My fellow and gal Americans:
For the past few months, as I have traveled around this great nation talking about my campaign for president, the one question I have heard most often from the voters, in these troubled times, is: "President of what?"
Ha ha! Such kidders, those voters! But seriously: According to my team of policy advisers, it is now 2004, which means this November the American people will go into the voting booth and cast ballots for the leader of our nation, except in Florida, where they will become confused and attempt to produce urine samples.
But that is the imperfect nature of our political system. As the late Winston Churchill once said: "Democracy is the ... the ... (WHAM)." Winston was on his 17th glass of gin when he said this, and would have broken his nose had he not landed face-first on a member of the British royal family, who, fortunately, was lying on the floor at the time.
Yes, Winston Churchill, like democracy itself, was not perfect. Neither was Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Moses or the late Perry Como. And like these great Americans, I am not perfect, either. To quote the classic song "My Way," which I think we can all agree, as Americans, has some of the worst lyrics ever written: "Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention."
Yes, I have made mistakes. But who has not? Are you perfect? Can you look yourself in the eye and honestly say: "I have never, while high on crack, driven a bank-robbery getaway car into an elementary school?" So if my opponents wish to dredge up that unfortunate incident from my past, I say to them: "Fine, go ahead, but I do not believe the American voters are so petty and vindictive as to punish a candidate for something that happened nearly six weeks ago."
I say this because, unlike my opponents -- with their image consultants, their pollsters, their all-night sex orgies with the cast of "Celebrity Mole Yucatan" -- I trust you, the American people. I am not some professional politician in a silk suit who has never worked with his hands. I work with my hands! I am typing with my hands right now! I've tried working with my feet, but it comes out Welsh, as follows: "Wel, dyma i chi ddefaid da!" ("My goodness, what magnificent sheep!")
Yes, voters, I trust you, because I am one of you. I even talk like you. For example, when I'm campaignin' in the South, I leave the g's off the ends of words, and I use old country expressions that express the homespun wisdom acquired by rural people over years of drinkin' contaminated groundwater, such as: "Don't light a match 'til you know which end of the dog is barkin'." As your president, I will govern the nation, or at least the South, in accordance with those words, whatever they may mean.
Voters, I have the same values, morals, religious beliefs, ethnic background and number of children as you. We even have the same blood type! If I am elected president, and you ever need blood, or an organ, you just come to the White House, and I will immediately hang up the Hot Line phone, and, bam, I will give you a kidney, lung, pancreas, liver segment, whatever you need, no questions asked. Name me one other candidate, besides Dennis Kucinich, who has made that promise.
Of course, this is not enough for the so-called "news media," which, as we know, is dominated by left-wingers; or, if you prefer, right-wingers. The point is, they are wingers, and they are always nosing around, asking questions, trying to make me reveal intimate details about my personal life, such as which party do I belong to, and do I have a domestic or foreign policy. Well you can call me a man of deep moral principles if you want, but I happen to believe that even a presidential candidate is entitled to a "zone of privacy" covering his political beliefs, criminal record, recreational use of household chemicals and Internet purchases of inflatable sheep.
Because in the end, I am a man, just like you, unless you are a woman, in which case, so am I. And in the words of the great Canadian-American songwriter Mr. Paul Anka: "For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught."
I believe those words, voters, which is why I am asking -- or, if you are Southern, askin' -- for your vote. Please. You're havin' my baby. Thank you.
- Dave Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald.