Where has all the humor gone in American politics? Sure, that may sound like a column for the dog days of late August, but I think our current humorlessness actually says quite a bit about the state of American politics.

It wasn’t too long ago that Bob Dole, Morris K. Udall, Alan Simpson, Bob Strauss and Ted Kennedy brought a welcome levity to politics, as did presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

Humor can offer a respite.

“Gentlemen why do you not laugh?” Abraham Lincoln asked his cabinet during the Civil War. “With the fearful strain that is upon me day and night if I did not laugh, I should die.” He was the model; when accused of being two faced, Lincoln responded, “If I had two faces would I be wearing this one?” 

Politics today are downright dour. 

Mark Shields, who as a columnist, commentator and earlier a political strategist was unsurpassed for his keen humor as well as political insights, offers an…

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