I saved this nugget for July 4th, because for our nation’s birthday there’s nothing like dusting off an old prank. Four years ago today I launched a fictitious presidential campaign tour which sent ‘Robert’ hitchhiking and riding the rails across the country in a seventy-seven day whirlwind.
Judging by the response it received on Myspace (does anyone remember Myspace?) one wonders what could have happened if there was a campaign staff in place. For a peek at that ridiculous page click here. But then again, when you’re running mate is Irving Richard Knightly and who went by the moniker I. Dick Knightly, it’s easy to get attention, especially when you throw in the slogan: “Vote for Robert and get Dick Knightly.”
What a fun endeavor, especially when e-mails and phone calls requesting to
interview Robert started coming in. “I’ve been following him, when is he coming to our town?” numerous reporters asked. The excuse was given that no one at campaign headquarters knew where he would be next, after all Robert refused to be ‘itinerized.’
If I would have played it smarter, oh what fun we could have had. The problem was, the real Robert, didn’t want to partake in the hi-jinx. He’s a very private person who graciously lent his image and his knowledge of days spent riding rails, the location of hot and cold yards and more importantly, the location of great bars across the country to the campaign.
So starting on July 4th, 2008 daily updates were posted to the Myspace page and Robert’s wordpress page. (It looks like the blog page isn’t in existence anymore) Here’s how it worked. Using online railroad maps, I plotted the route of a campaign trial. When the railroads didn’t cooperate with a required campaign stop the solution was simple, Robert got off the train and hitchhiked. Each day our candidate would stop in numerous actual bars across the lower 48 and give his campaign spiel. When a bar was selected, I would look it up online, gather information and stories about the establishment, throw in a character or two from our little Montana town, and presto, a campaign stop was born. I learned more about dive bars and local politics across the good ole USA than I care to admit.
At the end of any given day Robert would ‘send’ his summary of days events to HQ via Blackberry who in turn would update the webpages with The Robert Blog. A thousand words is worth picture, so with that in mind, I’ve included Robert’s ridiculous platform and a random post from the campaign trail.
The next challenge? Converting the blog into a novel. My intention was to get it done in time for this year’s presidential campaign, God knows one of Robert’s lines would have been perfect for this year: “You know the country is in trouble when a presidential candidate is named after a baseball glove.”
If you’re brave, I’ve dug out Robert’s platform and a random post. I enjoyed rereading the platform, especially with four years hindsight. I especially like the idea of repaving roads white to combat global warming. And yes, each plank is named after a Star Wars Movie.
Dirty Bum Platform
Section 1: Domestic policy: The Phantom Menace
Section 2: Election reform: The Attack of the Clones
Section 3: Economic policy: The Revenge of the Sith
Section 4: Environment and Global Warming: A New Hope
Section 5: Foreign policy: The Empire Strikes Back
Section 6: Personal Liberty and Responsibility: The Return of the Jedi
Section 1: Domestic Policy: The Phantom menace
A) Infrastructure: The Dirty Bum understands that our nation’s infrastructure is in serious need of repair. We will attack this problem by creating the twenty-first century’s version of the CCC – the civilian conservation corps. If a person is newly unemployed, they will have the choice of joining the CCC or not receive unemployment insurance.
B) Health Insurance: The Dirty Bum feels it is a national disgrace that our country is the only industrialized nation not to have health insurance for its citizens. Our first priority is that each and every American will be covered, entitled and receive the best medical care available.
C) Mass Transportation: The Dirty Bum will decriminalize freight hopping and encourage people to ride the rails as a means of travel cross our great nation.
D) Immigration: The Dirty Bum will annex Mexico making it the 51st state thus eliminating the influx of illegal immigration. The annexation would eliminate the impetuous for Mexicans to cross the border and thus stem the tsunami of illegals. This move would also increase the GNP and provide greater vacation locales for the residents of the first fifty states without the need of passports. It will also redefine the deep south.
Section 2: Election Reform: The attack of the clones.
A) Who isn’t sick of stuffed shirts scamping about Iowa and New Hampshire like Amway sales reps. To the Dirty Bum, they appear like prostitutes desperate to sell their charms. It is my opinion that a penny of tax-payers money spent on this dog and pony show is one too many. If elected I will force the issue of campaign reform with the following initiatives: 1) The campaign will be limited to the calendar year of the election! I would like to see a campaign season of three months but realize that most candidates would explode if not given the time to expel the voluminous gas they generate. 2) Not a penny of taxpayers money would be spent under the auspices of matching funds. This money would be better spent funding health care. 3) I would like to see a spending cap so candidates cannot buy an office! To honor this year’s attempt, I will suggest we name this “The Romney Clause.” Mit, you would have been better off donating your money to your favorite charity! Then we could call the provision “The Santa Clause!”
Section 3: Economic Policy: Revenge of the Sith
A) The Dirty Bum party will abolish the IRS and do away with personal and corporate income taxes. The party realizes that this will place the accounting profession in jeopardy. So be it, if accountants followed their own advice, they will have enough money saved to enjoy an early retirement.
B) In lieu of income taxes, we will implement a nation sales tax. This tax will be 3%. This serves as a consumption tax and encourages savings more than IRAs, 401ks and the numerous other vehicles that create and employ redundant levels of bureaucracy
Section 4) Environmental Policy: A New Hope:
The Dirty Bum accepts that global warming is a reality and a threat to humankind. Understanding the seriousness of this issue, the party is proposing the following solutions as first steps in combating climate change. These solutions have a direct impact on the domestic economy by means of creating an estimated 22.5 million jobs while impacting said issues and our nations infrastructure.
1) A basic rule of physics states that dark colors absorb heat and light colors reflect heat. Following this tenant, we will encourage congress to fund legislation to repave all roads in the nation white, thus reflecting energy instead of absorbing, lowering the earth’s core temperature.
2) We will also promote the production an estimated 2.5 million large scale ice machines in which the product will be spread over ecologically sound areas to: 1) Promote the reestablishment of glaciers 2) Refresh watersheds and 3) Lower the earth’s core temperature.
3) Limit the hours of congressional sessions; the purpose being the amount of hot air produced during said sessions raises the atmosphere’s temperature by an estimated .13 degree Fahrenheit.
Section 5: Foreign policy: The Empire Strikes Back.
The Iraqi Crises: The Dirty Bum will look to our checkered national history to give solution to the Iraqi debacle and bring our soldiers home safely. We admit that the reservation system in the states is a disgrace, but despite its flaws, it may provide the answer for an exist strategy and secure the oil – we all know that’s why Bush invaded, lets admit it, take our lumps and do what we set out, plunder the oil fields – the Dirty Bum will create three reservations in Iraqi Proper: The Sunni, The Shiite and the Kurdish. With the warring parties secure we can go about the job and thus stabilize oil prices and thus our economy.
Afghanistan: The Dirty Bum agrees with being in Afghanistan, we have a job to do in eliminating Osama bin Laden. We will focus our military might on capturing him, reducing Al qida and the Taliban. Once this mission is complete we will withdraw and go about retooling our military for future challenges.
Section 6: Personal Liberty and Responsibility: The Return of the Jedi
Well over forty years ago, JFK uttered the words: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” I feel it is time that we as a people revisit his words. We must end the sense of entitlement that many of our own feel, express and demonstrate; we must again learn that a greater sense of self-fulfillment comes from contributing to a greater cause rather than leeching from such a cause. Under my administration, I will promote self-reliance, community spirit and national pride.
Random Post: (1st person, in the voice of the candidate)
I woke up in a cheap motel room, snuck into the bathroom, took care of business and moved towards my backpack sitting on a chair when I felt an eye on my back and imagined the other upon the door. I exhaled, knowing I was busted trying to slip out onto the campaign trail.
“Where you going?” Shari asked.
“Getting a cup of coffee,” I answered.
I should hire her to create a documentary of my campaign, I thought as the toilet flushed. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I absentmindedly watched Headline News till Shari emerged from the bathroom. Awkward, at least for me, small talk filled the air between us till we hit the C-store.
“Why is your old man in the can?”
“He’s a bit hot tempered. He beat a fellow he thought was sleeping with me.
We were just friends, nothing ever happened. Don’t worry sugar plum,” she said patting my knee. “I won’t utter a word and Moses, he don’t follow politics and anyhow, he can’t read. You’re free and clear.”
“Keep an eye on the road,” I responded. The prospect of driving closer to a man – with his wife – in prison for assault was unsettling. I was a gut check, for if elected, I would be facing crises that would require intestinal fortitude.
I considered not reporting on this fandango, no one would ever be the wiser and I could continue onward without drawing attention away from the issues, but, it would be a missed opportunity. Unlike John Edwards, who made himself look silly, I am standing up and saying that I committed biological indiscretion. I screwed up and I had sex with this married woman.
I hope you enjoyed this foray into political nonsense, somehow I get the feeling if politicians were this honest we’d be better off.