Sam Clemens

Sam Clemens

Nevada’s favorite son
While Nevada’s Mark Twain impersonator McAvoy Lane may have withdrawn from the presidential race (RN&R, 15 Minutes, April 15), that does not mark the end of Twain’s presidential hopes this year.

A Web page, www.twain2004. com, is running a Twain for President campaign, offering the observations of the famed author—and one-time Nevadan—on issues of the day (any day). Many of Twain’s statements clearly transcend the time in which they were written or spoken:

Crime: “Nothing incites to money-crimes like great poverty or great wealth.”

The economy: “The lack of money is the root of all evil.”

Family values: “Familiarity breeds contempt and children.”

Defense: “An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.”

This is at least the second time the Twain for President site has been posted. In the 2000 election, the page dipped into Nevada for some material. Nevada State Archives administrator Guy Louis Rocha published an article that year on Twain’s last trip to Nevada, during which he watched, and later wrote about, the hanging of convicted killer John Millian in Virginia City. The site used some of Rocha’s information (“Twain opposes death penalty”).

Rocha says he prefers Sam Clemens to Mark Twain as a presidential candidate because Clemens the person tended to have a less cynical view than Twain the writer.

“My take on Twain is, he’d be a good politician because as a writer he exaggerated, used hyperbole, kind of manipulated his reader. It’s Sam Clemens that I really like. He’s the guy who supported the underdog, had fundamental questions about right and wrong and fairness, and so I like Sam Clemens the man. Mark Twain the writer’s entertaining, but I like what Sam Clemens might bring to the presidency.”

Clearly Twain—or Clemens—would have the advantage of high name recognition. On the other hand, he would have the liability of being known as a journalist.