*The other day I watched TV news footage of President Obama launching his reelection campaign–strutting the length of a stage in Ohio sans jacket or tie, the long sleeves of his white button down shirt purposefully rolled up to effectively resemble Everyman–and wondered who the hell would want the job, anyway.
Granted, leader of the free world is a great position to have in life. However, frankly, all the stuff you’ve got to ignore or pretend didn’t happen or not put people in check over, would drive me crazy. I believe in being polite. I’m a fan of tranquility. It’s always the downright trifling that gets your blood pressure up. But some things I simply couldn’t let slide.
For example, if I’m president and Osama Bin Laden was eliminated on my watch, you’d better believe I’m going to own that. If I’m running for reelection, I’m not going to beat around the bush. The official slogan for my campaign is going to be WHAT? I FOUND BIN LADEN, BITCH.
Yes. On bumper stickers, T-shirts, baseball caps, signs, banners, mugs, car flags, billboards, and in giant letters on the sides of my hydrogen bombproof custom bus, which I’d ride during my WHAT? I FOUND BIN LADEN, BITCH campaign tour through the heartland.
Why not? If any other president had found Bin Laden, they’d have a statue and a holiday in their honor by now. They’d be making room for them on Mount Rushmore, and THEIR reelection campaign slogan would be, LISTEN, THE NATION’S ECONOMY IS GOING TO HELL IN AN SUV, BUT AT LEAST YOU’RE SAFE. And nobody would have a problem with that.
So, if I’m running for a second term, I’m reminding ‘em that they can swig on their haterade in an America made just a little safer by the fact that I found Bin Laden. Of course, if you’re this president, you mention that at the risk of being called a show off.
That’s why I couldn’t be president. And when the subject of the economy came up, I’d be diplomatic as long as I could, but if they just kept on harping about jobs and productivity being down, I’d finally have to say, Look, if I’m not mistaken, my administration kept this MF open. We were on our way to a Lost Our Lease sale when I took over, and I think we’ve done pretty good, considering.
Yes, I’d concede, the job situation is tight. And It’s gonna BE tight. Who can wipe out years of national financial woe in four years? Or eight, really. But personally, I love that new, and the American car business might have gone the way of a malt (does anybody actually use real malted anymore?) if I really hadn’t done zilch about the economy, as some insist I didn’t. So, stop with the silly.
Alas, if you’re president, you can’t say that; the nation is not always in the mood for the truth. You can’t hold a press conference to say your hands are often tied by a chickenshit Congress. But I’d lay it all out and hope it wouldn’t cost me a second term.
I’d handle international situations differently, too. Like the blind Chinese dissident who came to our embassy in China for help, first saying he didn’t want to leave China, but then, in the middle of our negotiations with China on his behalf, deciding he and his family want to come to America after all. At that point, I’d have to say, “Brotherman. Make up your mind. You got me sassin’ America’s sugar daddy, during a reelection year, no less. Either you’re coming or staying. Get it together.”
During my reelection campaign, I’d take a page from the Teddy Pendergrass playbook and do some Ladies Only rallies–discuss with women the issues specific to them. It might get me branded as sexist, patronizing and some other things, too. But I like women, and you can’t win an election without them. I’d want the ladies to know I care.
I’d want to go places. If Secret Service and the military can make Afghanistan safe for President Obama long enough for him to give a speech there, surely they can secure Junior’s Jerk Chicken Joint for me. I’d get work done. But on the weekend, I’m getting out.
Speaking of security, would it be so wrong to want the option, as president, to pack my own heat? Not anything drastic. Something the public would never see, in a shoulder holster. Or on my waist. You know, just in case somebody penetrates my Secret Service coverage. I’m no fan of guns. But if somebody is shooting at me, I want to be able to return the favor.
Okay, that’s not a good idea. In any case, I’m betting that if I’m president, even wearing a concealed firearm in public for my own protection wouldn’t get me in as much trouble as my mouth. Some people simply can’t hear it like it is, and I’d have to tell it like it is. It doesn’t help that when I get excited, I tend to speak a little French. And you know how some Americans feel about them.
Steven Ivory, journalist and author of the essay collection Fool In Love (Simon & Schuster), has covered popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio and TV for more than 30 years. Respond to him via [email protected].