So whenever Herman Cain finds himself in hot water, he often resorts to this retort:
"I was just joking."
Whether it was the electrified fence or appointing Henry Kissinger as his Secretary of State (Kissinger, of course, is 88), when pressed on his idiocies, Cain falls back on the "Hey, fellas, it's a joke."
Not only is it insulting to us, it is revealing about Cain as Candidate, an unserious, often less than thoughtful, provocateur. A man not really interested in being President as much as getting our attention.
Like John McCain. And the majority of Congress. Who, last summer, seemed super serious about the debt Super Committee. The Super Committee sprung from the Debt Ceiling fiasco, where neither side ultimately would compromise. Instead, they punted the ball, giving the bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives a few months to come up with a proposal to deal with the growing national debt seriously.
So much so that they put in a pretty severe trigger if the Super Committee couldn't reach an agreement by next Wednesday: huge cuts in Defense and entitlements.
These cuts are so drastic that the Super Committee would have to take its responsibilities seriously. If they didn't have a plan by the deadline, the cuts automatically become the plan, and defense spending and entitlements would be cut by hundreds of billions of dollars.
In other words, get the job done or else.
And now, less than a week out from the deadline?
Just kiddin'. We weren't really serious.
John Cain, er, McCain, proudly admitted it at a press conference, telling us that the trigger wasn't written in stone, that Congress could do whatever it pleased.
His comment? "If there is a failure on the part of the supercommittee, we will be amongst the first on the floor to nullify that provision. Congress is not bound by this. It is something we passed. We can reverse it."
In other words, last summer, they were just joking.
But last summer, wasn't the joke on us? Didn't our credit rating get downgraded?
And if nothing happens here? Again, the joke's on us: Credit agencies are threatening to downgrade America's rating again.
And the comedians in Congress? C'mon, America, can't you take a joke?
Not when we're always the butt of them.
• Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.