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Today I will make my best case for why you should vote for me for President of the United States. I'll be using some powerful tricks of persuasion, so don't read further if that sort of thing would bother you.

By the way, the first paragraph was a trick of persuasion. I gave you the choice of opting in for the persuasion that follows. That put us on the same team and short circuited your automatic reflex for resistance. And I made you curious at the same time.

One of the fascinating things about persuasion is that I can describe my method while I do it, and it makes no difference to the outcome. That's why advertising still works even though we all know the tricks involved. It's why a trial lawyer can be overtly manipulative with a jury and yet each juror will still feel as though he or she reached a decision independently. Today I'll lay bare my method of persuasion and it will feel to you as if most of what I say actually makes a lot of folksy common sense.

I'll start by stating some simple truths that you probably agree with. When someone has the same opinion as you, it makes you think of them as smart. You can double that impact by putting your simple truths in a familiar form, such as a common saying or catch phrase. Our brains automatically assume that the familiar is more valid than the unfamiliar.

I'll begin by stating a simple fact: At the national level, our elected officials from both major parties are failing us. If we voters continue doing the same thing - electing more Republicans or more Democrats - we'll get the same result. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. We're just shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. (Notice the familiar imagery.)

But what can we voters do that is different? Everyone knows that an independent candidate for President has almost no chance of winning, right? There's a chicken and egg problem. No voter wants to throw away a vote by supporting a candidate that can't win. And the candidate can't win without support. There's no way to prime the pump. It makes more sense to hold your nose and support whichever candidate is less awful than the alternative while also having a chance of winning.

Here's how we can hack the system and get out of this trap. Starting today, if anyone asks who you support for President, insist that the answer is "none of the above," and that the Dilbert cartoonist guy represents that choice. If enough people associate "none of the above" with my candidacy, pollsters will start putting my name into the lineup just to make the results more newsworthy. News is driven by novelty. Sooner or later, some pollster looking for attention will add my name to a survey just to see if I beat Huntsman.

It doesn't cost you anything to support me in polls before the election. In the worst case scenario there will still be a top Republican and a top Democrat to vote for when you get into the voting booth. You'll know by election day if a vote for me is likely to be wasted or not.

Don't be too concerned about the fact that I have no moral center and no qualifications whatsoever for the job of president. I've promised in previous blog posts that if elected I will do whatever Bill Clinton advises me to do, which would lead to policies that are a sensible middle ground (triangulation). That's a low risk strategy for fed-up voters, and it would be a wake-up call to the major parties that they need to change to remain relevant. As citizens, the worst thing we can do is reward either party for their atrocious performance. My one-term presidency would be similar to a parent giving a misbehaving child a time out. Republicans and Democrats would have four years to reflect on what they did wrong.

As president, I would be realistic about how much any one person, including the president, can do to fix the economy. But economies do respond to attitudes and optimism, and I would work directly on our national mood.

For starters, I would ask every citizen to contribute to our economic turnaround in whatever way each of us is best suited. I'd ask rich people to hire a few more people than they would otherwise prefer. For the unemployed, I'd ask them to actively work on their job skills by taking classes, volunteering as unpaid interns, or whatever it takes. And I'd ask everyone to exercise daily and eat right, to keep our national energy high and our health care costs low.

The key to this plan is that we all need to choose our own type of sacrifice, and we all need a way to broadcast our sacrifice to our neighbors. Sacrifice needs to be observed to be sustained. Some have said that recycling only works because each family's effort is displayed once per week at the curb. Similarly, citizens need visible evidence of each person's sacrifice toward fixing the economy. Perhaps each type of sacrifice could be signified by a color. People who wear green bracelets might be honing their job skills. People who wear purple have hired one more employee than needed. People who wear blue have volunteered to be mentors, or unpaid tutors, and so on. The bracelets would be optional, of course, just as they have been for the Livestrong fight against cancer, and that program has been hugely successful. As president, I would borrow any system that works.

With my concept of making our sacrifices visible and universal, everywhere you go you'd see people wearing their colors on their bracelets, or lapel pins, or bumper stickers. And you'd have something to discuss with every person you meet. Our most basic human urge, after survival, is to be a part of something larger than ourselves. Technically, we're all part of a country, but it usually feels as if we're nothing but a bunch of people acting selfishly. As President, that's the only thing I'd try to change. I'd work on making the nation feel like a group effort. And to do that, sacrifice has to be both universal and visual.

Compare the shared sacrifice concept I just described to our current system that involves identifying particular groups and asking them to sacrifice for the benefit of others. So far, that hasn't worked. And it pulls us farther apart.

This concludes my persuasive argument. I described a simple method by which my name could be safely associated with "none of the above" for president. I described a picture of shared sacrifice that sounded both sensible and appealing. And I described a practical way that every citizen can send a message to politicians that they need to shape up to remain relevant.
 
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Dec 5, 2011
Oh, where to begin.

There is a fatal flaw in Scott's argument. The astute readers of this blog will certainly recognize it (note me using Scott's own methods against him).

Is it the fact that Scott is wrong about both parties being the same? Nope. I mean, he IS wrong about that. Think of the Republican takeover in 1994. It forced Scott's hero, Bill Clinton, to the center. It brought in such things as welfare reform, and led to a balanced budget. Interestingly enough, it was led by current Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

Is it the fact that Scott's hero, Bill Clinton, could most accurately be described as a windmill, reacting to polls rather than to any sense of core beliefs? Nope. Scott seems to think that, since he has no core values, Bill Clinton will somehow gain core values and then "lead to policies that are a sensible middle ground. . ." Not hardly. He'd just hire a pollster and do what people thought they wanted him to.

No. The fatal flaw in Scott's plan is that it contradicts itself. Here's how: first, Scott proposes that government needs to change, because that's the only way we can get out of our current mess. Then he says that it isn't government that he's going to change. It's the mood of the people he's going to work to change.

Well, wait a minute. If the president, as Scott says, can't do much to affect the economy (thereby giving Obama a pass), then why does changing the person at the top make any difference at all? If it's the mood of the people that matters, then the best way to do that is to get government out of their lives. Make people realize that they, not the government, are responsible for their life outcomes. The only way to do that is to reduce the reliance on government, not to change the person at the top.

Consider other attempts to have the president change the mood of the country:

- Gerald Ford: "Whip Inflation Now" buttons. Most people chuckled. Inflation went through the roof.

- George H. W. Bush: "Thousand Points of Light," surprisingly similar to Scott's idea. People chortled. Nothing significant came of it.

- Barack Obama: "Class Warfare." OK, that one did have some minor (read, "Occupy Wall Street") impact, but mostly negative (more people now associate themselves with the Tea Party than with the Occupy movement). And the president's poll numbers are now the lowest of any president at this point in his term.

Scott's self-aggrandizing efforts would be much better placed if he used his not-insignificant prestige to try to persuade people to stop thinking of the government like their parents and think of it more like a big fat !$%*!$%*!$%*! leech. The key to helping people is to get government out of their ways and let them begin to believe in themselves again.

He could start linking government power to the reduction of the people's disposable income. "Tax any one of us and you hurt us all" could be one starting point. Rather than pitting us against each other through government he could try to get us to care for each other more than we care for government power.

Here are some other ideas: as Dr. Walter E. Williams says, if it's illegal for a person to do it, it should be illegal for government to do it, to wit: redistribution of income. Scott could make a lot of good analogies for this. Make a word story about a mugger on the street hired by people to hold up others at gunpoint. The mugger takes other people's money, keeps some for himself, and then gives the rest to the people who hired him to steal from others.

Expand on it by making the mugger first demand the mugee's (is that a word?) W-4 form, and when he finds someone who makes more than the people who hired him, he only steals from those people. Scott could recall the words of George Bernard Shaw, among others, that "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."

So let's all petition Scott to drop his presidential ambitions, and use his position and persuasive abilities to do something really beneficial. If enough of us ask him to, maybe we'll be able to change his mind! You think?
 
 
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 5, 2011
Are you seriously running for President, or is this like a Donald Trump thing where you just want the publicity?
 
 
Dec 5, 2011
You need another cartoonist for a running mate. Preferably a right-wing old guy. Not too many like that.
 
 
Dec 5, 2011
If you are seriously going to run (and I hope you do, it would be good for the country and a learning experience for you), you better get some help. For example, does this blog count as an in-kind contribution? Would that violate one of rules set forth in about 10,000 pages of campaign finance regulations? You better find out.
 
 
+8 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 5, 2011
If you could get Steven Colbert to endorse you (make a joke about he and Dilbert being long lost cousins and the reason they never found each other sooner was a mispronunciation of their last names, or because of amnesia, or both). Then people will start including you in polls just for the funny heck of it, then ask the country "Why the heck not?" and start taking yourself more seriously.

You might just be able to pull this thing off. When you need a campaign manager just let me know.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 5, 2011
You have good policies, but a bad slogan. You need something more positive. Something that lifts you above the current system, not keeps you trapped below it. Something like "Adams 2012 - Unbiased leadership for biased politics".

Yeah, not perfect, but I hope you get the idea.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 5, 2011
Scott,
i've already declared my support for you presidency in an earlier comment. However, given that the president & vice president are voted in by the electoral college, we're only avoiding addressing the swindle. The purse strings are held by Congress, who are voted in by popular vote. I stand firm that the folks that got us into the current mess are the long term congressional members, and it's them (both parties) that need to go. Term limits for Congress are OUR responsibility, and it's a simple choice particularly for people who always say their vote doesn't count and don't bother.
Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy! (www.voidnow.org)
 
 
Dec 5, 2011
Forget Occupy NY/Boston/LA/etc.! No visible platform (grousing doesn't work), grossly disorganized (where was Dogbert?), no media spokesperson (where was Dilbert?), the swelling unwashed ranks of today's unemployed couldn't get their message (what was their message?).

Bottom line: the effort was wasted!

Let's turn our attention that could/should/would work if Wally were serious enough to make it happen. Think in terms of a great grassroots effort with millions of Cubicle Constituents (those still employed) getting the word out in the marketplace!

Envision the greatest write in campaign the free world has ever seen.
 
 
Dec 5, 2011
To enable a third party we really need to reform our voting process changing it to instant run-off http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting. Then you can vote for who you like without throwing your vote away / causing who you least like to win.

Fortunately reform of this kind can happen at a state level. Unfortunately dems and repubs work together to exclude third party candidates by making the laws to get on the ballots onerous.
 
 
Dec 5, 2011
I actually went and dug the voter registration form they mailed me out of the trash pile so I can fill it out and mail it in just so I can vote for you when I read the post you wrote announcing your candidacy.
 
 
Dec 5, 2011
You say that if you got elected it would be like giving the Republicans and Democrats a time out. Actually the country would be being run by a Democrat, Bill Clinton. Well actually two Democrats, Bill and Hillary. And all covered, biasedly by "Chelsea Clinton NBC News". Nice try Scott.
 
 
Dec 5, 2011
Will you accept the nomination for americanselect.org?
 
 
Dec 5, 2011
An electable third party candidate will come when the internet has become more viable as a platform for politics. We are already seeing huge upheavals in the media and news industry. Why not political parties? The current dopes are merely scratching the surface of the power of the internet.

As soon as the web becomes the main place for debate, donations and (who knows) even voting, then anyone with enough popular support can become president. It just may take another generation or so.
 
 
Dec 5, 2011
I liked where you were headed before with asking economists and other politicians to present their best case for action in a forum where you would allow for no political maneuvering, waffling or general bloviating. And calling out the 'low performers' in both parties. That's a 'none of the above' candidate that I could get behind. Serving as a proxy for Bill Clinton or asking people to sacrifice for the good of the country doesn't inspire me.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 5, 2011
When/where do we get your bumper stickers and yard signs? You are the best 'none of the above' candidates I have seen. I would also be honored to vote for somebody from my home city.

You do have another big decision to make. Who will be vice-president? Needs to be somebody like you. I would not want to have you elected and if something happened, end up with somebody like Palin in charge of the country.
 
 
Dec 5, 2011
Scott, you are in the entertainment industry (at least marginally). You have the power to make this 3rd party / non-party thing happen. Simply contact one of your fellow entertainment muckety-mucks and propose a television show that is part American Idol, part Presidential Debate. Each week a candidate gets voted off, until there is only one left standing (perhaps it could be you). By demonstrating massive vote totals each week (Or lying about them like American Idol probably does), the electorate would gain confidence that a vote for the Presidential Idol candidate in the general election would not be a throw-away vote, and you get past the chicken-and egg problem

Make it happen!
 
 
 
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