One man’s quest for the Oval Office | Pat Cashman

I suppose this is coming a bit late in the game, but I don’t have much going on right now — so I have decided to run for president.

  • Wednesday, September 24, 2008 3:00pm
  • Opinion

I suppose this is coming a bit late in the game, but I don’t have much going on right now — so I have decided to run for president.

As I throw my hat into the ring, it must be disclosed that its size is 7 1/4. That’s about two sizes too small for me. Naturally, critics will question my commitment since I am tossing a hat into the ring that I can’t really wear anyway. But I say: “Focus not on the hat, but on the big head beneath it.”

And so hello, my friends — and my enemies. And also, ladies and gentlemen, women and men, girls and boys, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, first, second and third cousins, big and tall, short and small, Democrats and Republicans, independents and dependents, tree huggers and gun nuts — as well as infrequent bathers, serial shoplifters, poor credit risks and reformed Seafair Pirates.

As I begin this historic run, I must tell you that I am proud to say that I have completed four novels and three works of non-fiction in the last five years. That’s a lot of reading, but I did it. And I believe that’s the kind of president this country needs: one who can read.

I also have written a book — a book about the appalling lack of basic honesty and integrity in this country. That book has temporarily been removed from the bookstores while I face charges of plagiarism. But once that is resolved, I’m confident it’ll be put back out again.

I stand before you today to ask for your support, which is a word that means ‘money.’

Since you’re reading this, you’ll have to take my word for it that I am ‘standing’ before you right now. Most writers work sitting down, but not me—I stand. Well, stoop.

Some will say, “Shouldn’t you hold some lower offices first — and then work your way up over a period of years, proving yourself along the way, before running for the highest office in the land?” That may be fine for other people, but frankly I don’t have that kind of time.

Some say, I’m on a hopeless quest. For one thing, some say, the other bigger-name candidates have more money than I do, and thus are able to afford lots of TV ads. I say, big deal. If running lots of TV ads were so important, that Sleep Country woman would be the frontrunner.

The fact is, lots of people have been elected president without any television advertising. Perhaps the names George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln ring a bell?

So now, as I embark on this great effort — better late than later — I say to you that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And, of course, starchy foods.

Let me iterate — and then, reiterate — that I want to run a different kind of campaign, because I’m rather different. Even my wife says so.

I want to run a campaign where I reach out to my fellow citizens. I won’t reach out too far, because some people don’t like other folks’ hands all over them.

But my point is, that I want to run a campaign based on tolerance and understanding. And anyone who tries to get in the way of that, I will tear apart with my bare hands.

America needs a president who is strong. When I say ‘strong,’ I’m not talking about muscles or a flat stomach. I’m talking about a president who will spend his time in the Oval Office — taking phone calls, getting his photo taken, signing things and secretly recording conversations.

I won’t be the kind of president who wastes precious hours in the White House gym “working out.” Let me repeat: I will not work out as your president.

Americans are looking for change, and I will show them where to find it, in places such as the floor beneath CoinStar machines, and in the seat cushions of their sofa.

I will lead this great nation forward — then, suddenly stop, cut to the right a few steps and back to the left. Next, I will jump down, spin around and pick a bale of cotton. Then, after doing the moonwalk for a while, I’ll lurch back forward again. Our enemies will never able to figure out where we’re going.

People may ask, “If elected, what would be your first act?” I haven’t decided for sure, but it would probably be either an Elvis impersonator, or a really good puppeteer.

What a minute! I just got word that I might be shooting a new Taco Time commercial in the fall. That completely blows my campaign schedule. I’m going to have to drop out of the race. Please disregard this column.

Pat Cashman is a writer, actor and public speaker.

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