In 2000, the University of Tennessee/Knoxville published a collection of stories (some actually is real), called Tennessee Political Humor.
Ivy served in the Tennessee General Assembly, was Gov. Ned Ray McWherter’s agriculture commissioner, and was an author and humorist.
Barrister, state senator, and Methodist minister Roy Herron is a recognized author and speaker.
Before his death at age 91, Ivy and Herron published 132 pages of political stories from the Volunteer State that are timeless, but some of which will educate and entertain Tennesseans and invaders from the North, California and beyond in 2023.
Here are some examples of political humor included in the paperback, designed to entertain and humor readers:
1. Selling the Republican Puppies: In 1986, Ivy and Herron were both running for the Tennessee legislature. A Republican opponent told the following story at the Citizens Club:
I went out to campaign and came to a house with a sign that said, “Democracy puppies for sale.” So, I decided not to waste my time looking for votes there.
A few days later, I was at the same house, where the sign had been changed: “Republican Puppies For Sale.”
This time I was interested in the change, and more hopeful of finding a vote, so I stopped. I knocked on the door and a man came.
“I’m sorry, sir,” I said, “I noticed you changed the sign from ‘Democrat puppies for sale’ to ‘Republican puppies for sale.’ Do you have any new puppies?”
“Oh, no,” replied the gentleman. “They’re the same puppy. But now they’ve opened their eyes.
2. McWHERTER’s Smooth as Butter
When Speaker McWatt ran for governor, an old friend said with admiration: “Ned is a smooth politician. I mean, he knows how to butter both sides of the bread and never let it Falling from either side…he can put the dog on the cat and make the cat think he’s his friend.”
3. Senator Baker’s Landing
It was a rough night for flying, or at least for landing. Sen. Howard Baker, his press secretary Ron McMahan and some members of the media flew to a small airport in Tennessee on a small plane. When the pilot attempted to land, the clouds were low and visibility was poor.
At the last moment, the pilot aborted the landing, pulled the nose back to its original position, and went around again. His voice came over the intercom, explaining that he thought they’d better try another landing.
This got everyone’s attention. They stared at the clouds in the darkness, seeing nothing resembling Earth.
The pilots brought the plane back where they could feel it slowing down and descending again. But the pilot pulled the controls back again, pushed the throttle forward, and pulled the plane out of the descent, not knowing what to expect.
The pilot switched on the intercom again, apologized and said they would have to try again. Baker’s press secretary yelled at the pilot: “Land this __________ thing! Not enough Jack Daniels to miss it again!”
The stories told in the paperback are from another era, a time when political humor was a standard tool, without the vicious attacks on opponents that cable TV and talk show commentators do today.
* * *
You can contact Jerry Summers at email@example.com