People keep asking if I'm really running for president or just joking. I'm not running in the sense of wanting the job. Being president looks hard. My current job is far easier and it pays better. I can work in my pajamas, and my risk of assassination is relatively low. It would be more accurate to say I'm like your emergency option for president, in case the major parties are offering you nothing but a guaranteed slide toward economic doom. As a service to my country, I offer myself as your only viable alternative.

I will assume for now that the pundits are correct, and Obama will face Romney in the coming election. Both of those guys are smarter than I am. They're also more experienced. They're taller, better looking, and they have excellent hair. They also have much, much better character. So why would you vote for me? Let's run through the reasons.

Definition of Insanity: They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Voting for either Obama or Romney will give you the same government you have now, more or less. I might be a worse president than either of them, or perhaps far better. The only thing you know for sure is that I'd be different. So if you think the path we're on is leading to certain economic doom, your smartest strategy is to try something - anything - different.  The major parties will make sure your only choices are more of the same. Even another independent candidate will be some version of the same thing.

Public Debate: I'll host televised public debates on our domestic policy options, in an entertaining fashion.  And I'll interrupt and humiliate participants who ignore the known facts and the best science. I'll make it my job to provide the public with useful information, in proper context, and free of politics. You won't get that from the other candidates. In today's world, voting and guessing is almost the same thing. The major political parties have a strong interest in keeping voters ignorant. I'll change that.

Revenge on Congress: According to the polls, most of you think Congress needs a kick in the ass. Neither Romney nor Obama are likely to do much about Congress except gripe about it in a general way. And neither man will complain about his own party. After I finish a few of my public debates as President, I'll go after individual members of Congress that are favoring politics over the facts. I'll bring accountability to Congress if I can. At the very least, I'll shine the light of shame on the worst cockroaches in both parties and make them scurry. You'll enjoy watching it.

Smaller Government: If you like Ron Paul's ideas for smaller government, and Paul doesn't end up in the race, I'm your next best choice. I'll come up with a blueprint for reducing government by at least half in a generation. In some cases that means using technology in smarter ways. In other cases, we can test the elimination of federal government functions in selected states and measure the results. No one will disagree with a gradual and rational plan to shrink government over a generation. Obviously Congress can thwart any long term plan, but doing so will put politicians in the position of voting against an established blueprint for smaller government, and that would be politically dangerous. I know that Ron Paul supporters would like some sort of quicker slashing of government, but realistically, it has to be a gradual process.

Foreign Policy: Foreign policy will be about the same no matter who you elect. I don't second guess President Obama because I don't have access to the secret information he sees every day. You probably shouldn't base your vote on foreign policy because you don't have access to secret information either.

Budget: The first of my public debates will be on the topic of how much federal debt is too much, and whether raising taxes helps or hurts in the long run. I won't support any budget or tax plan until the majority of interested citizens understand the general economics of government debt, and tax policy, and agree in general on the best path forward.

If the budget debates don't create a useful consensus, I'll support what I call the Default Budget Plan, which involves a 10% increase in every federal tax and a 10% cut in every federal budget area. That plan would be painful for everyone, and that's the point. I'll challenge Congress to come up with something better.

Scandal: I will stipulate in advance that any rumors you hear about me, scandalous or not, are 100% true. In reality, probably only half of them will be true. My advice for you is to assume everything you hear about me is accurate.  If you believe I once murdered a hobo, but on the other hand, my idea of televised public debates is a good one, I'm still your best choice for president. I'm not your role model.

Religion: If you want a president who promotes freedom of religion, choose a non-believer such as me. Think of it like a eunuch guarding a harem. I won't try to convert you to my belief system because I don't have one. Some of the people I respect the most are believers of one sort or another. I'm in favor of whatever works in your personal life. But I prefer science over belief when it comes to government.

War on Drugs: Both Romney and Obama will waste huge amounts of your money on the war on drugs. You don't want your neighbor's kid to do drugs, but if he does, do you want to pay your hard earned money to put him in jail? I'm guessing no.

Supreme Court: Some people say the only real difference a president makes is in his or her choices for the Supreme Court. I'll nominate qualified people who are likely to mirror the majority opinion in the country in terms of political leaning. I wouldn't try to pick judges that matched my own views. So if you want to influence the Supreme Court, get to work influencing your fellow citizens. I'll even host some public debates on topics such as abortion and privacy and whatever else is a hot button. I'll help the country decide what sort of Supreme Court nominees it wants and then I'll follow that lead.

That's what you'll get with me as your president. I hope you don't like what I have to offer because I prefer the job I have.

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +242
  • Print
  • Share


Sort By:
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 17, 2012
Phantom II: NAILED IT!!!
That analysis is spot-on. Absolutely everything in there is priceless.
I was kinda hoping for a spot on the cabinet, but I admit that Phantom II needs to get first dibs.
Scott, hire him!

SUPREME COURT: My only correction. The Supreme Court should not reflect the whims of the people (can you say "Jim Crow?"); that is also how dictatorships evolve (think Third Reich). It shouldn't matter how justices feel about issues, as long as they understand that their job is to interpret (not make) laws. We're supposed to have separation of powers: congress writes laws, presidents sign/veto them, and courts determine whether they've been broken. Their own opinions on abortion are irrelevant under the law; they're only supposed to interpret what's been written (think C. Everett Koop). Appointing justices who understand this (and Constitutional limits - e.g. Interstate Commerce Clause) is the best way to shrink government bloat.
Jan 14, 2012
I would totally vote for you. You would make a great protest vote.
Jan 13, 2012
Thanks for your kind comment, RavenBlack. While I'm not in Scott's league, I do occasionally have flashes of slightly-above-mediocre. Glad you enjoyed my post!
Jan 13, 2012
OK, I'll go along with the joke.

Since you obviously have virtually no idea how government works, nor how politicians make policy, you need a political advisor. Since I am equally unqualified, I hereby appoint myself to be your political consultant and advisor. Of course, since I have about as much chance of being your consultant as you do of actually running for president, I'd say I have the job. I know that seems contradictory, but you need to be able to talk out of both sides of your mouth to succeed in politics. Consider this my first bit of advice.

So as your consultant, let me explain some realities of political life and policy to you. Knowing how things work may help you in your non-quest to become leader of the free world. I will cover each plank in your platform and give you my worthy advice.

Definition of Insanity: as you are well aware, different is not necessarily better; it's just different. That's how we got Carter. That's how we got Obama. While it's a totally idiotic proposition (vote for me because I'm not them, ta da), it has worked in the past. So I'd keep it in. As a matter of fact, it should be pretty much all you talk about.

Public Debate: In general, a really good idea. Remember, more people voted for American Idol than voted for president (true). However, you have to give the impression of being really, really serious while you're being entertaining. Gravitas is important. So is having the best hair, so I'd suggest you consider Hair Club for Men. No offense. But you need more hair.

However, nobody likes a know-it-all, so your idea of educating the public versus keeping them ignorant is not the best approach to the campaign. After you win, you can educate them, but if you try to do it too early, you'll get dumped.

Revenge on Congress: You're a little late on this one. President Obama has already done that by deftly bypassing that troubling old Constitution and acting like Dictator-in-Chief. Obama's answer is to just ignore them (Congress) and charge on ahead. Instead of separation of powers, he's brought us Hugo Chavez II. That's probably your best bet, too. One man's ideas are always better than either the supreme law of the land or the combined knowledge of 300 million people. Particularly if the man doing it sounds really, really smart, appears to care deeply about everything on earth's welfare, and has great speechwriters to fill up his teleprompter. Since you're the smartest man in the world, there's no doubt your benign dictatorship would be in everyone's self-interest, so I'd suggest taking the Obama route. Just don't tell anyone you're going to do it until after you're elected. Just like Obama.

Smaller Government: Good luck with this one. One of my favorite books on sales posited that there are three major buying motives: fear, self-aggrandizement, and something for nothing. The first one of those (fear) is what government uses to get you to give up your liberties and freedoms. An example: If you don't accept a toilet that doesn't have enough water to flush properly, you'll be directly responsible for killing baby harp seals. And nobody wants to be responsible for that.

The second buying motive (self-aggrandizement) is what government uses to get elected. Especially Democrats. They surround themselves with Hollywood celebrities, and then infer that you, too, will be just as cool as Brangelina if you vote for them. You, being a celebrity already, can just say they'll be as cool as you if they vote for you. That should work.

The last one (something for nothing) is why you're not going to be able to shrink government. Too many people depend on it rather than on themselves, and therefore give lip service (but not action) to shrinking government. I mean, 40 million people are on food stamps. That's almost four times the number of people considered in poverty in this country. So good luck with that. However, it does sound great on the campaign trail, so keep saying it.

Foreign Policy: You aren't going to get away with that excuse (I don't know the secret stuff) because if you become a real candidate, which of course you won't, you will be given an overview of all that secret stuff. So I'd pick another excuse for that one. Maybe like John Kerry, you can say, "I was against that war before I was for it," or vice versa depending on public opinion. Good luck with that one as well. I'd drop this one from the platform.

Budget: I guess you haven't heard of the Supercommittee, or maybe you forgot about it. Default plans don't work, because they're like giving your kids (which you don't have, so just trust me on this) your tenth ultimatum about the same thing ("OK, kids, this time I REALLY mean it!).

A far better approach is to tell Congress that you'll go on TV nightly and weep uncontrollably over their inability to reach agreement. That way, you'll get a lot of sympathy and your poll numbers will climb, particularly among women. And men, too, who even though they'll secretly think you're a wimp, will realize that Lysistrata is just around the corner if they don't vote for you. You're welcome.

Scandal: Run as a Democrat. Scandal doesn't matter to them. Look how Democrats love that impeached, admitted liar and philanderer and disbarred ex-President Clinton. As a matter of fact, you should go out and admit to all scandals now, whether or not they're true, and then publicly repent. People feel really good about themselves when they forgive some celebrity they don't know for doing something they'd like to do themselves. Self-aggrandizement again. Use it. It works.

Religion: Stay away from this one, if you can. Atheists aren't popular as presidential candidates, even among atheists. Something about people being comforted by a candidate who believes that he or she may someday have to answer for his/her actions to the Supreme Creator of the Universe. They think that a president who has the thought that God might get upset at them will temper some of their baser inclinations. Atheists, many believe, may have no such compunctions. Picture this: Citizen Jones reflects on Atheist President Adams. Jones thinks, "What happens if the First Lady yells at him, and Atheist President Adams, hoping to take her mind off his shortcomings, nukes Bosnia?" That fear thing again. My advice: learn how to fake it. Lots of others have.

War on Drugs: Your position is too libertarian. You need to do this AFTER you're elected, while saying the exact opposite BEFORE you're elected.

Look at President Obama again. Does he want our borders to be secure? Hell, no. Does he SAY he wants our borders to be secure? You bet. See how easy it is to lie? Lie: elected. Truth: defeated. Any questions?

Supreme Court: You've got this one all wrong. Sorry, but it's true. Someone has to have the guts to tell you when you're wrong. That's why I hired me.

Here's the truth: it doesn't matter who is on the court. Politicians consider the Constitution to be a quaint document that doesn't really matter any more. Sort of like your grandmother's opinion of premarital sex. Besides, how many cases do they really take on? Roughly 150 per term. How many new laws and regulations are passed each year? Hundreds of thousands. You do the math.

Moreover, how long does it take for a case to make it to the Supreme Court? Just this side of forever. So use the Obama method: just ignore that damned Constitution thingy. Do what you want. By the time the court makes a ruling declaring one of your actions unconstitutional, you'll already be building your presidential library. All the Supreme Court really does is put on a show that allows people to pretend that there is some teeny tiny bit of limitations on the federal government's power. As if. P.T. Barnum comes to mind on that one.

So don't even bother mentioning this in your platform. Waste of breath.

I'm glad to be your appointed-by-me political advisor. As far as I know, I'm the only political advisor ever who would never vote for the candidate I'm advising. Nothing personal. But just know that I'm there for you. I can't wait until we open our campaign headquarters in Pleasanton. How about that building across from Stacey's?

Jan 13, 2012
"I'll shine the light of shame on the worst !$%*!$%*!$% in both parties and make them scurry."

You could start now.

"You'll enjoy watching it."

Yes we would.

Jan 13, 2012
Dilbert for Presidnet! You've got my vote!
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 13, 2012
I may vote for you if you stop repeating that "definition of insanity" meme. It was never part of any serious definition of insanity and it doesn't even make sense.
Jan 12, 2012
I see from all that you said in this blog that another reason for me to vote for you is that you are obviously "420-friendly"... Cool, man!

I'm voting for you! But wait... You're not just lying to us like all the others, are you? Doh!
Jan 12, 2012
And what I mean on foreign policy, is specific "defence policy". I'm sure there are quite a few foreign policy matteres you could babble about, to apease your constituency.
Jan 12, 2012
Your foreign policy is on spot... Too bad the average person dosent understand that.
Jan 12, 2012
"I'll host televised public debates"

You don't have to be president to do that. I'd watch the show. You could do it as web only if you can't find an interested channel.

[I could do the crappy version now, and it would have the save viewership as this blog. I'd need to be president to do the awesome version that everyone wants to watch. -- Scott]
Jan 12, 2012
Fcuk you Adams! You're hired!
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 12, 2012
PRICELESS, yet this will all go unheeded.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 12, 2012
You say: "My current job ... pays better." But you forget, being President is like being a stripper in that although they may work for minimum wage every night they go home with $1000 in cash. Presidents' income is mostly under the table and tax free.
Jan 12, 2012
How do you know your foreign policy argument (..."shut up, you don't know the secrets"...) doesn't apply equally to domestic affairs?

If you did apply that argument to domestic affairs don't you think you'd come across as some kind of conspiracy theorist?

Or maybe you could drop all that CIA/Pentagon/Area51 nonsense and accept that the public can actually have valid views on foreign policy...
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 12, 2012
Scott, Am I drinking too much Nyquil because I'd swear it was you that used to advocate voting as a complete waste of time?
Jan 12, 2012
So you've already decided that the government needs to be cut in half?

What's the rationale?
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 11, 2012
Are you sure you are truly a non-believer who will not "try to convert you to my belief system because I don't have one"? Most (left wing) non-believers I know are actually very religious - they are consumed with guilt about their sinful lifestyles, they furiously try to evangelize carbon sinners, they seek to legislate morality (smoking, trans-fats, etc), they preach apocalypse (global warming and all the other prophesies of doom highlighted by Malthus, Ehrlich, etc) and they insist on using tax dollars to build their temples of righteousness (trains - commuter and high-speed.)
Jan 11, 2012
What's the worst that could happen?

We could be looking at the Secret Service's ultimate challenge -- a campaign between a hellbound Mormon and a hellbound "secret Muslim". Every anarchist Christian fundamentalist between Idaho and Florida could be topping off their U-Hauls with diesel fuel and fertilizer for this campaign. Every earthquake, hurricane and tornado this summer could be blamed on these candidates. Jerry Fallwell's head is being stuffed with dynamite as we speak.

If Obama destroys Romney in the debates, is elected and then shortly thereafter assassinated -- we are left with Joe Biden. Who would Joe Biden look to for advice if he was Prez? Is it too late to insinuate Bill Clinton into that role? Is Joe Biden's hair so bad that he would be an ineffective leader? Are we screwed for another 4 years?

Jan 11, 2012
you know what? I'm about ready to get on board w/you! even though I know you've said you'll just proxy Bill Clinton & even though I see him as starting (or at least accelerating) us down the road of Goldman running treasury & the fed at least he does posses the intelligence to learn from his mistakes & is at least capable of formulating (or at least recognizing) solutions...

what will you do about the goldman/treasury/fed/sec hydra? give me a good answer to that & I'll actively campaign for you!
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog