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Today I'm declaring my candidacy for President of the United States. I'll be running as an Independent. Getting on the ballot in every state won't be a problem, thanks to Americaselect.org.

Campaign funding won't be an issue, thanks to the Internet. Any good ideas I might have will be viral, and the bad ideas will die. That's the way it should be. It won't cost me a penny.

You might have some concern about the fact that I have no moral center, no relevant experience, a history of public pranks, and a penchant for flip-flopping. But watch now as I convert those problems into advantages.

Let's start with my lack of experience. Being an outsider probably isn't as good as it sounds. So, as President, I would appoint ex-President Bill Clinton as my only advisor. I'd publish all of his advice to me that doesn't involve top-secret issues, and I'd pretty much do whatever he told me to do. (He could have his own advisors.) In essence, you'd be electing Bill Clinton for a third term. Remember, he had that triangulation thing going for him, where both Democrats and conservative independents liked him. Republicans would support me too if they saw it as the only realistic way to beat President Obama. Unlike President Obama, I'd always give Republican philosophies a fair look, just as Clinton did. The truth, along with most Americans, is somewhere in the middle.

I'd also keep Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, if she were willing. She's plenty experienced, and she hasn't broken anything yet. My second choice would be Bill Gates. He's all about what works. And thanks to his charitable activities, when he says, "I'm here to help," it actually means something.

For my Supreme Court appointments, I'd pick qualified candidates whose opinions map to the majority of Americans. If you don't like where the majority is at, change the minds of your fellow citizens.  If you succeed, and I'm still in office, I'll pick the next candidate to reflect that change in public opinion. The Supreme Court works for the country, not the President. My opinions shouldn't matter. I'd only act as a safeguard in case the majority decided to discriminate against some group in particular. I don't like bullies.

On the budget, I propose a plan to cut every Federal government expense by 10% and increase every Federal tax by 10%. I'd call that the default plan, meaning I prefer a better plan, but I wouldn't expect anyone to come up with one. The advantage of this plan is that it's bad for every American. That's a little something I call "fair."

I'd also call a public debate on the topic of supply side economics, to end once and for all the question of whether lowering taxes increases government revenues. I would host the debate myself, with a Judge Judy sort of approach, and decide the winner. If it turns out that my proposed 10% tax increase would reduce government revenue, I'd cancel that part of my plan the same day.

I'd propose capping the amount any one person can inherit per death at $50 million. Estates can choose to donate the rest to charities, distribute it to stockholders, or give it up in taxes. $50 million is more than enough to turn any offspring into a lazy, self-absorbed, drug addicted, douche bag. Any more would be a waste. That plan needs some fine tuning, but you get the idea.

As President, I would remain deeply committed to flip-flopping. If new information or better thinking changes my opinion, so be it. That's how brains are supposed to work.

I can also promise that I won't try to remember the names of other world leaders, federal agencies, or even my own staff. Only an idiot believes a president can remember all of that stuff.

I'll commit one gaffe after another to keep the media busy with nonsense. I'll appear to confuse China with Japan, suggest withdrawing troops from North Korea, and let slip some ethnic insults around live microphones. The public loves that stuff, and I would not disappoint.

On day one of my presidency I would form a committee of libertarians to recommend ways to shrink government. But I would require them to describe in detail how the country would look when those government functions disappear. When they finish, I'll turn over their recommendations to independent economists and other smart people for evaluation. Then I'd open it up for public scrutiny and debate. Then I'd let Bill Clinton decide which reductions in government passed the common sense filter.

I'd use states as test laboratories for social policies, education plans, healthcare schemes, tax policies, and that sort of thing. If a state wants to try something new, and the change goes against current federal policies, I'd favor giving the state a temporary exception, and perhaps some funding, to try out its plan. I might even encourage another state to try the same plan, just so we have a control group (roughly speaking) to evaluate the results. After a reasonable test period, the state's plan would either be terminated if it didn't work, or encouraged in other states if it did. I see the federal government as an objective broker trying to maximize best practices in the states.

On the environment, I'd try to make America the least polluted place on Earth, and the most visited by tourists. A clean environment is a good way to keep healthcare costs down too. But I wouldn't reflexively say no to pipelines and drilling and fracking if the cost-benefit ratio seems reasonable. We don't live in a risk-free world, and windmills can't do it all. At the same time, I'd also go hog wild for geothermal energy and other clean technologies so we can someday lower our collective risks.

Unlike most politicians, I'll admit I'm in it for the money. I'll only accept $1 per year in salary, but I think I can make it up later in book deals, licensing, and speaking gigs. I'll be the most economical president ever.

If you don't like any of the ideas I just explained, tell me why. There's a good chance I'll flip-flop to your point of view.
 
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Nov 16, 2011
The 10% tax increase across the board is hardly "fair". Bill Gates wouldn't even notice it while it'd be a significant increased burden on someone earning $20K/year. This is why tax brackets exist.
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 16, 2011
Besides, even if an independant candidate did, by some miracle, get elected president, they'd never be able to do anything. A Democrat or Republican can at least count on half of Congress to support him no matter what, just out of party loyalty. As an independent, no matter how moderate, all of Congress would automatically try to block everything you did.

Face it- our political system gives no options except to focus on pushing one of the two main parties in the direction that we want.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 16, 2011
You're going to approach government as a purely technical problem until it is PROVEN to ruin everything, aren't you scott?
 
 
Nov 16, 2011
I'm concerned that all of your time as president will be monopolized with keeping Slick Willie out of Nancy Pelosi's panties.
 
 
+18 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 16, 2011
I've been waiting for it. You've got my vote.
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 16, 2011
ihateregistering
>>the most visited by tourists

>I think it already is, or #2 or #3 at any rate

#2 behind France, by 16 million or so visitors per year.
 
 
Nov 16, 2011
I've been waiting for a candidate exactly like you!! Particularly since I don't think Jon Stewart would agree to run. Why aren't you listed on Americanselect yet??? Can Dogbert be listed as your running mate?

My only arguement with your position is that Corporations should get taxed at a much higher rate than real people are. After all, they have teams of lawyers and lobyists who will find tons of loopholes anyway, starting with their home office being located inside a PO box in another country. So you need to tax them enough that what they end up actually paying roughly equals what their fair share really ought to be, after all the loopholes. If they end up paying more, that just means they aren't competitive enough to survive in the free market.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 16, 2011
So... basically you think both parties are equally bad, and that the truth lies somewhere in the middle of them. And yet, your big idea here is to try and massively reduce the budget deficit, which is mostly a republican idea. You don't even mention unemployment at all, even though that's what most Americans care about the most.

It doesn't even matter, though. Let's say that an independent, moderate candidate does somehow draw enough support to get on the ballot. And by some miracle, they actually win a few states, most likely the battleground states that aren't locked up by one party. What's the result? Since no candidate would have the necessary majority, the decision would go to the house of representatives which is controlled by Republicans. So, all this would do is elect a Republican president.
 
 
Nov 16, 2011
Your campaign sounds a lot like what Dogbert would do, except focused a bit more on doing good and getting elected rather than amusement.
 
 
Nov 16, 2011
Here's a question I'd like all Presidential candidates to answer: "How will you get Congress to actually do any of the things you are promising?"

It's one thing to promise spending cuts, tax increases, etc. But Congress has to pass them. You can shout "9-9-9" and "fat-cats and billionaires" as much as you want, but you still need a majority (in Congress) to get it done.

Also, rather than (or perhaps in addition to) letting the states be laboratories for social policy, why not use Washington D.C. as a laboratory? Congress has total control over the District. You could spend as much (or as little) as you want on improving the schools. If it works, then the states would copy it. If it doesn't work, you've saved $billions by not forcing the entire country to try it.
 
 
Nov 16, 2011
Are you really Zaphod Beeblebrox Scott?
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 16, 2011
You already won't be taken seriously, but this bit makes it look like you want to make absolutely certain you're not:

"I'll commit one gaffe after another to keep the media busy with nonsense. I'll appear to confuse China with Japan, suggest withdrawing troops from North Korea, and let slip some ethnic insults around live microphones. The public loves that stuff, and I would not disappoint."

Also, why would you want to keep the media busy with nonsense, rather than encouraging them to report on substantive matters? I would rather see a media policy involving a pledge to grant meaningful access to many different media outlets (not just the big names), and grant it regardless of the reporting done. That is, no withholding access as punishment for unfavorable coverage.
 
 
Nov 16, 2011
Is there no room for Wally in your cabinet?
 
 
Nov 16, 2011
'veti', here in America we are slowly learning that giving the poor money doesn't seem to solve poverty. If life and human nature were that simple the "war on poverty", which we started under President Johnson 47 years ago would surely have been won by now. Giving as many as possible ample opportunity to earn their own sustenance turns gov't welfare recipients into tax payers. But then I've now opened the debate that candidate Adams wanted to schedule.
 
 
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 16, 2011
I have been a faithful member of Dogberts ruling class since its early days, although its activities have been kind of hidden lately. Will world domination be established at last?
 
 
Nov 16, 2011
No, no, the ideas are good. No flipping, flopping, or even floundering necessary.

It's just that having good ideas makes you unelectable.

You have my vote anyway.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 16, 2011
Mr. President. You have my vote and my support.
 
 
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 16, 2011
"I'd also call a public debate...to end once and for all the question..."

AH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

That said, I'd vote for you.
 
 
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 16, 2011
I noticed you didn't have your usual disclaimer at the top. You know, the one where you say it's intended for an audience of people that like your opinions and if you take it out of context it is at your own peril.

In other words, you're serious and I'm in. Do you need a vice-presidential running mate?
 
 
Nov 16, 2011
Scott, I might consider a vote for you. However, the announcement of your candidacy made me think of times when I didn't have anybody that I really wanted to be voted into office, but there often was at least one candidate that I definitely did *not* want to win. Perhaps we should be allowed to cast a negative vote to help keep out people we know for sure that we don't want in, when that is more important to us than any of the alternatives winning.
 
 
 
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