Every day, literally hundreds of ordinary Americans -- people just like you, except that they are imaginary -- ask me: "Dave, are you running for president again?"
As you can imagine, this is a very difficult question, and I will not be able to answer it until I have done a great deal of soul-searching.
OK, all done! Yes, I am running for president. And this time around, I do not intend to be cheated out of victory the way I was in the 2000 election, when the so-called "U.S. Supreme Court," defying the clear wishes of the American people, failed to declare me the winner, on the so-called "legal grounds" that I did not receive any so-called "votes."
No, this time I intend to win. Call me an unselfish patriot if you want, but, darn it, I want to provide this nation with leadership. "A Leader Who Will Lead, by Leading," that is my campaign theme.
I know I face an uphill battle. President Bush is a popular leader. He was visibly bulging with leadership recently when he put on that flight suit and landed in a military jet on an aircraft carrier. Oh, sure, the Democrats charged that this was just a publicity stunt and not militarily necessary, because at the time, the carrier was tied to a dock in San Diego. But as White House spokeshuman Ari Fleischer pointed out: "It was tied loosely and we didn't want to take chances."
I personally thought that it was fine display of presidential leadership, and I want to take this opportunity to remind you voters that I, too, have worn a military flight suit. Really. What happened was, about 10 years ago I spoke at a banquet for pilots of the 93rd Fighter Squadron at Homestead Air Reserve Base. After we had all sobered up (this took several months) one of the pilots, Maj. Derek Rydholm, as a "reward," took me for a ride in an F-16, which is basically a bullet with seats.
I don't remember much about the flight: We were upside-down a lot, and we kept hitting huge patches of gravity, which caused all my internal organs -- stomach, spleen, eyeballs, brain, everything -- to migrate violently down into my ankles, then back up again, but to different places.
I am proud to report that I did not throw up once. It was more like 17 times. At one point we were doing some insane multiple-G maneuver at a high altitude (I am pretty sure I saw the rings of Saturn) and I removed my flight mask to improve what we military aviators refer to as our "barfability."
Derek suggested over the intercom that maybe I should put the mask back on, inasmuch as otherwise I would not be getting any oxygen, which is an important part of any balanced diet. I remember thinking: "I don't WANT oxygen. I want to DIE." Of course I did not say that to Derek. What I said to Derek was, quote: "BLARRGGGH." Conciseness and precision are the keys to military communication.
But my point is that I, too, have worn a flight suit. Granted, they probably had to burn it, but still, I wore it, because I am big on national security. How big? This big: I am willing to invade any nation that I suspect might be hiding weapons of mass destruction, real or imaginary, starting with Syria and then moving outward in a gradually expanding radius until we reach Bermuda. So I think we can all agree that, leadershipwise, I stack up pretty well against President Bush.
"But Dave," you are saying, "what about the Democrats?"
Excuse me for laughing until I drool on your shoes, but have you SEEN the Democrats? There are something like 375 of them running, including somebody named "Dennis." Like we would EVER elect a president named "Dennis."
No, the Democrats have a stature problem. While President Bush is striding manfully around aircraft carriers, the Democrats are clustered together in "candidate forums" wherein they shout at each other about senior-citizen dental benefits in front of a nationwide TV audience consisting entirely of their spouses.
NOTE TO SENIOR CITIZENS: I'm not suggesting that your dental benefits are unimportant! As your president, I will take care of your teeth personally. You can mail them to me at the White House.
Speaking of mailing things: Many of you probably would like to support my campaign by mailing me a check. Well, forget it. That may be "business as usual" for my opponents, but it is not what my campaign is about. My campaign is about cash. To communicate my views to the voters, I figure I need $100 million. I also need some views, but first things first.
-- Dave Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald.