Someday, I will, I don’t have any doubts about that. Probably just local office, but that’s good enough. Still, I have to say, if that Americans Elect thing is still going, I’d have no problem running for president in 2016. Do I have any illusions about winning? Hell no. I wouldn’t even get 1% of the vote. But that wouldn’t be my goal. No, what I’d want to accomplish would be to get positions out there and into the discussion that people actually give a damn about. More important? I’d be honest. Those who know me understand what that really means. My honesty? It’s a brutal honesty, to be kind.
First thing I’d do is post the limitations of the executive branch on my web site, and promise to abide by those limitations. I wouldn’t ram legislation down the throats of the American public (like the Affordable Care Act, which pays off insurance companies who are, right now, sticking it to everyone I know who’s being forced into buying their product.) Nope, not going to happen on my watch.
Setting foreign policy. Yep, that’s in the job description, and that’s what I’d do. As well, I’d axe the Secretary of State and have my VP handle those duties. If he’s my right-hand-man (or possibly woman), that’s who I’m going to make policy decisions with. So, that’s going to be who I let handle the duties of Secretary of State. There. One government position eliminated (at least for 4 years), and that money would go right into paying off the deficit. Or, at least, paying it down.
I wouldn’t be on TV every week giving interviews or holding press conferences. I’d be, you know, working. Doing my job. I’d give the weekly YouTube update to the country, but that would be about it. Also, I wouldn’t travel much. My job, first and foremost, would be here, so unless it was absolutely necessary, here is where I’d be.
Promises. I’d only make promises I could keep. And, I’d only make promises worth keeping. I wouldn’t go around the country for ten months telling people how my first order of business would be, say, closing Guantanamo Bay, and then not follow through. If I promise that I’m going to put policy info up on the web and give people 30 days to weigh in? I’m going to listen to what they say. After all, it might be my job to sign on the dotted line, but if you’re selfish in that job? You’re a failure. The country doesn’t belong to you. You’re nothing more than a representative of the people you serve. And I think that’s largely been forgotten. But I guess when it costs you a billion bucks to get the gig (even if it’s not your own money), you might start feeling entitled. Not me. Every job’s a privilege, regardless of the paycheck. I don’t think I’ve ever had a boss who’s been disappointed with my effort. I’d want to leave office feeling the same way, despite partisanship, when done. If the only thing about my time in office everyone could agree on was: “He worked his ass off for us”? Fine by me.
Being honest means no tap-dancing around tough issues, either. At least once a month, I’d walk into the White House briefing room and give my press secretary the morning off and just handle questions on-the-fly. The press would ask, I’d answer, simple as that. And, I wouldn’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” I don’t understand why every president thinks they need to know everything about everything whenever somebody asks a question. It’s a big freaking planet. Political junkie that I am, I couldn’t tell you right now who the top dog is in Denmark or Thailand. So what? This is a job, it isn’t a trivia game. You don’t get bonus points for memorizing the name of every world leader the way kids have to memorize the state capitals. If, during my campaign, some TV talk show host started to ask me to name certain world leaders (as happened in the Bush/Gore election cycle), I’d answer thus: “Go pound sand. You think that’s going to help the American people? Me knowing how to pronounce the name of the leader of Sri Lanka? Come on, get a clue.”
On hot button issues, I wouldn’t back down and I wouldn’t mince words. Picture this happening during my campaign:
“Mr. Monks, what’s your stance on abortion?”
“It’s Joe. And abortion? I’ve never had one.”
“No, sir, what I’m asking is, what’s your position on abortion?”
“Well, it’s still Joe, and I’m not going to have one, either. Since you want to hear something, though, how about this. I’m not running for Supreme Court Justice. Abortion’s legal, my office wouldn’t have anything to do with changing that one way or the other. If I could run for Supreme Court Justice, that’d be a great question. Why don’t you save it for then, just in case we begin electing those guys.”
Cable TV would eat that up, no? Or how about this on live television:
“Mr. Monks, What do you plan to do about ISIS?”
“It’s Joe. Didn’t you hear me tell the last guy? Okay. ISIS. How about we take a page from the Reagan/Russia playbook. We win, they lose. End game? No more ISIS.”
“Are you saying you’d use the military to battle ISIS?”
“No, let me make myself clear. I’d let the military run wild, with the goal of exterminating ISIS like cockroaches. You’ve seen the work of ISIS. Beheadings, their crimes against women, it’s a long list. I’d be happy to be the president responsible for peaceful Middle Easterners 20 years from now asking, ‘What was ISIS?'”
Think you’ll hear that from anyone in the 2016 campaign? Think you’ll ever hear a politician saying that while running for a major office? Picture this:
“Mr, uh, Joe. Where else would you use the military?”
“See? You’re getting it now. Where else? I don’t plan on using the military anywhere. In fact, I’d like to bring some guys home. Some of the guys in South Korea? Let’s bring a bunch of those guys back so they can spend their paychecks here. We’ll send some subs to float around in the area and if North Korea wants to saber rattle? Let ’em. I plan to ignore them. But if they act out against our friends in South Korea? It won’t require men on the ground at tip-of-the-spear. If something happens, then all those guys come home. It’ll be death from above, and death from the seas, and we’ll put our bomb makers to work on some new toys our aircraft can drop on North Korea until we eventually hit their leadership. We’ve got expensive satellites, we should be able to see any troop movement, and wipe them out with drones and Stealth bombers and sub-launched missiles. I’ll turn North Korea into a video game for our men in uniform, and in the afterlife, North Korea’s leadership can pal around with ISIS.”
Think that might get me a couple of votes? I think so. Not enough to win, but enough to keep getting me on TV to talk about the important things, like taking the roadblocks out of the way of American small business so we can kick start the economy and stop handcuffing entrepreneurs the way it is now, with over-regulation and fees and ridiculous business disincentives.
Finally, who wouldn’t want to see this:
“Joe, will your campaign be taking money from big oil?”
“Hey, you’re from MSNBC, aren’t you? You, you call me Mr. Monks. Or better yet, Sir.”
“Uh, okay. Will your-“
“No, no, I’m just kidding, relax. Big oil? I won’t take money from anybody, that’s what overzealous legislators do to all Americans. Will I accept donations from oil companies? No problem doing so. But I won’t be taking any names. Donating will never equal access. I don’t plan on ever knowing who gave what to this campaign, and companies that think donations will get you some sort of payback down the road? Give your money to one of the other candidates. The last guy promised transparency and it was one of the most closed, information-controlling and access-limiting administrations in history. If I win the political Lotto and get in, everything – and I mean everything – will be out in the open.
If we plan on a sneak-attack on ISIS? No, clearly things like that won’t. But if I’m talking with congress about them getting a new education bill going to make sure every kid in High School has an e-book reader so we can save on textbooks? You’re going to know about it. Like you do now. If I’m going to talk with the EPA about the best place to locate a new refinery, I’m going to tell everyone, like I just did. If I’m thinking about sending one of the Secret Service guys out for McDonald’s? You probably won’t hear about that. But then, I’m not the kind of guy who sends people out to get me food. I’d get two or three of ’em and we’d just all go, show up unannounced, and order. Then we’re going to sit down, with the people I was elected to represent, wave and say Hi, and eat.
Because that’s what real people do. Somebody posts a pic on Facebook of me with special sauce running down my hand? That’s life. I’m not going to worry about the small stuff. I’m going to worry about the big stuff, and hope every day results in the next day being better for everyone.”
Honest. That would be me. Right down to my soda.