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These really are crazy days

Almost every town has a Crazy Days promotion about this time of year. Especially in the clothing business, it's a time to clear the shelves before the Back To School selling begins. Actually, Crazy Days is more than a commercial clearance sale, it's a mini community celebration and carnival event where folks can gather in clusters downtown to shop, socialize and see who's stirring around. You don't actually have to make a purchase to have a good time at Crazy Days.

I noticed one of my favorite retailers had a clearance table out on the sidewalk selling political t-shirts. Perfect timing. Was there ever a crazier time than now for politics? I took another step and discovered a second table and immediately realized why. One table was Democratic t-shirts and one was Republican and obviously, even for Crazy Days, Democratic and Republican t-shirts couldn't be set on the same table at the same time.

The Democratic table was on the left. All the t-shirts on that table were going for $3.95. There was a Barack Obama t-shirt showing the president standing there, surrounded on all sides with arrows coming from all points of the compass. He had one arm up over his head to protect himself and he's saying, "Why Can't We Compromise?" Not one t-shirt was sold while I was watching. If they can't sell them this week, when can they?

The pile next to the Obama pile was the Nancy Pelosi pile. Nancy Pelosi of California was once Speaker of the House, but now she's only House Minority Leader. Pelosi is pictured as worn out and discouraged. The caption reads, "I Used To Be Powerful."

Next to the Pelosi pile was a stack of Harry Reid t-shirts. Harry Reid is the Senate Majority Leader from Nevada. As you know, Senator Reid is colorless, so the t-shirt comes in only one color, pale grey. The picture shows Reid's face, absolutely expressionless, and the caption below reads, "Take Me To Our Leader." The shirts on the Democratic table were not selling at all.

On the Republican table, over on the right, there were three more stacks of t-shirts. These shirts were priced at $2.95, because the Republicans insisted on cutting spending.

First was the John Boehner pile. John Boehner, congressman from Ohio, is the Speaker of The House -- the most powerful Republican in the country. The picture of Boehner shows the Speaker staring straight at you, his jaw locked in the "I won't budge" notch.

The caption below reads, "Compromise Is A Dirty Word." This shirt comes in only one color -- tobacco stain brown.

Next to the Boehner shirts are the Mitch McConnell pile. McConnell, from Kentucky, is the Senate Minority Leader -- the most powerful Republican Senator. McConnell, as you know, is a jowly guy, so the t-shirt does not come in small and the instructions on this pile are that the t-shirts are not to be tucked in or the jowls will not show.

The picture of McConnell shows his jowls and owl eyes staring at you through his glasses. The caption under the McConnell picture states his motto: "NOBAMA In 2012."

The third shirt on the Republican table, farthest to the right, next to a table where tea is being sold, is the Michelle Bachmann pile. Representative Bachmann, from Minnesota, is running for president. The picture shows a very attractive brunette poised to vote in the House. The voting keyboard has only one button: "NO." There is no button for voting yes. The caption below reads, "John Wayne Was Born In Iowa And So Was I."

There were no sales from the Republican table either. So the question is this: When my friend John Merchant can't sell t-shirts with politicians' faces on them, what's he going to do with the surplus?

The answer: Send them to the oil companies and millionaires -- they need all the help they can get. Welcome to Crazy Days.