Politics 102

Fresh from my successful stint as a political consultant for your victorious entry-level political campaign (Politics 101), I’m ready to give advice for bigger and better things.

Political debates:

  • At least one campaign debate should be moderated by Jerry Springer, Jesse Ventura or World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman Vince McMahon.  Jerry Springer will keep a crew of bouncers, dressed in black, just off stage in the likely event that a surprise guest makes an appearance in the middle of the debate and starts a fight with one or more of the candidates.  Jesse Ventura or Vince McMahon will start the fight themselves.
  • At least one debate will be held in a school cafeteria so that the candidates can engage in both a war of words and a food fight.  [By the way, there are few foods that can’t be improved by adding enough butter, flour, sugar or alcohol.  That’s a food freebee.]
  • Another debate should be held at a senior center.  Instead of an American Idol-like background with constant interruptions of applause, boos and cheers, we will only hear mumbles and occasional snoring.  It will also give the viewing audience an idea of what they can look forward to.  Such a debate will go over really big in places like South Florida or Arizona, which are in effect holding patterns for Heaven.
  • One debate should include a magic trick – saw a candidate in half or make a candidate disappear (or make them all disappear).
  • One debate should have a séance (“Can you hear me, Richard Nixon?”).

Campaign appearances:

  • At least one campaign appearance should be conducted in a large arena and have a gladiatorial contest and a beheading.
  • To connect with the people, make as many campaign appearances as possible in folksy diners, barber shops, rodeos, truck pulls, tattoo parlors and opium dens.  Grow your own marijuana and then give it away.  Conduct a mass wedding.

Campaign strategies:

  • Annoy people.  You can annoy some of the people some of the time, and all of the people some of the time but can you annoy all of the people all of the time?  If you can annoy enough people in your district, you can get elected because they will vote for you rather than have to listen to one more campaign speech, request for money or robo-telemarketing call.
  • Be unique.  Stand out from other candidates by not shaking hands, touching or kissing any constituent.  In fact, only make campaign appearances in a bio-hazard suit and explain that your number one concern is the safety of the people you wish to represent and the danger of transmitting illness through direct contact.
  • Invent a cause.  Attack things that have no chance of attacking back – geese and other migratory fowl; obscure island nations; lighthouses; pacifists.

Politics 101

With the election season upon us and a number of you weighing in on your dearly cherished views, I know that, at some point in your life, you may have gotten the urge to enter politics.

Unless you are Donald Trump, Steve Forbes, H. Ross Perot or a bunch of forgettable (or soon to be forgettable) characters, you cannot afford to start your career in politics at the top by running for President of the United States.  Yet the very thought of kissing a million gooey babies, shaking a zillion hands and spending your weekday nights on the rubber chicken circuit sends you screaming away in revulsion.  Happily, after all these years, I have finally decoded the method for avoiding these unpleasant events and getting that coveted first step in election glamour – being elected Soil and Water Commissioner.

First, having a good name helps.  Suppose you must choose one of the following for Soil and Water Commissioner:

  •  John Adams
  •  Osama Bin Laden II
  • Wojceich Postrzyzyny Przbrz.

Now it does the unfortunately named Bin Laden II no good that he is a pacifist, a poet and a Samaritan and is not related in any way, shape or form to the other nasty guy.  Nor does it aid mister unpronounceable, vowel-deprived Przbrz in the fact that he was a former freedom fighter and an experienced hydrologist.   John Adams may be a stew bum and a derelict but he will get your vote every time.  Of course, if you are in a heavily Polish-American voting district, then Mr. Przbrz is your choice even if he is a stew bum.

Second, placement is key.  Get your name placed as close to the top of the list as possible.  Let me use another example.  Vote for two of the following for Soil and Water Commissioner:

  • Bill Blake
  • Nancy Jones
  • John Adams
  • Tim Madison
  • Tom Davis

Now Mr. Adams is in trouble.  We might spend some time on President, Senator, Congressman or County Executive, but Soil and Water Commissioner?  Aren’t we going to pick the first two reasonable sounding names and go on?  I have had some discussion with friends on this theory.  There are those who pick anybody but the first two names out of contrariness.  There are others who work from the bottom up and still others who pick every other name.  I still insist that being first on the list gives you an advantage.

Third, have a plethora of signs before the election.  While I have not yet found a study that makes a correlation between the number of “vote for me” signs and the effectiveness of the candidate, it certainly must mean something for someone to go through all that trouble to mar major and minor highways with signs asking you to vote for them.  Now you might make the case that a really good Commissioner would not deface the countryside with an endless stream of “vote for me” signs and only put up a few but, psychologically, don’t we correlate the number of signs with the strength of the candidate?

So that’s the plan – good name, key placement in the list and tons and tons of election signs.  When you use my foolproof technique and get elected as the next Soil and Water Commissioner, you can decode the mystery I haven’t solved over all these years – what does a Soil and Water Commissioner do?