One of the things politicians worry about most is reelection. I’m an exception to that rule in that I worry about far more basic things, like whether my clothes match, or whether I even remembered to wear clothes. However, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I should be doing. So I spoke to some of my colleagues.

I asked if it’s true that incumbents usually have a fairly easy time getting reelected. “For the most part, that’s true,” they said. “But there are a number of things you can do to screw it up.” They then suggested I go speak to the source of the greatest wisdom in Harrisburg: “The Olde Grizzled Politician.” So I did.

The Olde Grizzled Politician sits in a small, dark room in the basement of the capitol. No one remembers when he was first elected, or even what district he represents. All they know is that he insists on being paid by direct deposit. He has a long gray beard, and wears only a loincloth, which is both mysterious and nauseating at the same time. He is surrounded by the hoarded food of a thousand fundraising receptions. I approached him reverently:

Oh great oracle of wisdom. Please accept my humble…

Olde Grizzled Politician
Care for a cheese cube?

Uh…no, no thank you.

Olde Grizzled Politician
How about a chilled shrimp?

I’m fine.

Olde Grizzled Politician
Stuffed Mushroom?


Olde Grizzled Politician
Suit yourself.

Actually, I just wanted some wisdom on how I avoid
being defeated when I run for reelection.

Olde Grizzled Politician
Oh! Why didn’t you say so. Sit down, I have a little song
for you.

At this point, the Olde Grizzled Politician picked up a banjo, but realizing that he didn’t know how to play, put it down. He then sang an a capella version of the following song:

To the tune of “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon

The problem is common and it’s making you lose sleep
You want your pension and to keep your state-leased Jeep
I want to help you avoid trouble by the heap
There must be 50 ways to lose elections

Start wearing a dress, Les
Forget to file, Kyle
Run as a Green, Gene
Now listen to me.

Announce you’re a pagan, Megan
Ya know you’ll be beggin!
Vote the wrong day, Jay
It just wasn’t to be.

I know the voting both is a dangerous device
Being rejected by the people, well that isn’t very nice
So I’ll grab a Swedish Meatball and I’ll give you some advice,
There must be 50 ways to lose elections.

Ya get caught with a boy, Roy
Hit the Peyote, Cody
Call your self Saddam, Saddam
You’re tasting defeat.

Campaign in the nude, Jude
You’re gonna get killed dude!
Get thrown in the Pokey, Cokey
You’re gonna get beat.

Well, that was very helpful. Thank you for…

Olde Grizzled Politician
Hold on kid. I got more.

Dye your hair blue, Abu
Join Al-Qiada, Ida
Vote for Peace, Cochees
You ain’t gonna boast

Start raising the tax, Max
You might as well not Acks!
Harpoon a seal, Neil
You’re gonna be toast.

At this point I left the wise old man. He continued to sing long after I had left his room and started walking back to my office. As I heard his voice fade away,

Piss off the gun lobby, Hammurabi…

his words continued to haunt me. So did his loincloth. I now know what I have to do.

Tomorrow: What I have to do.