At Last!!


The news media are already bringing us news of candidates for president in the election of 2008. Modesty forbade my announcing my candidacy first, but now that there are already hats in the ring, I’ll put an end to the suspense that was torturing so many of you and announce that I will once again run for the presidency. (Actually, it will be more of a stroll than a run). Yes, I’m sure you’re relieved. This is your chance to join that mini-multitude (fifteen, actually) who voted for me last time.

Do not expect me to campaign, if, by that, you mean traveling about telling people what I plan to do if elected. In the first place, I plan to do almost nothing, and in the second, I wouldn’t spend the money traveling even if I had it. We have TV, the press, and radio; they will have to do. From time to time I may step onto my front porch to disburden myself of something that may need saying. If you would like to shake my hand, make your way to the porch, or just find some stranger and shake his. My hand is very similar.

A platform? I have none. The president is an administrator; he sees that things get done the way they should be done. He doesn’t need a "platform" to do that. If elected, I will do those things which I will have sworn to do: I will be Commander in Chief, but the only command I am likely to issue will be to bring American troops back home where they belong. I will grant reprieves and pardons, emptying our prisons of those hapless souls who have harmed no one but themselves. I shall make very few Treaties, since they supercede the Constitution that I am bound to uphold. I shall appoint ambassadors and judges. I will fill vacancies in Congress that occur during recesses; and from time to time I’ll send Congress a report on the state of the union, and recommend for their consideration such measures as I think necessary and expedient. This latter duty, in fact, will be the only one requiring more than a few minutes of my time each week. Rarely, I might convene both houses, or, adjourn them. I’ll receive ambassadors, take care that all the laws be faithfully executed (that might also occupy some of my time) and commission officers of the United States. That’s all there is to it.

It’s hardly a full-time job, and certainly not a particularly important one. There would seem little reason for the president to fly about the world, and I won’t. A weekly news conference? Why? As things are now, if the president has something important to say, the news commentators tell us what he’s going to say before he says it. If I have something to say to the country at large, I’ll send a letter to the editor.

As far as legislation is concerned, I will veto virtually everything that hits my desk, since we have too many laws already, and nearly all of them, as well as bills proposed for enactment, are unconstitutional on their face. We’ll acknowledge defeat in the war on drugs, and get out of that business. Federal aid of all types will end. The term "general welfare" doesn’t mean that the general public provides welfare for the few.

There is nothing in the constitutional list of presidential duties that directly involves foreign policy, but that seems to be generally regarded as an executive function nonetheless. My foreign policy will be isolationism. Foreign aid is a preposterous idea that will carry no weight in my administration. There will be no "most favored" trading partners; no foreign entanglements.

I’ll spend most of my time pottering around in the White House gardens, taking pictures, reading, practicing the piano and, if it can be uncovered without undue bother and expense, swimming in the White House pool. From time to time I suppose I’ll have to be the gracious host to visiting dignitaries, but, unless they’ve just come as tourists, I don’t see why there should be any visiting dignitaries. We certainly won’t encourage them to come! And I don’t plan any foreign junkets myself. I dislike eating with strangers, and eating with stuffy officious strangers, at some dreary state dinner, would be intolerable.

A lesson I’ve learned in life is that you can only plan so far in advance. Best just to start out and take things as they come, so my proposed presidential term may be more or less different from what I’ve proposed. I don’t have the answers to every question, but I can pledge that, in whatever situation I find myself, I’ll be guided by my oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and will do as little as possible to disturb the free and unfettered flow of American life.

An inaugural ball? Well, no. I’ll have a few close friends over to the White House for dinner. A parade, with jets soaring overhead, as a military band plays stirring music? Probably not. And I promise there will be no Presidential library when I leave office. We’ve got enough of those already. And there will be no state funeral. I’ve arranged to leave my body to my alma mater, so there will be a simple private memorial service, hopefully presided over by my son.

Oh, and one more thing: no political party will touch me with a ten — or even twenty — foot pole. So just write me in. And thanks!

Dr. Hein [send him mail] is a retired ophthalmologist in St. Louis, and the author of All Work & No Pay.