By: Malcolm Mayhew
Well, the big Election Day is rapidly approaching, and I think it would be an understatement to say that the presidential race has gotten fairly contentious. Naturally, the big issue is the economy, with one side promoting stimulus and the other side in favor of cost cutting. Of course, there are other issues, and one in particular is the voter ID law controversy. In order to vote, it would be necessary to show some sort of government issued identification. Some states are already requiring it.
Now I really don’t have a problem with that requirement. In fact, if Abraham Lincoln were to suddenly materialize, I bet he’d also be OK with it. But here’s what scares me. If old Abe were to ever sit down and spend about five minutes with me, or any other average voter for that matter, he’d realize what this country really needs is a voter IQ law. And for good reason.
You see, almost 35 percent of the American electorate thinks Mr. Lincoln wrote the Bill of Rights. When surveyed, only 10 percent of American voters could identify John Roberts as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. And more than half of those had to Google it. I was one of them. But what’s really sad is that only 49 percent could name all three branches of government. And those were elected officials. I am not making that up.
I just hope it never comes down to having to pass an exam just to vote. I never seem to do well on tests. Even the relatively easy ones make me nervous. For me, the hardest part about the driving test was escaping before the car filled up with water.
Seriously, the complexities of what would turn the national and global economies around are too hard for most of us to grasp and even more difficult to implement. Why do you think we’re in this situation? Unfortunately, the handful of experts who might actually understand the economics is too boring to get elected.
Anyway, the higher-ups at Fort Worth, Texas magazine told me to drop whatever I was doing (sorting my Valpak collection) and share my thoughts on what it would take to win in November. I didn’t have much time, so I got busier than a Mayan making a bucket list. Now, I can’t predict a winner, but after having watched the election process for a number of years, I did come up with several criteria that would put the odds in a candidate’s favor.
1.) Go very light on the facts and very heavy on the promises. Of course, some people would scoff at the notion that a presidential candidate might compromise his principles just to get elected. After all, the yearly salary is less than the minimum NBA salary. That’s true. An NBA rookie makes $73,000 a year more than the President. That may seem outrageous, but in all fairness, not one President has ever mastered the crossover dribble or executed a halfway decent finger roll.
But it ain’t the salary. It’s the perks. Consider this: Aside from the $400,000 a year salary, the President receives a seven-figure expense and travel account. Plus, he has complete access to a specially equipped 747 jet, as well as other planes, helicopters and limousines. The President also receives free medical, dental and health care during his residence in the 132-room White House, which, by the way, is equipped with a swimming pool, bowling alley, private movie theater, tennis courts and a staff of servants. In addition to all of these benefits, the President also receives physical protection from the Secret Service. I imagine a rough value of those kinds of amenities is a little over $100 million a year. For that kind of money, I’d pretty much tell you anything you wanna hear.
2.) Have two syllables in your last name. To date, there have been 19 of those presidents, 12 one-syllable presidents and 12 three-syllable presidents. Only Ike had four.
3.) Try to be born in late January or early February. Those born under the sign of Aquarius have won 11 presidential elections. However, Pisces (Romney) has won eight, and Leo (Obama) has won five.
4.) If it’s a tight race, make a last second promise to a large special interest group. For instance, the legalization of marijuana. That could be the tipping point. Think about it. How many registered voters out there are sick and tired of instinctively flushing a toilet every time they hear a siren?
By: Malcolm Mayhew