It’s Tuesday again. No primary today, so I guess we have officially moved on to the next phase of our political process … though this year? Anything goes. In honor of it being a Tuesday, I’m rerunning one of my favorite — and still relevant — political posts by my own sagacious news guy, Garry Armstrong.
I have a laminated poster hanging on my bathroom wall. It’s about 35 years old and triggers sense memories every day.
In the beginning, Vermin Supreme was a satirical figure. He campaigned in Boston municipal elections, a “photo-op” for those of us covering City Hall and School Committee campaigns — a pleasant break from the usual sound bites.
Vermin offered a contrast to the old “machine” pols whose blood lines dated back to legends like James Michael Curley and Joseph Kennedy. He was the flagrant rebel to the “Last Hurrah” guys. The poster displaying a wrist squeezing dollar bills around an American Flag underscored the well-documented corruption that included candidates who were indicted or serving jail time for myriad felonies. The denial caption resonated with familiar sound bites from interviews with many candidates through the years.
I included footage of Vermin Supreme with background music — an only slightly muted version of “Send In The Clowns” — for one of my reports. Viewers loved it. The candidates were less enthusiastic. Back then, reporters were still allowed to swing for the fences without repudiation.
Vermin Supreme was a cult hero.
Almost 40 years later, Vermin Supreme has grown from cult figure into a Presidential Candidate who finished fourth in the recent New Hampshire Democratic Primary. Mr. Supreme even garnered more votes than GOP candidate, Jim Gilmore.
In an interview with CBS News Reporter, Rebecca Kaplan, Vermin Supreme outlined his platform that includes:
- Mandatory tooth brushing to prevent gingivitis “which has been eroding the gum line of this great nation”.
From CBS News: “Supreme got 256 votes Tuesday evening, finishing just behind former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who attracted 619 votes despite dropping out of the race after the Iowa caucuses. Gilmore, the former Virginia governor and last-place finisher on the Republican side, received just 131 votes.”
“In the interview, Supreme said that Republicans Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum dropped out because they “knew they could not get more votes than Vermin Supreme in New Hampshire.”
The anger that fuels some candidacies may give us at least four years of regret once the cheers stop and it’s time to walk that walk.
In a private conversation, Vermin Supreme once told me he is trying to hold a mirror up the public and make them see the foibles of our elected officials.
I doubt if many people understand what the political joker is trying to tell us. The punch line is not really funny. Not these days.