I officially announce my non-candidacy for the office of president of the United States …

kennedybrothers

As a boy growing up in Mahopac, N.Y., I had two lifelong dreams.

The first was to write for Sports Illustrated.

The second was to become president.

In my heart, I truly believed both would come to pass. I didn’t quite know how, or when, or why—I just knew that, one day, I would write for SI, and one day I would be president. Why, whenever I talk to Gary Miller, my childhood chum/neighbor, he continues to ask, “You still plan on being president?” I always say, “Yes.”

Today, however, at age 37, I am officially announcing that I am no longer a candidate for the presidency. The dream is dead.

I’ve been thinking much about this of late, ever since—in 2006—I ran for a vacant city council seat here in New Rochelle, N.Y. The person I was competing against, a good guy named Barry Fertel, boasted everything I lacked: He was experienced, polished and a longtime resident of the city. His one vice—and the thing I tried to harp on—was his disposition. He could be—what’s the word?—cranky. Anyhow, I ran my ass off—went door to door, did lunches, shook hands, sent out mailers. I knew my odds weren’t very good, but I was committed to putting up the fight. In my heart, I truly believed I’d be the better office holder.

So what happens? Two days before the election, I receive a call from a high-ranking local Democratic official, asking me to back out for the good of the party. “You’re not going to win,” he said. “So why not show unity?” I was floored—and furious. What was wrong with letting people actually vote? What harm could there be in bringing different issues to the forefront? Hence, I ignored his advice, ran the full race—and won!*

The point is, politics is bullshit. As a kid, my political hero was Jimmy Carter. An admittedly horrific president, Carter struck me as a truly decent man who made it big. He cared about people, and his words were backed by authenticity. Since the peanut farmer, however, we—Republicans, Democrats and independents—have been overwhelmed by a gaggle of men and women who are obsessed with self-promotion beyond all else; who are owned by corporations; who seem significantly more concerned with reservations at Per Se and high-class hookers than they are actual legislation bettering the people.

When I was young, the appeal of politics was the ability to inspire; to actually move people. When I was in junior high and high school, I ran for student government five times—and never won. I wanted to get people involved. That’s what it was all about. Who, in 2009, can we say that about? Who?

Today, I’ve been thinking of all this while watching the coverage of Ted Kennedy’s passing. I loved Ted Kennedy, in that his beliefs seemed to be, 99.9% of the time, my beliefs. He was a champion for the causes I believe in. What strikes me, however, is how everyone—from the most liberal Democrat to the most strident Republican—is tripping over themselves to praise Kennedy; to have their faces shown on NBC or Fox or ABC. Yes, they’re surely sad that a legend has passed. But, more than anything, it’s a friggin’ photo-op; a chance to show the constituents back home that, “Hey, I’m a national player.” Just wait a few days for the funeral, when every American politician will inch as close to Obama and Clinton and Bush and Bush and Carter as humanly possible. Not because they admire the presidents—but because that’s where the cameras focus.

* Actually, Barry kicked my ass from here to Memphis. And he’s done a fine job.

PS: Here’s a great song. Unrelated—just wanna share.

17 thoughts on “I officially announce my non-candidacy for the office of president of the United States …”

  1. What strikes me is that anyone could praise the man regardless of what he did politically.

    At worst, he was a murderer. At best, he was a man who while allegedly driving drunk was responsible for the drowning of a woman. Instead of calling the cops, though, he instead chose to go back to his hotel room and go to sleep and did not report the crime until the next day. All the while, the cops lost the chance to save the innocent young woman. He was nearly 10 years older than her as well.

    If that happens in the day of the 24-hour news cycle, Ted Kennedy goes to jail for a long time. He was very fortunate how he was able to spin the story, but the fact that he did not report the accident until he went to bed–and, according to fellow hotel guests, complained about loud music at like 3:00 A.M. night, hours after the woman was, you know freaking killed; good thing he got some sleep, though–and woke up the next day.

    Mary Jo Kopechie got to live to be 28. Ted Kennedy died at 77.

    That is a fair trade to me. Kennedy is a man who should be scorned, not honored and the quotes from everyone–from both sides–coming to defend his honor kills their credibility. If he did not bear the Kennedy last name, no one cares about the loss today.

  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chappaquiddick_incident

    Then again, you do tend not to care about facts in arguments, like most liberals. Really, you rely on subjective emotion and what you perceive to be injustices. Yet when injustices to people who do not fit in with your agendas–like the young woman here–you ignore them.

    If George Bush did the same, I cannot imagine how much grief he would get. Why does Kennedy get a pass. The public outcry over his death is indeed very concerning.

  3. Some people think the day of a famous figure’s death is the time to discuss their entire lives, good and bad. Others are more comfortable focusing on the good they did while people who truly loved them or were close to them mourn.

    I think you’ll find people who do both on both sides of the political spectrum.

  4. Joe:

    “Then again, you do tend not to care about facts in arguments, like most liberals.”

    Assuming Jeff fits the description above, I do not. I like facts.

    Keeping score, that’s 50-percent of liberals, at best, that fit your description.

    Typical conservative math.

  5. My cousin always says she was at the party the night of the Chappaquiddick incident and confirms that Ted Kennedy was drunk that night (huge shock, I know).

    My high school history teacher hated Kennedy because when he met him, Kennedy introduced his dog, Splash(google it: his dog is actually named Splash). He said it was as if he was trying to gloat that he got away with the Chappaquiddick incident.

    With that said, I LOVED Ted Kennedy as much as I could love any politician. For the last 25 years, he was truly one of the last statesman. When he was good, he was among the best that this country could hope to have in public office.

    It goes without saying that he was a flawed man and that he ate out of a silver spoon his whole life. However, his life was inspiring, he and his family admirable, and a respectable man (to people on both sides of the aisle).

    Yes, there was Chappaquiddick(hardest to forgive), all the tragic and public deaths within his own family, he and his ex-wife’s bout with alcoholism.
    He came back and made good on a second chance the last couple of decades.

    No, he was not perfect. But you could do a hell of a lot worse than Ted and cost Americans thousands of more lives than Ted did over a foolish mistake (here’s looking at you, Bush administration).

    You felt like Ted was truly FOR the people, even if being a Kennedy really does remove you from feeling like “one of us”. That entire family, if nothing else, was made up of greatly devoted public servants. They were something and meant something to a lot of people (sadly, a lot of those hopes never came true with the oldest Joseph, John, and Bobby).

    As for this comment from Joe: “The public outcry over his death is indeed very concerning.”
    Michael Jackson? Definitely. But Ted Kennedy? Really?

  6. “Assuming Jeff fits the description above, I do not. I like facts.

    Keeping score, that’s 50-percent of liberals, at best, that fit your description.

    Typical conservative math.”

    Nice sample size, pal. Also, did I say all. No I said most. You, sir, are a moron. Like most liberals.

    Liberal politicians need the underbelly of society to keep on sucking at life and not working hard. Without the low-class, they would never get votes. And, as a result, they would lose power. Thus, they try to do everything in their power to keep low-class people down, because if god forbid people could survive without the assistance of big government, what would they do to get above the rules like Ted Kennedy?

    Kennedy should have spent a large portion of his life behind bars, not serving the public. Anyone who disagrees is letting their subjective view of his politics cloud the facts of that evening. If you leave the scene of an accident and a woman dies, you go to jail. Period. The fact that he used his family power–and the Kennedys bought off the family–is a shame and proves how morally bankrupt both he was–and his family–were as people.

  7. Yeah, I’m the moron.

    You missed the point genius. I did notice you said “most,” that’s why I pointed out that “AT BEST” you had 50-percent….and in my math book, that’s not “most.”

    But, I’m the moron. I’m glad there are conservatives like you to keep me grounded in my stupidity.

    It’s comments like this, from people like you, that remind me how fortunate I am to be stupid:

    “Liberal politicians need the underbelly of society to keep on sucking at life and not working hard.”

  8. this is a sad day indeed.

    I always thought you were nuts (about the president thing)–in the best possible way.

    as for Ted, I have cried off and on all night. he was the epitome of human, flawed and inspiring, larger than life.

  9. “It’s comments like this, from people like you, that remind me how fortunate I am to be stupid:

    “Liberal politicians need the underbelly of society to keep on sucking at life and not working hard.””

    How is that not true? If government provided every one with the chance to support themselves and people were making their own money, would they need a government to support them? No, they certainly would not. Who would “choose” to pay a ton of taxes? The types of people who want big taxes and large government generally pay very little in taxes. I believe that fewer than three percent of the population pays for over 60 percent of all taxes in the United States. Thus, any argument about wealthy people not paying their fair share–when they pay so much more than to support the people who do not pay jack–is objectively absurd.

    Of course, any national government plan will never help people in the lower class. Nor do vote-seeking liberal politicians truly want it do, as again if the stuff worked they would soon be out of jobs. The bottom line is this: big bureaucratic government generally creates more problems than it solves. Politicians promise the world–“Obama will pay for my gas”–on stuff that they will never be able to deliver in order to get elected. To get power. Simple as that.

    As for national health care, think DMV at the doctor. Think health care quality going into the toilet.

    When has the government ever spent a penny efficiently? When? Name one example. Big government breeds incompetence and wild misallocation of taxpayer dollars and other resources. Instead of looking to tax people more, why not look to really allocate the existent budget more efficiently? Well, because then liberals would not get the votes that they want. Liberals need to keep that lower class with which it relies on for sustainability. The same group of people they are allegedly trying to help are the same people that keep them in business.

  10. joe…does your hate group serve refreshments at its meetings?

    Seriously…can you generalize any more?

    I’m having a similar “discussion” with another right-wing bozo who to this day thinks Obama was born in Kenya…this despite the evidence from the Honolulu Advertiser printed almost 50 years ago (that’s some pretty good planning…to create a false birth announcement, just in case the dude becomes president 50 years later):

    http://wikileaks.org/leak/obama-1961-birth-announcement-from-honolulu-advertiser.pdf

    All I ever hear from you far (out) right wingers is how people on welfare are abusing the system and don’t want to work.

    Here’s a newsflash for you…I grew up on welfare. My mother worked two part-time jobs to raise my two brothers, my sister and me.

    She didn’t smoke crack or drive a Cadillac, and she sure wasn’t lazy.

    She’s no longer on welfare, but she continues to work to this day, and my siblings and I, we’re productive members of society.

    If it wasn’t for food stamps and government cheese (damn, I can’t even think of eating that crap again), I don’t know what would have happened to my family.

    That’s why today, I don’t mind paying taxes to help others that might face the same situation.

    Sure, there are going to be people that abuse the system. That’s not just welfare, and it’s not just poor people doing the cheating. There’s insider trading on Wall Street; there’s Pyramid Schemes by the wealthy; tax evasion; and the list goes on and on. Rich people lie, cheat and steal too. And, I’d guess that’s more costly to society than the person who chooses a $500/month welfare check rather than working.

    You talk about efficient government and “liberals.” Yet, how did George Bush and his “conservative” approach do in his efforts the last eight years?

    I mean, you can’t possibly support him, not if you are a conservative.

    So, when you say, “Big government breeds incompetence and wild misallocation of taxpayer dollars and other resources,” you obviously are talking of George Bush and not “liberals.”

    True story…here’s how poor my family was. My mother didn’t get her driver’s license until she was in her late 20’s or early 30’s, and after my father ditched us for some younger blonde.

    My mother’s first car was a beat up Pontiac Bonneville. It was light blue, but was littered with patches of gray primer. My friends called it the leopard car.

    One day the radio antenna broke; it snapped right in half. Back then, replacement antennas probably cost $30-40 to replace.

    Somebody told my mother to put a potato on the end of the broken antenna. It worked. We looked silly, but we had music.

    We were on welfare, driving around in a beat-up car with a potato tuning in our music.

    I’d guess there are far more people driving around with a potato on their antenna than there are those abusing the largely profitable welfare system.

  11. Steve, your experience with poverty does not qualify as a legitimate rejoinder to an argument against welfare. It might explain why you support such policies, but that’s it.

  12. Classicist, I disagree.

    When some bozo makes a comment like this:

    “Liberal politicians need the underbelly of society to keep on sucking at life and not working hard.”

    That’s a direct slam at me and my mother, who worked two jobs to raise four kids on her own. That in itself is a “rejoinder” against such outlandish claims.

    Like I said above, there will be people that abuse the system. But, that’s no different from anyone else cheating the government, whether it’s tax evasion, over-charging, or any other crime against the government.

    I hate the generalization these amateur political scientists (and even the ones that get paid) make about people on welfare being lazy and abusing the system. All too often the comments stem from stereotypes and racism. It’s just plain ignorant.

  13. Steve,

    I think you’re making a valuable point here. Too much of modern conservative thinking is theoretical. I’m from Texas and like so many poor white people in the South, I was strangely, inexplicably against raising the minimum wage, expanding medicare, etc, etc. My family was on food stamps. My father got sick. Without insurance, we were financially devastated for twenty years. And yet there I was, a teenager listening to Rush and barking about the need for tax breaks only he would get.

    Finally, I looked around me and realized I was voting against my own best interest. I realized all the anger that was being ginned up in me was not just at some faceless mob ruining our country but against my own neighbors, my own family and myself.

    My new favorite stat is that after thirty years ago, the average CEO made 30 times the average citizen, now it’s 300 times. And where does all that additional money come from? My pocket, and yours. All of ours.

    Why is it that the states with the worst health care coverage are the ones most against fixing the system? Anger, hate, hyperbole, theory.

    Too often, people like Joe paint the “liberal” as either a poor lazy person siphoning off the system or their elite pompous patrons who use them for votes/power/to feel better about themselves. No wonder he has such hate. Nobody likes people like those.

    Steve, your experience represents far too many. Nowadays, many people who are poor consider themselves middle class. That’s how much the modern conservative ideology has molded our thinking, and it’s an awful thing.

  14. And if I might quickly add an example:

    Joe the Plumber. Kid brought up on welfare, grows up to work part time as a plumber but maintains some fantasy that he’s about to buy a plumbing company and that when he does, he personally will be clearing over a quarter million bucks a year and need the GWB tax breaks and that the we should also now cut welfare, because the people who are currently on it don’t deserve it. Not like he did. It’s insanity.

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