Who Wants To Ride Air Force One? © 2007, Paul Berge
Forget Iowa and New Hampshire. Why should they choose who’s going be the next presidential candidates? Forget about Super-Duper Tuesday, Mad Monday or bunching all the primary dates into one votefest in early February to mollify whiny Californians. Instead, the next President of the United States, hereafter referred to as POTUS--the one who gets to decide where and when Air Force One flies, the Commander Guy surrounded by a 30-mile aegis of protected airspace--will be selected by (hold onto your campaign hats) popular vote.
Radical, perhaps, but if you’re willing to become a contestant on Who Wants To Ride Air Force One? ©, you may be our candidate to compete against Mitt, Hillary, Rudy, or whatever prepackaged candidate with a TeleTubby name survives the traditional route to the 2008 election. We’re looking for the ultimate democratic (small d) non-partisan, Blog Party Presidential Candidate to be chosen by our viewing audience through a grueling--and often humiliating--TV-like, gladiatorial process not unlike the real thing put on by the Democrats and Republicans. That winner will then be registered as a real candidate on the November 2008 ballot (if we can afford the fee).
Here’s how it works:
Think Reality TV (Yeah, that's an oxymoron, but hang in there). Anyone with half-a-brain, which is considerably more than the usual candidates bring to the contest, can participate.
Step 1: Declare your candidacy here in the Comments link. It costs nothing. Keep it clean, brief and no sniping at the other candidates, unless they deserve it. Instantly, you'll become the front runner, if only for a microsecond in cyberspace. Take advantage of that moment in the spotlight to solicit massive campaign contributions from K Street lobbyists. Turn nothing down. You can always apologize later. Your moment in the lead will be fleeting so be ready for...
Step 2: Issue a Policy Statement that no one understands but includes references to Abortion (without taking a stance), Drugs (without admitting use in college or offending drug firms), Family (be for this, especially if your backer is named Corleone), Gay Marriage (see Abortion), Guns (quick, hit the NRA link to become a retroactive lifetime member), Education (see Family), the Military (espouse strong support here; go really over the top if you’ve never actually served yourself), the Environment (you’re generally for the environment but don’t quote Al Gore) and, finally, Campaign Finance Reform (support any reform measure because it’s like saying you support Mothers Day).
Step 3: Deny. Even though the pack will be crowded at this stage, the long knives will be out, and your past becomes fair game. So, deny everything. Better yet, blame society or cigarette advertising. Cry if you do that. Have your wife/husband at your side. A kid in an iron lung would be good, too.
Step 4: Threaten a Foreign Country. Your choice here. No, everyone can't take France. This begins the stage where candidates show their weltpolitik mettle by rattling sabers and such. You’ll be asked to invade a sovereign nation and explain your choice. Again, pick any little niggling principality that’s been irking you since college when you got caught trying to buy hash there. Now, let loose a barrage. Just be ready to defend your actions or, better yet, blame the press.
Step 5: Cover Up a Lie. Contestants will be given a lie. Each contestant will then be placed under glaring lights in front of cameras and a microphone and asked to deny the obvious. Candidates will be judged on originality, ability to keep a straight face (avoid smirking) and obfuscation. Show undying support for a loyal supporter you're about to dispatch.
Step 6: Speech Skills. Candidates will be asked to prepare and deliver a policy speech (topics to be assigned later). Candidates who mispronounce “obfuscation” probably won’t make it into the final round. Mispronouncing “nuclear”, however, seems to be fine. In fact, may help.
Step 7: Fancy Dress Ball. Each candidate will be asked to plan and prepare for a state dinner. Candidates will be judged on use of silverware, napkins and small talk with visiting dignitaries who smell like mothballs and are about as interesting to talk to as the Jell-O centerpiece.
Step 8: Sudden Death Round. A major world figure dies (Pope, King, your VP, televangelist) and each candidate, without preparation, will have sixty seconds to say something non-offensive about the suddenly departed. Candidates will be judged on stammering, lip licking, pronunciation of the deceased person’s name and ability to end the statement with “our thoughts and prayers go out to his/her family.”
Step 9: Bathing Suit Contest. Eighty percent of your score can be earned--or lost--here. This is where Reality Voting © beats the Hillary/Rudy campaigns every time. So, tone up those abs, wax the naughty bits and ask your advisers what “banana hammock” means before some reporter sticks a microphone in your face demanding that you explain your banana-hammock policy.
Step 10: Stand-Up and Sing. As the name implies, the finalist candidates will be asked to perform in public at The Blog Party Dean Martin-Meets-The-Press gala. You and your fellow Blog Party candidates will make absolute fools of yourselves through song, dance and Garrison Keillor skits as though willing to do anything to become the next POTUS. Saxophone solos optional.
Step 11: Call To Action. Vote early, vote often. Get online and vote for your favorite Who Wants To Ride Air Force One? © candidate. Add your name, the name of a loved or despised one in the Comments link below.
Step 12: To Be Announced (TBA) as candidates stumble. It's a yellow-dog-eat-yellow-dog world as candidates leave bloody political trails in the yellow snow of presidential politicking.
That’s the rough outline for Who Wants To Ride Air Force One? ©. It’s open to any native-born American (if your umbilical cord made it across the border, you’re in), age 35 and willing to live inside a fishbowl for the rest of his-slant-her life. Every waking moment of that life will dissected by blog-fogged pundits who can't get real jobs and secretly wish that they were the Blog Party’s first POTUS.
The best news--anyone can vote. And just like in Bergen County, New Jersey, the more you vote the better you feel.
Mark Your Far Side© Calender: The Blog Party National Convention will be held in the Pilot's Pub at Antique Airfield (IA27), date, time and beer prices to be announced. FAA not allowed unless accompanied by a real pilot.
The Reward: Power. Once in The White House, anytime you want to burn a few thousand gallons of Jet A in your own Boeing 747, simply pick up the hot line to Andrews AFB (don’t confuse it with the hot line to some nuke silo in North Dakota) and say, “POTUS here, I feel like flying to…oh, Des Moines!” You won’t even need to call a cab, because, like Enterprise, they’ll pick you up.
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