Thursday, August 14, 2014

Stay The Course, Mr. President

The French Foreign Minister is imploring President Obama to cut his vacation short amidst the deepening Middle East crisis.  Meanwhile, the Washington Times chides the President that he is poised to surpass Tiger Woods in the number of golf rounds played over the past five years.
My advice to our Commander in Chief is “stay the course, do not leave the links”.  We’ll be just fine without you.
In his 1973 novel, Breakfast of Champions, author Kurt Vonnegut created a fictitious novelist named Kilgore Trout.  In one of Trout’s short stories, Hail to the Chief, the people elected a chimpanzee President of the United States.  The chimp would dress up in a little blue blazer with the Presidential Seal on the breast pocket and then jump up and down whenever Hail To The Chief was played.  It was a real crowd pleaser. 

Political junkies may also remember the 1980 Presidential debate in which Governor Ronald Reagan squared off against Independent John Anderson while President Carted boycotted the event.   Carter was represented onstage by an empty chair.  Saturday Night Live spoofed this fiasco and had the empty chair winning the election.  The chair’s getaway home was the Winter Warehouse, the Casa Del Levitz.
 "That government is best which governs least" was a popular axiom in the early Nineteenth Century and it remains true to this day.  Our elected leaders may provide entertainment value but it comes at the high cost of misgovernance. Therefore, so as not appear to be picking solely on the Executive, allow me propose a program to keep our elected representatives safely away from their desks so as to minimize the harm that they normally inflict.
Firstly, I suggest that we implement a series of substantial bonuses for athletic achievements such as $100,000 for each stroke that they take off of their golfing handicap.  Other incentives may include $50,000 for each marathon completed or $100,000 for each triathlon.  We could instate further bonuses for improving their times.  We may want to reward them for extraordinary feats of skill such as scaling high mountains or rappelling down dangerous cliffs.  This should keep them busy on the course, in the gym, on the road and in training.
While this may sound like a lot of money, it is a mere pittance compared to what they squander when Congress is in session.  The savings will be enormous.
Furthermore let me propose some ideas that will pay for themselves and may even turn a profit.

The first moneymaker is a revival of the popular Battle of the Network Stars which scored big ratings in the ‘70s and ‘80s.  This time it will be Battle of the Beltway Pols, where our legislators divide into Team Red and Team Blue to compete for big money prizes in a wide array of events.  Funding would come from advertiser sponsorships as well as through licensed pari-mutuel betting.
Imagine coverage and commentary provided by the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Mark Levin, Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher.  What could be more fun?
An even bigger idea might be one-on-one mixed martial arts bouts on pay per view.  Who would not want to see Nancy Pelosi slug it out with Michelle Bachman or Ted Cruz get it on with Chuck Schumer?  To heighten local interest, a “pork barrel” slice of the purse would go to each winner’s district.  The district would be free to use their winnings as they see fit – public works, a party at Hooters or anything in between.
Of course, this will affect the qualifications that voters will look for in the representatives.  These qualities can be developed in similar state and local contests.  The fittest will survive and move onto the Federal level over time.
Such a system will maximize the entertainment provided by our politicians while distancing them from the halls of government where they do real harm.

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"Half the people are stoned and the other half are waiting for the next election.
Half the people are drowned and the other half are swimming in the wrong direction."
Paul Simon