Saturday, June 23, 2007

Retrieving the Hat

A week or so ago, I read an article that said a lot of conservative Republicans think the biggest reason Mitt Romney would be a good president is that he has strong religious convictions.

And the very next day, in the very same paper, there was an article that said that a lot of registered Democrats would rather vote for Rudy Giuliani than Hillary Clinton. Even though they'd much rather have a Democratic president, they don't want to see Hillary Clinton in the White House. One reason was that she's too arrogant; another was that she's a woman, and woman leaders make countries seem "wimpy." One person commented that she's even worse than Al Gore, who had "no personality."

What all this demonstrates, of course, is that Republicans and Democrats can be equally moronic when it comes to determining the qualities of an effective president.

Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I still vote for people based on where they stand on the issues. Religion, gender, and personality never enter into it. Nor does it matter to me if they're tall, short, fat, or ugly. It's an election, after all, not a popularity contest. I think a lot of people still vote based on the issues, but the percentage of people who vote based on irrelevant details (such as religion, gender, race, personality, or how much someone spends on a haircut) is pretty significant according to the second article I read, and it's probably growing. That's because people are basically lazy, and it's a lot easier to look at someone and say "I don't like her because she's a woman" or "I like him because he's religious" than to figure out their stances on various issues and reconcile them with your own.

That's why I'm against voter registration drives. If people don't register to vote, it usually means they aren't interested enough in the destiny of our nation to spend five minutes filling out a simple registration form, so they probably wouldn't spend much time thinking about which candidate to vote for either. I don't know about you, but I don't want these people voting, and any effort to get them to vote can't possibly be good for anyone.

As I mentioned once before, I don't think elections are the best way of selecting a president anymore. I'd much rather see a reality TV show that puts all the candidates to the test. Rather than just take their word on where they stand, or what they'd do in a particular situation, on a reality TV show, they would be confronted with various actual crisis situations and we could see how they react. All reality shows have a degree of artificiality, of course, and this one would be no different, but putting people in contrived situations to see how they respond is still better than listening to them read some speech that they didn't even write.

That probably won't happen for a while, however, so we'll still be holding elections in the foreseeable future, and many people will continue to cast their votes based on factors that don't matter. Unfortunately, as long as the electorate behaves so irrationally, I don't think I have a chance of winning the upcoming presidential election. As you may recall, not too long ago, I threw my hat in the ring and announced my intention to run for United States President. It's been a difficult campaign, and despite the best efforts of my very capable head of fund-raising, we haven't made enough money to ensure that I continue getting the necessary media attention. So I've reluctantly decided that it no longer makes any sense to continue with the campaign. I know that will be a disappointment to many of you, but we have to face facts.

But let's look at the bright side. It's not the worst thing in the world, since I wouldn't have been such a great president anyway. But that's not what's really important, since no matter how bad a president is, a few decades after he leaves office, he's usually regarded as an honorable statesman. It happened to Richard Nixon, who resigned in disgrace after his administration was caught engaging in blatantly illegal activities, and it happened to Jimmy Carter, whose administration was ineffective at best and a disaster at its worst. It will probably happen to all the subsequent presidents as well, once enough time goes by to let us forget how awful they were. So that's the sort of legacy I was hoping for -- an honorable statesman. Now it doesn't look like it's going to happen.

As for what I'll do with the money we've collected so far -- it wouldn't be practical to return it to the donors, so maybe I'll just spend it on something nice for myself. I think I deserve it. That sort of thing is strictly illegal, of course, but I don't think anyone will mind. There are bigger problems facing the nation.