John Dickerson notes one “remarkable fact about the 2012 Republican presidential campaign,” it’s not funny.
“This makes for boring politics, but it also makes for bad politics. People want to like politicians they vote for and a smile helps with that. Laughter is also an effective tool for undermining your opponents and spreading your message with voters. You would be on firm ground if you said that times are too serious for a lot of jokes. You would also be on boring ground, and we would quickly move away from you and find someone more pleasant to talk to.”
The benefits of humor: “All of the Republican contenders insist they are optimists, but they don’t seem to realize that there is no better way to convey optimism than with a smile… There’s a social networking benefit to humor too. A joke well-told gives the audience something they can pass along later to their friends… Wit suggests an agile mind, which is useful for a president who needs to cut through complex subjects, rally people to a cause, or break the tension in negotiations. Given the polarization in Washington at the moment, perhaps wit is required more than ever.”
That said, BuzzFeed compiles the 6 funniest moments from New Hampshire primary night.