Race to the White House Oh-Eight
by Patricia Draznin

This week, Barak Obama campaigned in my town in Iowa. By “campaigned” I mean he proposed a solution to every issue plaguing Americans since 1776, from health care, war, and climate change to decoding the final episode of The Sopranos. And by “Iowa” I mean the big rectangular state that gets penciled into the U.S. atlas before the primaries and erased after the election. If Mr. Obama had really boned-up on the issues of rural America he would have tackled more pressing concerns, such as upgrading the Iowa image from Flyover State to something more flattering, like maybe the Drive-Through State.

It takes guts to run for office. And this pre-election year features an unprecedented number of people with guts—so many that if the gutsy people list grows much longer, the primary ballot will only have room to list the few citizens who are not running for president. Early campaign frenzy has launched the Time-For-A-Change Olympics way too soon—while some of us are still pondering the Florida ballot count. And when voter fatigue already has Americans pressing the candidate mute button, it can only mean one thing: It’s Time For A Change—a change of campaign format from the standard party lip-synch to something more compelling. Such as American Political Idol. Dancing with the Democrats. Desperate Candidates. Queer Eye for the Republican Guy.  Or D.C. Survivor, where candidates get voted out of the Beltway and banished to The Flyover State.

While it’s hard to keep track of who’s running and for which party, you don’t want to elect someone just because they’re the last candidate standing. You want the best for your country. You want to run for office. Trust me, all you need are (1) corporate lobbies feeding you campaign dollars that surpass the national debt, and (2) a Utopian vision for ______ [name of town you’re campaigning in] that promises a solar generator in every trailer court or a free-range chicken in every pot. It also helps to have (3) a little notoriety, like the time your photo made page seven of the Penny Saver when you carried a senior citizen’s Hefty trash bag to the curb, which your opponents will insist you were stealing.

And don’t worry about qualifications. The nation’s most powerful job doesn’t have any, as illustrated by this FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Motivated individual to serve as head of the Executive branch of the United States government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. No experience necessary. Responsibilities include vetoing bills passed by Congress, granting pardons to white-collar criminals, filing your travel receipts, etc. Literacy helpful, some knowledge of United States law a plus. Six-figure salary + two Boeing VC-25 aircraft (keys are in Oval Office in white file cabinet middle drawer). Relevant work experience: attorney, farmer, haberdasher, male model, B-Movie actor, WWII Army General, son of past-president. Extra consideration for any of the following: born in log cabin, nicknamed Old Hickory; signer of Declaration of Independence or at least in favor of it; served on a Navy PT boat that was sunk by a Japanese destroyer, endured grave injuries and led survivors through perilous waters to safety.

Good luck and have a great campaign. Everyone should try it once. Me? Sure, I'm gutsy enough to run for office. But I’m on a writing deadline.

Copyright 2007 Patricia Draznin


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