Evanston RoundTable, May 30, 2019
Not wishing to be the last American to enter the field, I hereby announce my candidacy for President of the United States.
You ask, what are my qualifications? To which I reply, my record is unblemished. I have never run for or held public office and therefore harbor no overweening ambition nor carry around any legislative “baggage.”
You ask, what do I stand for? My platform is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. My plan is to bridge all divides, cross all aisles and connect all parties. I will bring America together again.
Like you, I have observed with horror the recent deterioration of the body politic. Sadly, gone are the days when FDR and Vandenberg, Dirksen and Mansfield, Reagan and O’Neill, McCain and Feingold, Obama and Cantor and other cross-party leaders could collaborate to do the nation’s business without divisiveness or recrimination.
You ask, how will I bring together the disaffected Americans who abandoned the mainstream in 2016? I say, it is simply a matter of hearing their complaints, respecting their opinions and acknowledging their disaffection. America is still the greatest nation on earth, but in many respects we have fallen behind the standards for employment, academic achievement and home ownership that were set half a century ago.
And while we cannot turn back the calendar, we can do better, aim higher and reach further than we have done these past few years.
Thus my winning campaign slogan will be: AIM HIGHER! DO BETTER! REACH FURTHER!
Of course, as with any campaign, there will be several speed bumps on the path to victory. I don’t tweet, stand only 5’6” and sport a beard. Still, these are not insuperable obstacles. The last president that short left office in 1893. Nevertheless, Benjamin Harrison achieved a great deal in his four years: the appointment of four Supreme Court justices, the annexation of Hawaii and the signing of the Sherman Antitrust Act. He was also bearded and avoided social media.
Perhaps more seriously, my wife has informed me she will not support my candidacy and, if victorious, will not live in the White House.
But even here there is ample precedent. Bess Truman hated Washington and spent most of her husband’s presidency at home in Independence. Mamie Eisenhower rarely stepped foot in the Oval Office and Melania reportedly isn’t too keen on D.C. either.
Speaking of hometowns, my election will be good news for Evanston. The Midwest White House will be here (sorry neighbors), and after two successful terms I will return home to teach at Northwestern and write my memoirs. Additionally I will oversee plans to build the Presidential Museum and Library in a new wing of ETHS.
Finally, you ask the most obvious question: am I crazy? Of course. Who else would run for president?