“Who am I? Why am I here?”— Vice Adm. James Stockdale, 1992 Reform Party nominee for vice president “Am I elected yet?” — Zippy the Pinhead I’m me, and I approved what?!?! I know you’re out there asking why am I running. The honest answer is, I haven’t the faintest idea. When I started my campaign, oh, about 20 minutes or so, I was on a mission. What that mission is, I don’t remember, but it was enough to throw my ring in the hat. All I know is the reason for voting for me is “I’m good.” As Paul Simon once wrote, “My mama loves me, she loves me. She gets down on her knees and hugs me. She loves me like a rock. She rocks me like the rock of ages. She loves me.” As for my opponent, “He’s evil.” If I had a photo of him, it would show him with a mustache and goatee with horns on his head and him holding a pitch fork. My photo would have a halo over my head. Maybe a middle ages icon picture of me riding a white horse, holding a shield and jousting lance with a halo over my head. As for my political ad, it would start with my sitting in my seat by the window in a plane, descending through the clouds, then the sun shining against a blue sky, something out of Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph des Willens.” I step out of the plane, a 1947 Boeing 377 Stratocruiser flown by Pan Am. As a reach the tarmac, a throng of thousands are waiting for me, shaking my hand, throwing their babies at me to kiss. The narration begins, “Every since those dark days before frozen ice cream and fast food, America has been looking for a leader. A moral stalwart who embodies our hopes and dreams for the future. This guy (a picture of my opponent pops up), he ain’t it.” I step to the mike: “Folks, it’s a tough world out there, and it’s only getting tougher. It’s time for a change. It’s time for a true outsider. An outsider who’s so far outside, he lost his key and has to bang on the door to let him back in the house, so he doesn’t have to sleep in the garden shed again. That candidate is me. I’m for everything that’s good and pure and right. My opponent says he’s good and pure and right, but everyone knows he’s evil. He hates his pet gerbil and celebrates the Black Mass, sacrificing puppy dogs and cute little kittens. “I don’t know what to do about health care, the economy, foreign relations, taxes, unemployment or all that. All I know is that I’m good. I’m a nice person. And my opponent is evil. “People say that my campaign is negative. How can that be? I’m good. My opponent’s campaign is negative. He’s evil. As the late, great Isaac Hayes sang, ‘Some people say he’s a bad mother,’ (a group of soul singers in the background reply, “Shut your mouth!’) ‘Well I’m talking about my opponent.’ (‘We can dig it!’)” The commercial fades to a little girl in a field counting and pulling apart a daisy. Crossfade to an official sounding voice counting backwards from 10. It ends with a rocket taking off from a launch pad, followed by two astronauts on the moon planting the MTV flag. The narrator cuts in: “In his heart, we know he might. BECAUSE HE’S EVIL! (My icon pops up.) Sponsored by the committee to elect me for something. We don’t know who the treasurer is because all of the campaign funds disappeared three weeks ago.” Now for the important things, the issues. On gun control, my feelings are best described by Judge Flatt (played by Philip Bosco in the 1994 move “Nobody’s Fool”), “Ollie, you know my feelings about arming morons: You arm one, you’ve got to arm them all. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be good sport.” On the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would order out our troops immediately. And promptly send them into Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland. The weather is better. Beer is allowed, and the food is better. It also would make a good platform to take over the North Sea oil rigs. Besides, we haven’t launched a major invasion of Europe since 1944. My energy policy is simple. We have cows. According to one study, cattle produce 80 million metric tons of methane annually (www.epa.gov/rlep/faq.html). We put a hose up the front end and rear end of our cattle to recover that energy. And cow patties can be burned to produce energy. And, unlike nuclear power, the remnants of burned cow patties can used as fertilizer. And the remnants of the cow can be used for milk and meat. On gay marriage, why shouldn’t they be just as miserable as the rest of us. On unemployment, I shall take the position advanced by Ebenezer Scrooge, “Are there no prisons? ... And the Union workhouses? Are they still in operation? ... The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigor then? ... If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” On that note, I shall take my leave with these thoughts of Winston Churchill: “Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.” “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” Thank you. And I look forward to your support. “God Bless Us, Every One.” The preceding was an unpaid political announcement from the New Whig Party. The New Whigs, “Tonight we’re going to Party like it’s 1849.” Mark Schnabel is the sports editor of the Kansan. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.