I wouldn’t want to be president. I worry enough about being assassinated for what I write on this blog. There’s no point in making it worse. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about how I would run my campaign.
If I ran for president, I’d have to get past the country’s distaste for atheists. That’s a big problem. I would handle it by manipulating the media with a sound bite so catchy the pundits would have no choice but to repeat it until it started to sound sensible. I’d hold a press conference and say that ONLY an atheist should be president, in the same way you want a eunuch to guard your harem. (That’s the sound bite. It’s like catnip for pundits.)
I would suggest that a truly religious president might try to convert your children to his religion, either overtly or by example. In this election alone, you have a Mormon, a Baptist or two, and if Bloomberg enters, a Jew. Moreover, a scary percentage of the South believes Obama is a Muslim. I’d play the fear card.
After my eunuch sound bite got everyone’s attention, I would soften the message to “Only an atheist can guarantee religious freedom for all by favoring none.” That argument makes no sense whatsoever, but it would be persuasive nonetheless.
Next, I would promise to maintain all social benefits for anyone who is already over sixty. That would guarantee me the senior citizen vote. Obviously it is not a campaign promise I would have much chance of keeping, but that’s a problem for later. And I would portray all the other candidates as a risk to senior citizens.
Younger voters might have a problem with my complete lack of political experience. I would deal with that by announcing in advance my picks for cabinet, Vice President, Chief of Staff, and other key positions. I would simply pick the most popular and/or qualified people in the world, such as Oprah, Colin Powell, and Warren Buffet. All of those people would immediately denounce me and deny interest in the jobs, obviously. But I would tell the voters they are only saying that because I am not yet the president. When the president asks someone to serve the country, they tend to say yes. And if any of them do eventually say no, for now they are a good example of who I would pick for those sorts of jobs. I would point out that the other candidates will be appointing worthless political cronies, as always.
I would promise that my approach to social issues would mirror the majority opinion. Unlike the other candidates, I would not try to hold your family hostage to my personal views. I would argue that a president’s role in social issues is to guarantee the minority doesn’t oppress the majority, not to impose my own biases. If someone has a pet social issue, I would tell them to convince the majority of the country, not me.
For international issues, I would promise to follow the advice of the most qualified experts in each field. And I would dismiss any specific policy questions as “hypothetical questions” that only an idiot would answer. I would portray the other candidates as either liars or reckless for not naming their future advisors in advance, and not committing to listening to people who know more than they do.
Do I have your vote?