Republican presidential candidates’ debates have reached new lows, the office of President of the United States has been tarnished, buffoonery has ruled and few hard facts have emerged.

I join other Americans in bewilderment that some of the statements have been extremely poorly chosen, slipping from classification of absurdity to vulgarity. Propriety is going down faster than a ball of kite string on the Matterhorn.

About all I’ve gained from the verbal slugfests is recollection of a joke from the musty corner of my memory bank.

I don’t give Donald Trump credit for much beyond his business acumen, and was jolted by a recent jab at Marco Rubio. He declared the people of Florida “wouldn’t elect him dogcatcher.”

It brought to mind the account of a fiery newspaper editor decades ago who ran an editorial critical of a U.S. Senatorial candidate. “The man isn’t qualified to be dogcatcher,” he wrote. Taking considerable umbrage to the piece, the senatorial aspirant threatened a lawsuit if the editor didn’t write an immediate editorial of apology. (This was way back when threats of lawsuits usually made it to the courts.)

Thinking things over and eager to avoid litigation, the editor complied in the following week’s edition. It was a much shorter piece. The gist of it was his admission to have erred in the previous editorial. “The candidate is absolutely qualified to be dogcatcher, and for having said last week that he wasn’t, I sincerely apologize.” Then he added, “But he isn’t running for dogcatcher; he’s running for the U.S. Senate.”

Uncle Mort, soon to be 104, is afraid lots of his friends in the thicket may sit this election out.

“I guess I’ll vote,” he said. “But too many Americans want the government to provide cradle-to-grave assistance, starting immediately.”

I don’t think he’ll do it, but he said he’s so disenchanted with the warring political climate, out-of-control government debt, and general discord prevailing, he’s thinking of moving to Canada. “Maud and I might pack things up and relocate soon,” he said, “before they build a wall to keep us out.”

He’s never spent a day in the hospital yet, but says if the lines for surgical procedures are as long as he hears they are north of the border, he’ll return to the States if he needs surgery.

My uncle has a favorite story of an old boy running for sheriff in the thicket during the Depression. “He was beyond lazy, couldn’t hold a job and didn’t even take care of his family,” Mort remembers. “However, he may have been the most optimistic man I’ve ever known.”

Mort told about how the ne’er-do-well visited every home in the community. He had a Big Chief tablet, carefully entering notes about the mood of voters visited.

At one house, the woman ordered him to leave. “Don’t even think of coming in my house,” she fumed. “You are as sorry a man as I’ve ever seen. They ought to hang you on the courthouse lawn. I wouldn’t vote for you under any circumstances for any political office. Now, get off my porch before I set my dogs on you.” He thanked her for her time, paused to open his Big Chief tablet at her front gate and wrote down: “Doubtful.”

The fellow they elected sheriff wasn’t much good, either. One day a man from the country came into town looking for him. A deputy told him the sheriff was nearly always patrolling Main Street, working both sides.

The bumpkin trudged up and down both sides of the street — as instructed — to no avail. Finally, he asked a storekeeper. “Which side is the sheriff usually on?”

“Nobody knows for sure,” the merchant answered. “But when he was elected, he claimed to be on ours.”

Mort and his domino buddies have been conducting a survey of residents in the thicket, and the results are overwhelming, unlikely to be challenged.

They asked the folks which Presidential candidate would be least likely to appear in a Direct TV ad.

Mort said it was unanimous. Trump was viewed as being least likely to be a “settler” — for Direct TV or any other company.

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Columns archived at, newbury blog.