Political Laughs Left and Right

It's election season again, and it's bruising when there aren't broken bones; funny bones, that is. If you need a respite from the very serious business of vanquishing your political rivals, may I suggest a few titles?

Andrew Shaffer's Hope Never Dies is a bromance and a mystery starring Joe Biden and his good buddy Barack Obama. Amtrak Joe's favorite conductor has died under mysterious circumstances and, tired of grouting the bathroom and throwing darts at a photo of Bradley Cooper, he decides to investigate. Obama and the Secret Service invite themselves along, and soon Biden is battling biker gangs, the Wilmington PD and his own bum knee to bring justice to Delaware. Shaffer has done his research, and the result is a hilarious romp, told just as you might expect from the former vice president. This is apparently the first in a promised series, and I look forward to the next installment.

Jill Twiss and Gerald Kelley take aim at homophobia and bland children's books with A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. Young rabbit Marlon lives with his "grampa" Mike Pence and is pretty miserable until he meets cute bunny Wesley. They spend a magical day together, at the end of which, they decide to get married. Stink Bug (sporting a familiar white-haired coiffure) says that boy bunnies can't marry boy bunnies, and the issue is put to a vote among the animals. Needless to say, Stink Bug loses, and is voted "not in charge." Not really for children (though they may get a kick out of the droll illustrations), this is especially aimed at fans of Last Week Tonight  and the LGBTQ community and allies.

More direct and sharp is Alec Baldwin's You Can't Spell America Without ME. Basically an extended riff on Baldwin's SNL appearances as Donald Trump, this lavishly (how else?) illustrated book parodies Trump's books, speeches, tweets, and general manner of communicating. If you don't agree with Baldwin politically, this book is not for you, but for those weary of Trumpworld, there is much to laugh at. 

But why should progressives have all the fun? Christopher Buckley is one of the sharpest political observers on either the Right or the Left, and he's written some funny stuff. In They Eat Puppies, Don't They?, he skewers both political thrillers and the machinations of high government officials while sounding a warning note about China. Managing to keep things flowing whether the discussion is state-sponsored assassination or Chris Matthews, hypocrisy and pretension are doomed when Buckley gets them in his cross hairs.

Laura Ingraham tries her hand at humor in fiction form with Obama Diaries. Organized as the inner thoughts of both Obamas, Harry Reid, Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel during the first year of the past administration, the book takes a decidedly satirical view of such topics as Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign and Biden's racial gaffes. Sardonic in tone, Ingraham suggests Obama may not have been quite the Second Coming some of his supporters believed he was.

And, finally, a public service announcement: Vote. Election Day for state and national elections is Tuesday, November 6. You can register to vote online by October 21 and look up your polling place online. You can also find information on registering in person during the grace period, which goes until the Monday before Election Day.