November 18, 2004

This Is My United States of Whatever!

Today's Musical Selection: "Hail to the Chief"

Hi, everybody! As promised, today I offer you the solution to America's political crisis. Right now, the Democrats are in a world of hurt, as the young people like to say. A lot of people invested a lot of time and energy in trying to elect a candidate they might not have been crazy about, but nonetheless viewed as essential to the survival of our country. He lost, decisively by modern presidential standards. Now all these people, who worked and hoped so hard, are reeling, despondent, devastated.

And the presidential results weren't the only bad news for the Democrats. Republicans widened their majorities in the House and Senate. They control a majority of the governors' mansions and state legislatures, too. All over the country, gleeful Republicans are lighting victory cigars, drinking 20-year-old scotch and getting ready to roll up their sleeves and get about the serious work of reorganizing the country in accordance with the vision of His Holiness Ronald Reagan and His Disciples who continue to preach the conservative gospel today. They're making lists of state congresional districts to gerrymander, countries to invade, backs to scratch, Biblical passages to write into our laws. They're re-arranging the Congressional parking lot so they get all the good spaces. They're trading high-fives and doing victory dances, or at least the closest thing to victory dances that a bunch of Protestant white guys can manage. Oh, yes, it's a fine time to be a Republican.

And what are the Democrats doing? They're sitting alone, drinking coffee and cheap whiskey, shaking their heads and wondering where it all went wrong. They're desperately crafting far-fetched vote-fixing conspiracy theories, anything to deny the truth, which is that a majority of the voting public went for the other guy. They're studying Canada's immigration laws. They're muttering about the shortcomings of their candidate, as though Kerry was somehow forced on the party, or became the nominee by accident. They're beating the bushes all over the South, looking for some obscure city councilman or agriculture commissioner with camera-ready looks and an ability to speak convincingly to the average voter who might be willing to ride the donkey. They're looking longingly at Barack Obama the way that, when they were seven, they looked at the biggest and coolest toy in the Sears Wishbook, hoping desperately to get it but not really believing they would. They drink more bad whiskey, pick fights with burly truckers, get thrown out of the bar, go home and stumble around and break good china in a muddled rage. They cry, suddenly, for no apparent reason. I assure you, friends, it is one hell of a lousy time to be a Democrat.

More than anything, Democrats are desperate for a savior. They want someone like Reagan, a bright and charismatic and compelling voice, to step forward and galvanize them and lead them out of the wilderness. They want someone who can articulate a philosophy that will invigorate and inspire the country, someone who can define a generation of politics and beyond, someone who will have monuments and elementary schools named in his honor someday. They want someone to give them a reason to believe in the future of the party and the country. They want, in this dark and desperate hour, someone to give them hope again.

In short, they want me.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. Okay, that too, but I really don't want to use language like that in this blog, where kids might see it. But you're also thinking, "Hey, aren't you too young to be constitutionally eligible to run for president? And you don't have any political experience, do you? And what have you ever done for this country besides write a bunch of cranky broadsides about how screwed up the world is?"

All of these are valid concerns. Fortunately, I have a plan, and it doesn't even involve amending the Constitution (setting me apart from the backers of a certain politician from Collyvornia). The downside is that it takes a while. But I think I'm worth the wait.

So what's my plan? Well, regular readers of this blog will be aware that my district is represented in Congress by the always pugnacious Jim Moran. This fact makes a good many members of our district sick at heart, as Moran tends to do embarrassing and/or ethically questionable things almost on a weekly basis. However, since our district is heavily Democratic and gerrymandered to remain so by the thoughtful Virginia legislature, we refuse to consider a Republican alternative and keep sending the Battlin' Bostonian back to Congress. (As my dad put it after this year's 25-point Moran victory: "Well, once again, we in the Eighth District have shown we'd rather fight than switch." Or as my mother puts it, "Well, at least if he's in Congress, it keeps him off the streets, where he might hurt somebody.") It's become increasingly clear that Moran will remain in office until he retires, dies or is thrown in jail.

So, my plan involves Moran dying. I'm not advocating offing him, mind you; that would be morally wrong, and anyway could result in my getting a stern talking-to from the authorities. But if we put the Honorable Representative on a slow boat to China, and made sure the ship had an open bar and someone to pick a fight with him that ended in him falling overboard... well, these things happen, right? And if things happen to work out that way... well, perhaps it's for the best, that's all I'm saying. (If someone has a good idea on how we can get him thrown in jail instead, I'm all ears.)

Anyway, once Moran is off the stage, there will be a void. The Eighth District is ready for new blood. And, with my decade-plus of experience as the self-appointed mayor of Dot-Com Canyon, I'm as good a candidate as anyone. Once the voters recognize my obviously bright future and potential for greater things, I'll be a shoo-in.

Once I'm in the safe Eighth District seat, I figure I'll hold it for about five terms, being sure to combine faithful service to my district and my state with some high-profile work on bills of national importance. During my later terms, I'll focus on jobs bills and funding for struggling families in rural and troubled industrial areas. I'll spearhead an initiative to help tobacco farmers switch to another crop, or another line of work, without going broke. I'll become identified with rural technology bills. At the same time, I'll champion smart-growth initiatives and responsible transportation development, while finding ways to encourage the New Economy of Northern Virginia, spreading its success to other parts of the state. The graying heads of the Hill will begin to whisper about my having grander ambitions. One of those think-tank Web sites will tab me as a "Democrat to Watch." I'll modestly deny any aspirations beyond my desire to serve my district and state as best I can. No one will believe me, but I'll insist.

Come 2014, if John Warner hasn't retired yet, Virginia Democrats will be boosting me for the Senate. I'll take a few weeks to mull the issue with my political advisors, then I'll pass up the opportunity. Everyone will wonder why I passed on the race despite being one of the state's brightest Democratic stars. There will be some speculation as to the reason, and it will be right. No, not the speculation about my having a clandestine affair with a call girl that I don't want exposed by the blinding glare of a high-profile race. That speculation will be wrong. (Unfortunately.) The other speculation, about my wanting a crack at the governor's mansion, will be right.

In 2017, Virginia will hold an election for governor. With a solid Democratic base in Northern Virginia and Richmond to work from, I'll start touring the rural areas of the state, touting my technology and job-creation accomplishments, and speaking compellingly to them about the plight of rural communities in modern America. I'll really listen to them, convince them that I understand their concerns and their desire to save their communities and culture, and promise to work with them to help make their towns vibrant again. With the backing of rural voters, I ought to win pretty convincingly, by at least 10 points, more if the Republicans don't bother to field a strong nominee, in the face of the electoral juggernaut that they know is coming.

By that time, Virginia should have succeeded in repealing the ridiculous one-term limit on governors, so I'll just be wrapping up my second term in 2024. As a moderate Democrat with a track record of appeal in a Southern state, I should have an inside track on the nomination. My primary competition will probably be the vice-president of the outgoing President Obama, and I should be able to knock him off pretty easily. I'll run on a platform of spreading my rural-renewal programs on a national scale, along with a responsible but strong foreign policy. I'll speak of economic justice as our highest moral duty. I'll speak of progressive social values in comforting human terms. I'll probably garner slightly more than 300 electoral votes.

That's the plan in a nutshell. As you can see, it's pretty airtight. Most of you are probably already looking for an address to send the checks. Some skeptics out there, however, may be wondering: "So, what exactly would you plan to do in office?" Even though my better instincts suggest that I should keep it a secret, I will share with you a few plans that I've cooked up with my political advisers. Give me a second to find the cocktail napkin we wrote them on.

1. Invade Thailand. By the time I take office, the Bush Doctrine of invading Third World countries without provocation will be pretty well entrenched, and voters will demand to see a list of planned invasions before they even consider someone for our nation's highest office. My administration will be no exception.

However, I believe in putting my own signature on my policies, so I have my own twist. I will only invade defenseless Third World countries that have really good food. Call it the Fred Doctrine. My advisors have recommended Thailand as a likely target, and I agree with them. Here's my plan: we'll invade Thailand and liberate about 100 or so chefs. Then we'll dispatch those chefs on emergency relief missions to the Midwest, where they will be asked to impart some flavor and taste to the native cuisine, by force if necessary.

2. Lower gas prices. This seems to be popular, and I'm nothing if not accomodating to popular demand. However, unlike other politicians who are struggling to find some sound economic or scientific method to create lower gas prices, I have a much simpler and therefore better idea. I'll just go to the oil companies, shake my fist in a presidential manner and say, "Stop charging so much for gas!" If necessary, I'll pound my shoe on the table.

I base this plan on my current governing methods as mayor of Dot-Com Canyon, which pretty much consist of going around to construction sites, shaking my fist in a mayoral manner and saying, "Stop knocking down all those trees!" The shoe thing is a new flourish I just dreamed up. (Okay, so I stole it from Krushchev. But given the state of our school system, no one will remember that by the time I'm president.)

3. A 100% tax on members of the New York Yankees. I think this is self-explanatory.

By now, I'm sure I've convinced you of the wisdom -- nay, the imperative -- of electing me as president in 20 years. Fortunately for all of you, there's still time to "get in on the ground floor," as they say. I'm currently auctioning off positions in my administration. So far, the only positions that are filled are Secretary of Defense (belonging to my cousin, the Gentleman's Gentleman), Secretary of State (held by my friend the Gamer Girl), and Secretary of the Treasury (belonging to Papa Shaft, who has announced his intention to rename his position "Chief of da Bling"). All other positions are still available, so get your applications in now!

I should point out, however, that Vice President is also filled. My political operatives and I spent many whiskey-soaked minutes considering a wide range of possible candidates, and I think we've found our man. Considering the pivotal role of Ohio in this year's election, we're going to need someone who can pull in the Buckeye State. Unfortunately, the Ohio Democratic bench is a little thin (as I covered in excruciating detail a couple months back), and Jerry Springer figures to be to be too old by then. Fortunately, we figured out the ideal alternative: LeBron James. Is he interested in politics? Who knows? Who cares? In case you haven't noticed, the vice president doesn't really do much of anything anyhow (unless he's the president's puppetmaster, but that's another story).

I'm also going to need to find a wife who's independently wealthy, so that she can bankroll my political campaigns, at least until I'm so awash in contributions from grateful voters that I can dump her for the call girl I mentioned a few paragraphs north. My political advisers have been hard at work on this too. And we've decided that I should marry one of the Olsen twins. Preferably the one that doesn't have the coke habit, since she's probably going to blow her fortune on, well, blow. My advisers are currently researching which Olsen twin that is. They plan to get back to me shortly. (Assuming my plans to marry a wealthy woman fail, we plan to get Mark Cuban to bankroll our campaign because, well, it seems like the kind of thing he would do, doesn't it?)

Just remember, folks: you can't spell "victory" without "U." Oh, wait, yes you can. But you can't spell "cash contribution" without "U." I'm sure you catch my drift. If you're convinced that I'm the right person to lift our country out of its present doldrums, get those check-writing muscles in shape! And if you're not convinced... well, do you really have our country's best interests at heart?

(And in case you're reading this and thinking, "He promised us real solutions to our country's ills, and the best he could do is this pile of self-aggrandizing crap?"... I'm working on real solutions. I promise. Consider this my attempt at blowing off steam.)

A number of good comments on the last couple days' posts, and I'll get to those tomorrow. See you then!

Posted by Fred at November 18, 2004 10:08 PM

Okay, I totally want to be Chief Of Staff. Just think of it, a moderate Republican as your right hand man. This would always tick off the far left, and Democrats who tick of the far left do much better in general election than those who don't.

Posted by: frinklin at November 18, 2004 11:29 PM

As an added bonus I would run all Cabinet meetings WWE-Style. Just think of it: President Mediocre is considering a tariff against imported wheat. The Secretary of Agriculture supports it. The Commerce Secretary doesn’t. Instead of some boring speeches and meetings, we have a Steel Cage Match. The first Cabinet member who escapes Hell in the Cell wins!

Not that much different than Powell and Rummy, is it?

Posted by: frinklin at November 18, 2004 11:34 PM

:-) This reminds me of a Republican friend's proposal that he be my Karl Rove and that I run as a Republican.

ME: "I can't run for elected office, I don't like shaking a bunch of people's hands. I'd insist on a namaste."

HIM: "That would be great! Republican candidate insists on traditional Eastern greeting!"

Of course, this is the same person who refers to his undergrad degree as being in "Oriental studies."

Posted by: PG at November 22, 2004 04:04 PM
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