By Alex Berger
I think the American public wants a solemn ass as a president, and I think I’ll go along with them. – Calvin Coolidge
Politics is like sex. You don’t have to be good at it to enjoy it. -Jay Leno
Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason. –Milton Berle
A couple of weeks ago I announced to the world the refreshing news that I, Alex (no middle initial) Berger, am joining the race for the presidency of these Yoo-nited States. I am performing this duty to give the disgruntled electorate another choice for the most esteemed job in the land (except, of course, being the quarterback for the New York Giants) and to fulfill the wishes of my father.
When I was 3, my father, very concerned about my future, decided to give me a test. He put me in a room with a baby’s picture, a $1 bill and an unbreakable hand mirror. I would become a photographer if I played with the picture, a financier if I played with the dollar and an actor if I looked into the mirror. My father left, and when he returned he saw me kissing the baby’s picture, smiling and waving my arms in front of the mirror and the $1 bill sticking out of my pocket. Pop was very pleased; his little Alex would become a politician.
Pop’s prediction suffered a setback, however, when I was in first grade. My teacher, Mrs. Braunstein, told the class how great our political process was. “Anybody in this room could grow up and become the president of the United States. You all have a chance.”
I quickly raised my hand and said, “I’ll sell you my chance for a quarter.”
“What are your qualifications and which segment of the voting public do you hope to attract?” voters want to know.
Well, I was the anchor runner on my high school four-man relay team, so sports fans will run to me. I graduated from school with a master’s degree in accounting, so that should get me the votes of academia. I worked as a postal clerk during my college years, so that ought to get me the nod of government workers. I served four years in the Air Force, so the military vote is mine. I married and had two sons, so the family-minded will be in my corner, and I was once an extra on TV’s “Law and Order,” so the art and TV World will welcome me with open arms.
I must tell you that I am running for an unselfish and noble reason. I want to form a more perfect union, a happier union, and bring a smile to the faces of millions of frowning and dispirited Americans. Many of them do not want to see President George Bush on the golf course shouting “fore more,” nor do they want to see any of the other candidates in the White House, either. So it falls on my broad shoulders to carry the political ball for a touchdown.
If elected, I won’t feel like that Arabian maharajah who had just been given a birthday gift of 200 wives. He knew what to do but not where to begin. I, on the other hand, will hit the ground running. My first goal would be to achieve a more mirthful environment high o’er our spacious skies and make it fun to face the day in the fields of our amber waves of grain.
However, there is one fly in the ointment. No, it is not that Congress can be so unpredictable. I’d never know what urgent problems about which they are not going to do anything. It is the fearful moment when I will be asked to explain my political positions on major issues. Why? Simply because I haven’t written my platform. To borrow and bend a line of satirist Tom Lehrer’s, “Those with nothing to say should keep it to themselves.” Shhh! Don’t tell anybody my dilemma.
I probably could begin by promising to implement an amendment to the Constitution that would decree the exchange of players from the Super Bowl winner to those on the New York Giants. New York needs a winning football team once again. No, no, the Jets fans would hate me. I could promise that as president I would never scare America with bad news unless I first preface it with a humorous story. No, Congress would veto it. I know — I will promise to be sincere and straightforward in dodging every question.
I am prepared to say and do whatever is necessary to defeat my opposition (except, of course, reveal my omission of a platform), and I have the will to win and the nerve to try doing it. I would be a historical president, the from Queens. So voters, pardon me as I embark on the campaign trail.
I immediately ran into my best friend, Stan, whom I tried to get to vote for me.
“No, I can’t,” Stan said. “I already gave another candidate my promise.”
“Well,” I answered, “there is a difference between promising and delivering.”
“In that case,” Stan said, “I promise to vote for you.”
A little while later, an inquisitive soul had the audacity to ask me what my platform was. Horrors! As you know, I had hoped that something as personal as that could wait until after the election, but I was well-prepared. That busybody was told that I would not divulge the contents of my platform until the other candidates ask me in alphabetical order.
He was so impressed that he grabbed my arm and gushed, “I am most sorry to have met you.”
Hmm, does that mean he is or he is not going to vote for me?
So voters, vote for me, the “feel good” candidate — this will make me feel good. My next political column will list my political platform just as soon as my press secretary, Gloria, scrounges one up.
Reach columnist Alex Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 140.