Sunday, October 16, 2011

Profiles in Codswallop

I announced the formation of the DAMN Party (Disenchanted Americans Marginally Nauseated).
In order to make this work I had to solicit (not in the Elliot Spitzer sense of the word) professional help in forming and establishing my brand. The DAMN Party intends to be fully transparent throughout the campaign and right up to the audit. To do this I have transcribed my meeting with the Public Relations firm that I have hired. I have nothing to hide and, if I do, you'll never find it.

“Mr. O’Dowd, may I call you John?”
“Great. Well, we’re very happy and proud that you’ve decided to hire the Bait and Switch subsidiary of Smoke and Mirrors Advertising. I assure you that we’ll do our best. In fact, I feel safe in promising that we’ll give you 100 percent. No, correct that, 150 percent of our effort. I’m sure that we can work well together in crafting a good — no, correct that, a GREAT campaign.”
"That's good. No, correct that, that's wonderful. I’m running for President of the US and trying to start a new political party. I need some professional help in putting together the right image.”
“New party?”
“Yes, I’ve started the DAMN Party — Disenchanted Americans Marginally Nauseated.”
“Marginally Nauseous?”
“No, nauseated. It’s for people who are sick of the current system. Nauseous would be the thing that makes them nauseated.”
“You say potato, John. Anyway, a new party is a great idea. You don’t have to carry any of the established party baggage. We can start from scratch and build you a new image.”
“Good, my promise is not to steal more than the people can afford.”
“Good promise.”
“My slogan is: We fit together like my hand in your pocket.”
“Even better. Are you sure that you’re a novice politician? You sound like a natural.”
“This is my first campaign and I want this job more than anything in the whole world. I’ve worked and maneuvered my whole life to go to Washington and I think I have a real shot at it this year.”
“Whoa, rein in those horses, cowboy. This is not the time or atmosphere to be drooling over a job in Washington.”
“I don’t understand.”
“There is nothing lower on the food chain than a politician, except maybe a lawyer or a reporter. The lowest of all, the bottom feeder, so to speak, of politicians is one who ENJOYS being a politician.”
“You’re the professionals. Tell me what to do.”
“It’s easy; you have to be a politician while fighting the politician image. You have to be an outsider. Someone who has no ties to Washington and the political morass that ferments there. In fact, it might even help if you don’t even know where Washington is.”
“I don’t think I can get away with that. I’ve been there before.”
“Well then, our job is to convince the people that while you may have, in fact, been to Washington, you didn’t like it. We have to convince the people that all you saw was greed and corruption and so you left as quickly as you could so that none of that filth would dirty you. We then have to convince them that your conscience started to bother you and that you feel the regrettable need to return to the cesspool. But, you feel the need to return only to do your duty to clean up the town.”
“That sounds like the sheriff in ‘High Noon.’ The people were afraid, they didn’t want his help and he really didn’t want to help, but he felt the need to fight the bad guys out of a sense of duty.”
“Now you’ve got the right idea, John. ‘Do not forsake me, oh my darling.’”
“How do I sell this?”
“Simple. We use down-home earnestness. Do you own a plaid shirt, one of those L.L. Bean jobs?”
“I live in Vermont. They issue them with your drivers license.”
“Good, and if you run short we have boxes of them in our Homespun Candidate Preparation Package. I’m sure that we have one in your size.”
“Ok, then what?”
“Vermont, huh, that's good. We use the mountain and stream backdrop. We have you sitting in a plaid wool shirt with one of those mountain things behind you and have you just talk to the camera like it was an old friend.”
“I explain my positions?”
“Are you serious?”
“Well, sure. The people need to know what I stand for.”
“You are new at this. They know what you stand for — getting elected. We have to convince them of just two things: that while you’re running you don’t really want to be elected and that you are more conservative than your opponents.”
“Sure, we tell the camera that you’re the ultimate outsider; you’re a conservative, family-values outsider, but an outsider. We promise something that we have no chance of delivering like a balanced budget or ... Wait, I’ve got an idea. How about the promise of a congressional pay cut until we get a balanced budget?”
“Congress will never go for that.”
“I know. It’s a promise without consequences, but it sounds great doesn’t it?”
“Do you think the people will believe that?”
“Heck yes. They fell for ‘No New Taxes,’ the Tea Party, Too big to fail, and that whole weapons of mass destruction war in Iraq didn’t they? We worked on the Schwartzenegger, Spitzer and Obama campaigns— Americans can be talked into accepting anything. While the pay cut idea is still ringing in their ears, you wet your lips, smile into the camera, schmooze a little and tell them that they shouldn’t send people to Washington who want TOO MUCH to be there.”
“What does that mean?”
“It’s ‘High Noon.’ You’re saying — send me because I hate the job so much I’ll do a good job fighting all those dirty professional politicians, PACs, lobbyists and insiders.”
“You want me to run on a platform of: Vote for me because I want the job LESS than the other candidates?”
“Great idea isn’t it? It may revolutionize politics.”

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