Once in awhile I think of how it would be to run a campaign for President that is truly different from the garbage we have to put up with every four years. Do the hacks who run these campaigns really suffer from a complete lack of imagination? For one thing, if I was the candidate, I would try to be unflinchingly honest. Instead of the trite “this is the most important election in a generation” balderdash that we hear (every four years is a fork in the road, the most important blah blah blah) I’d say: “This is not the most important election in a generation. It’s just another election. Assuming I win, I’ll be gone in four to eight years. There’s not much of lasting worth that I can accomplish in that amount of time. I’ll try not to send us in the wrong direction and not to do any lasting damage to what I have inherited.”
I’d cap spending where it is the day I take office and promise that it will not increase one penny while I am in. And I’d fight like everything to keep that promise, no matter what slice of the bloated pie would be cut to keep it there. That way, there would be not cutbacks, or increases, just the status quo. Surely we could agree that spending the same 4 trillion a year or whatever will suffice for 4 years? I’d shutdown every single base overseas and relinquish our role as the Earth Force. Yes, this would produce massive geopolitical upheaval, but oh well.
I wouldn’t run cheesy ads with flags and workers in pristine factories with hardhats on and all that junk. I’d just have a white background and pay someone who does dishwasher detergent ads for daytime TV to make some snappy jingle and then I’d pop up from the right side of the screen and joke around. I’d say, “I’m not going to give you some nonsensical promises about how everything will be better and how we need to fight for American values. I’m running to be in power, not due to some great cause. I’d like to do a few things and not do many others. If you don’t like me, vote for _____.” We’d run off the wall ads that were nothing like the typical pablum we tune out all the time.
I wouldn’t run around making stump speeches that no one cared about. I’d just sit in a studio and talk to people, or have them call in, something of that nature. Do sort of a Letterman show that while serious, was not pretentious. That would be the campaign. Maybe refuse to go to any states, and cancel the convention. Just mail in the vote and save the nonsense. If I debated I wouldn’t do the canned answer, I’d just try to fire in answers honestly off the top of my head.
I’d keep a blog and write on it all the time. Maybe I’d actually visit small out of the way towns and see what they think about things. I’d encourage leading intellectuals to send me their innovative ideas on how to restructure things, kind of kick ideas around and see what makes sense. My foreign policy would be based on Africa, where I would support Christian nations with massive aid, and encourage Bible publishers to flood the continent with local translations. I wouldn’t spend two pennies on any European nation, they don’t need our help. A few thoughts on how a new kind of campaign could work. I really think there needs to be a breakthrough in how the whole thing works. It is a farce that lies about intentions, reality, and results. The only person I can think of who has been slightly interesting in recent history was the Jerry Brown campaign of 1980. That was a scream. He was kind of honest like that, just a little too Zen for my taste. But I’m sure nothing like this will ever happen, we are doomed to the same grim litany of controlled drivel that has been the norm for quite awhile.