“WHATEVER the other fellow don’t do, we will.” Thus refreshingly Will Rogers, the bunkless candidate for President, begins his campaign. It is, of course, a dangerous doctrine, but Mr. Rogers does not mean it that way. In announcing himself as the candidate of the Anti-Bunk Party, he says: “Our support will have to come from those who want nothing and have the assurance of getting it.” Within these limits, therefore, he–and the country–is perfectly safe. He can say what he likes, he can thumb his nose at politics, he can make saucy faces at government. There is not the slightest chance of his being elected, and the American people, which is said to be noted for its sense of humor, is willing to let such a man have his little joke and to laugh heartily at it.
The idea of running Will Rogers for President was conceived by Life, the humorous weekly, and in its columns he duly sets forth his views on politics and the other candidates. There are campaign buttons with Rogers’s picture, burlesque political rallies are broadcasted over the radio, and Life is besieged by a large number of persons desirous of voting for Rogers and anxious to find out how to do it. A national committee of fifteen prominent citizens has solemnly agreed to indorse his candidacy. Henry Ford, Harold Lloyd, Nicholas Murray Butler, Roy Howard, Glenn H. Curtis, Judge Ben B. Lindsey, Babe Ruth, William Allen White, Clare Briggs, Grantland Rice, General William Mitchell, Ring Lardner, the Rev. Francis P. Duffy, Charles Dana Gibson, and Tex Rickard make up the committee. Thus it appears that Candidate Rogers has the support of Industry, Sport, Art, Journalism, the Army, the University, the Church, and the Bench. What more could a candidate ask? Radical and conservative, rich and–comparatively–poor, swell and proletarian, man of letters and ignorant financier, all these are not only among his anonymous supporters but his publicly announced committee. The Press and the People, the Catholic Church, the New York 400–surely no candidate was ever championed with such glorious variety from one end of the social scale to the other. And Will Rogers holds their support, he says, by eschewing bunk. “We are going to try and eliminate slogans. Slogans have been more harmful to the country than Boll-Weevil, Luncheon Clubs, Sand Fleas, Detours Conventions, and Golf Pants.” Thus the candidate of the Anti-Bunk Party. “No matter what’s on our platform now,” he says, “on November 6 we will have a bonfire and burn the platform.” However, a few of the planks in the Anti-Bunk platform are as follows:
Whatever Hoover or Smith promises you, we’ll raise ’em at least 20 per cent. (And I can come just as near keeping my promise as they can.)
We absolutely promise to make no effort to get votes by sex appeal. (We are glad to have so much support from the ladies, but if it turns out that it is only sex appeal, then they’ll have to stop printing my picture in the paper.)
Our plank on the liquor question is: “Wine for the rich, beer for the poor, and moonshine for the drys.”
We will not only give the farmer relief, we will cure him of being a farmer.
I also pledge myself that, if elected, I will not have any Official Spokesman.
The last plank ought to be good for a million extra votes anyway. But more encouraging even than his attitude on the Official Spokesman is Mr. Rogers’s animadversions on the farmer. “I am the only candidate,” he declares,
that is running on either side that has ever looked a Mule in the face (or otherwise) down a corn row.
I know what the farmer needs, but I can’t give it to him. But I am going to tell him before election that I can’t give it to him–and not afterwards.
I can tell you in a few words what the farmer needs. He needs a punch in the jaw if he believes that either of the parties cares a dam about him after election!