Today I am announcing that I have decided not to run for president in 2020. I am doing this, in part, to stand out from the crowd. But there are many other reasons, beginning with the fact that the country really doesn’t need an old white guy in the Oval Office who has not previously been elected to anything.
In reaching this conclusion, I weighed several factors. I have no interest in conducting a listening tour through Iowa or New Hampshire; it’s still pretty cold in those places this time of year. Also, I have determined that I don’t have a single political adviser. Or a speechwriter. And my donor base is nonexistent.
Name recognition, too, would be a problem on the stump. I acknowledge that I’m not well known by voters outside my state — let alone in my immediate neighborhood. And though I have traveled widely, I confess never having set foot in Hawaii or South Dakota. That’s seven electoral votes I probably couldn’t count on.
Then there’s the matter of the relentless media scrutiny that is inevitable in a national campaign. The failure to receive my college diploma until I paid a $5 parking ticket in 1969 was an oversight, a thoroughly innocent memory lapse. But some aggressive snoop from The Washington Post or The New York Times, bent on winning a Pulitzer Prize, no doubt would make a big deal of that.
My international agenda might be another drawback. I took a Russian history class in college. But it covered ancient Russian history, and I didn’t exactly ace the course. Same with a “Power Politics” class. That was mostly about the 1930s and 40s. In 1991, I was in Cuba and saw Fidel Castro several times, but we never spoke. Besides, he’s gone now. So I’d have to get up to speed on a lot of things.
Economic policy: I read the Ron Chernow biography of Alexander Hamilton, founder of the nation’s financial system, before it inspired the smash Broadway musical, but I can’t say I possess much fiscal savvy. What’s a bitcoin, anyway?
Nevertheless, I believe I’m on the same page as many of my fellow Americans regarding several pressing matters. I think the NFL has to figure out a way to substantiate pass-interference calls when the Super Bowl is at stake. I advocate the Oscars’ no-host format. I ascribe to no specific political ideology, though I do empathize with the semi-Libertarian tenet that you can do anything — but don’t step on my blue suede shoes.
Bottom line, though: A campaign is just too daunting. Too exhausting. All those babies to kiss and selfies to pose for. All those “spontaneous” drop-ins at diners, interrupting folks just trying to eat their pancakes in peace. All those debates, mixing it up with a fair number of blowhards trying to one-up each other with tales of humble upbringings, pulling up bootstraps and walking miles to school in the snow.
And the good campaign slogans already have been used. Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too. He’s the One. Happy Days Are Here Again. A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage. The People’s Choice. Where’s the Beef? I considered “He Means Well,” but it sounds a bit wishy-washy.
It would be cool to go on “Meet the Press,” though. And it would be fun to have, you know, a lawn sign with my name. But, no. I’ll leave it to others.
Vice president? I’m not seeking it, I’m not requesting it. I don’t expect it to happen.