Political expert fields some questions

With the 2008 presidential election less than a week away, I am proud to announce that political expert Ian Cumbent is joining us for this column. He will be answering your election and political questions.

Cumbent is the author of several informative, award-winning political books, including ?Just Say ?No? to Interns,? and ?Only You can Prevent Immodest Liars.?

Cumbent will be answering all of your questions in the popular ?Q & A? format.

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Q. At what point do yard campaign signs become inappropriate?

A. When promoting a particular candidate for any sort of election by placing flimsy signs in your front yard, always be aware that quantity does no ensure quality. One sign is OK, two signs is borderline tacky. Once you begin lobbying for three or more candidates, it begins to look less like you are politically aware, and more like you have been pranked.

Q. What is a bandwagon and can I get one at a used-car lot?

A. A bandwagon is not a physical object. It is a term used to describe when a voter will vote for a favorable candidate?not the candidate they necessarily feel is more qualified?just so that he or she will be on the ?winning side? at the end.

Q. What, exactly, is the Electoral College, and what does it do?

A. The Electoral College consists of 538 elected representatives that the government keeps stored away?submerged in mothballs?in a dark hallway closet on the third floor of the U.S. Capitol. Every four years, the members are unpacked so that they can select the next president of the United States.

This year, the government is scheduled to pull the Electoral College members out of storage and send them to the dry cleaners on the first of December before they will make their presidential selection on Dec. 15.

They will then be repackaged and stored for the 2012 election.

Q. Why are there 538 of them?

A. There are 538 members of the Electoral College because each state has a certain number of representatives based upon that state?s population. For example, California has 55 representatives, while Rhode Island actually has negative one.

Q. No, what we meant was, why have 538 of them when one would be much easier to store?

A. Congress tried this in 1968. Ernie MacDoogle was the only member of the Electoral College, and ended up picking Richard Milhous Nixon.

The following election, Congress went back to using 538 members.

Q. How can the next president best cut unnecessary governmental spending?

A. Right now, it seems that the government is putting a lot of funding into organizations that spend way too much time trying to be cute. Case in point, the November 2008 issue of Popular Mechanics reported on a NASA project that is creating a robotic vehicle robotic or human missions on the moon.

This concept by itself isn?t bad. The thing that is really troublesome is that NASA probably paid a group of highly trained professionals a lot of money just so that this machine could have the attractive acronym name of ATHLETE?All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer.

Had NASA just named the dumb thing ?That One Thing That Explores Lunar Spaces? (TOTTELS) the government could have saved a lot of money.

A. Yes.

Q. Are you aware that the ?Q? and ?A? just got mixed up?

Q. When can I believe the campaign commercials on TV, and when should I automatically switch over to the Food Network so I can watch Guy Fieri eat another greasy hamburger?

A. Never believe campaign commercials. Always switch over to the Food Network.

Q. What, exactly, are the requirements to be eligible for the presidency?

A. The candidate must be at least 35 years old. He must be a natural-born U.S. citizen. He must have been a permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 14 years. He must own at least one oil rig, or be worth the same amount. It is also favorable if the candidate has had some sort of prior government experience, has some sort of Southern drawl and uses his middle initial as if he is proud of it.

Q. I plan to forget about voting on Election Day. Can I vote early?

A. Yes. You may submit an absentee ballot either by mail, the Internet or have someone vote in your place, formally known as a proxy vote.

A rarer form of absentee ballot is to go to Chuck E. Cheese, place sticky notes with the candidates? names on the heads of the moles in the Whack-a-Mole game, and repeatedly smack your favored candidate You can use the tickets you earn from that game to go the prize counter and place your vote.

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UFO: Just before having surgery on his gunshot wound from an assassination attempt, Ronald Reagan made the doctors assure him that they were all good Republicans.

Don?t ask why.

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