I never wanted to be the President of the United States. And, quite frankly, I don’t understand why so many other people are anxious to move all their stuff into the White House. For me, the downsides far out-weigh the benefits, and I just wonder if all those folks who’ve tossed their hats into the ring have really given it enough thought.
Granted, on the plus side, if fame is what they seek, being president would make them even better-known than being a finalist on “American Idol.” Also, there’s no getting around the fact that presidents don’t have to wait as long as other people to get their phone calls returned or their plumbing repaired.
But it’s not all beer and skittles. For one thing, half the people in America -- those in the other party -- are convinced you’re an idiot. What’s more, you can kiss your privacy good-bye. Goldfish have an easier time keeping secrets. Just ask Bill Clinton. As if that’s not bad enough, political cartoonists will devote their considerable talents to making you look even worse than you already do.
Most of your waking hours will be spent in the company of other dreary politicians, not to mention a vice-president who will take far more interest in the state of your health than your doctors do. If that’s not bad enough, you have to be civil to even the most obnoxious members of the media, such as Helen Thomas, Bill Maher and Chris Matthews.
When running for office, you will not only have to go hat in hand to every millionaire who ever bought a seat at a political dinner, but you will have to engage in debates, as if you were running for class president of your high school, knowing full well that you’ll be judged less on what you say than by how you look on TV. If your answers come too quickly, you’ll be dismissed as glib or overly-rehearsed. If you take your time answering, you’ll be written off as slow-witted, and if the hot lights make you sweat, it will remind people of Richard Nixon.
Recently, the AP asked some of the candidates questions of a more personal nature than they’re accustomed to hearing. John McCain, for instance, confessed to having 22 pets. The only ones identified in the story I read were a couple of turtles. The fact that their names are Cuff and Link would almost provide me with ample reason not to vote for the man. But I have no way of knowing if he’s the guilty party or if he delegates such matters to Mrs. McCain.
The AP asked all the candidates what other career they would have pursued if they hadn’t responded to the siren’s song of politics. Barack Obama and Joe Biden both claimed they’d have been architects. Frankly, feeling as I do about the two of them, I don’t think it’s too late even now for the firm of Obama and Biden to make its architectural mark. I think it would be far better for all concerned if they devoted their talents and energy to designing buildings than designing U.S. foreign policy.
Mike Huckabee, who apparently plays bass guitar in a group calling itself Capitol Offense, would like to do more of it, but admits he’d much prefer being Commander in Chief. Perhaps because of Bill Clinton’s example, Mr. Huckabee has a hunch that the President attracts even more groupies than a rock band.
Rudy Guiliani, the preeminent New York Yankee fan in the world, would like to be a sports announcer. For his part, Bill Richardson would like to play center field for the Yankees.
Dennis Kucinich sees himself as an astronaut, of all things. He may not look like he’s made of the right stuff, but you only have to listen to him talk for five minutes to know he’s already a space cadet.
Smarmy John Edwards insists that he’d have wanted to be a supervisor at a mill. I guess he must have heard that mill supervisors never think twice about shelling out $400 for a haircut. But he seems to have already forgotten that he had a prior calling. If memory serves, he wasn’t hanging around any mills looking for openings; rather, he was hot-footing it after ambulances.
Tom Tancredo really, really wants to be President, as I can tell by the number of requests for campaign contributions he sends my wife on a daily basis. He is so focused on being President that even at the prompting of the AP, he was unwilling to consider a second choice. Well, I happen to appreciate the man’s take on illegal immigration, so I hate raining on his parade up Pennsylvania Avenue. However, there is such a thing as reality. And realistically speaking, Bill Richardson has a far better chance of replacing Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Bernie Williams, in the hearts of New York Yankee fans.