thick in New Hampshire you could cut it, stack it, and sell it for firewood.

The good people of the state need some laughter ringing in towns like Manchester, Concord, Portsmouth, and Nashua where faces and hearts are heavy with unemployment and too many bankruptcies. They need jobs, yes, but they need the calisthenics of laughter and hope, too. In fact, a whole nation in recession needs the exercise.

Recommended: Which company used the slogan 'Where's the beef?' Take our 'business slogan' quiz.

You ran as a Republican here in 1988; now you're a Democrat. Your campaign slogan is "Pat Who? in '92." You said, ll be a decisive president, probably."

And way back in 1968, when you first ran for president here, you said, "I might as well run for president. I can't dance."

In 1972 your slogan was "Paulsen for President: He's Got to Sleep Somewhere." In that primary, you actually got 3 percent of the vote. "I would have done better," you said, "if it hadn't been for the issues."

Quick, Pat. Leave Los Angeles or wherever you are and hop the next plane to Portsmouth. Dan Quayle has; even Harold Stassen was here. (Rumor has it that you started to go to Iowa for the caucuses, but got mixed up and went to Idaho).

You once told a reporter, "Having a comic in the White House will assure stability in foreign relations. The world will continue to respond to foreign initiatives by saying, 'You must be joking.

You said the first thing you would do as president would be to attack Canada because "they've never paid us for all the chemicals we've been sending them." You said, "I campaigned two weeks there not realizing they couldn't vote."

And vision? You hit the nail on the head when you explained, "Due to misunderstanding the future, we are bound to make many more mistakes. Therefore, when I'm president I will lead the country into the past. By working backwards I feel we are bound to make fewer mistakes because we have already made them."

All those letters I mailed to you apparently never arrived. You were as outraged as I was. "The federal government spends millions to run the Postal Service. I could lose your mail for half of that," you said.

Remember Adlai Stevenson, the Democrat who ran for president in 1952? After he lost, he opened his door to reporters the morning after and said, "Come in and have some fried post-mortems on toast."

If Stevenson could utter a memorable line in losing, and Warren Harding could say, "Oftentimes I don't seem to grasp that I am president," you, too, will find just the right immortal words when you lose, er, win.

And the solution for racism you offered several years ago still might work if the Indians will agree: You said, "I would send all the blacks back to Africa and all the whites back to Europe; then start over and make the place into a state park; give it back to the Indians and hope they have a liberal immigration quota."

As for the environment, your analysis has a few holes, but plenty of depth: "We've got to step up our conservation efforts before it's too late. We're not protecting our lands and natural resources. Take the Grand Canyon for example; I'm sure that at one time it was a beautiful piece of land, and just look at the way we've let it go."

Pat, where are you now that the nation needs you?

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