Or, if you don’t care that much for Fred Barnes and Thomas Sowell, try Cal Thomas for president and Newt Gingrich for vice president. Or Brit Hume and Alan Keyes. I’m easy.
The point here is to completely rearrange U.S. politics and get us back onto sane footing. It can be done. But you wouldn’t know that from reading the papers last month. It seems the conservative pols are already wringing their hands because “there’s nobody to take W’s place in ’08.”
Yeah, well, what they mean is there’s nobody who comes with megabuck backing, face recognition, government experience, a squeaky-clean record and a built-in following of a zillion voters.
OK, granted. We have no Eisenhowers. Colin Powell’s wife won’t let him run. Sen. Brownback and Gov. Huckabee pass muster ideologically but don’t have the faces or votes. McCain and Giuliani are awfully liberal. And Paul and Tancredo are, frankly, too staunchly conservative to be electable. Oh, woe is us. Would the last Republican to leave Washington please turn out the lights?
A call to form a new government
Let’s face it: We’ve been going about this republic-democracy experiment in kind of the wrong way for about 200 of our 231 years.
Now, however, if we get back on the right path, we can not only blow the liberal press (and their manufactured candidates) out of the water in 2008, we could set the entire U.S. on a healthier course for decades to come. (Note, I’m not claiming that anyone has a clear plan to halt the impending national bankruptcy. I’m offering vast improvements here, not fiscal miracles.)
Here are the three megashifts we must make:
1. Let’s get rid of the pyramidal, top-down mindset.
Let’s dump the ridiculously centralized style of governing so nicely symbolized by that all-seeing eye on the back of the U.S. buck. There are no all-seeing eyes in Washington (Masonic or otherwise) and there never will be.
We must begin to coax people away from politics as usual, which has been with us since, oh, about 1112 B.C. That’s when the Jews tired of being responsible and rebelled against God, demanding of the high priest, Samuel, “Give us a king!” (The modern-day Christian equivalent is, “Give us a pastor!”)
My friend, we have a top-down fixation. Our main delusion is that we can take some talented guy, put him at the top of our heap and let him solve all our problems for us. That’s politics as usual, and it’s baloney.
God’s plan is that we stop being so lazy, get off our fat fannies and take the responsibility of working together to solve our own problems. That’s grass-roots, Republican democracy.
2. Let’s choose candidates who are already known, trusted and liked.
Suppose your favorite newsman/commentator is Joe Scarborough. You probably know every crevice of his brain by now, and as a fan, you feel you could trust him as president to handle future unexpected problems a lot better than our recent presidents. Why? Because you know the guy.
Likewise if your favorite is Glenn Beck. Or Sean Hannity or Neil Cavuto or even (cough) Bill O’Reilly.
My point here is that today a known, trusted face can almost instantly attract the dollars and votes that a Huckabee or Brownback might need many months to accumulate. Yes, a lesser-known person could always catch fire in the polls. But on the other hand, he could be sidelined by the media. Pitching a less-known face to the public is far riskier than nominating a well-known one. Remember Ronnie! And remember those millions of “I Like Ike” buttons!
(Strong suggestion: Any TV personality we nominate should stay on the job until elections. If a shootout is at high noon tomorrow, you don’t trash your six-shooter today and practice throwing rocks.)
Bottom line: Why do even our top political movers and shakers keep insisting on a politician? Oldthink. Top-down institutionalism.
Welcome to 2007, the age of Google, Wikipedia, eBay, YouTube, MySpace, Craigslist and a billion bloggers, where an exciting idea can attract tons of attention overnight.
3. Let’s broaden the presidency.
I voted for Bush, but in some ways his presidency has functioned 180 degrees off from what we needed. The vast complexities of our world have fallen upon the shoulders of a man who likes to simplify things into understandable, defensible, brief concepts. He even states casually that decisions come easily for him. Well, I for one would prefer to know that my next president will sweat a few drops of blood in the wee hours as he wrestles with my budget and my war.
Let’s fix this intel-blocking infokink. I propose that we ask our next presidential candidate to widen his office to a ring of six or seven top minds, well-known and respected colleagues who will work and think alongside him in the White House as “associate presidents” (or whatever title you like). They should be men or women who suspect that behind every simple-looking decision lurks a host of unintended consequences.
Their No. 1 job will be to gather information widely, multiplying the president’s intel range. But they should go beyond media sources and staff reports. They should set up new, Web-based networks that will allow ordinary citizens to send ideas and suggestions for advice and action – without the risk of getting just a form letter saying, “The president thanks you for your interest. …”
JFK demanded to see every 50th letter addressed to him. Our ring of six would expand on that noble idea. Their staff’s task will be to find (not politely reject) worthwhile ideas. In other words, let’s have a true grass-roots presidency, not just a phony “Brain Trust” like FDR promised but mainly ignored after his election.
Their names should be announced well before the election, and their No. 2 job must start soon: establishing two-way communication with America, visiting hundreds of talk shows and community meetings across the country – where they will use their high-powered, in-depth expertise to educate Americans about how freedom is supposed to work. They’ll also use those opportunities to incinerate the frowzy-headed ideas now running rampant in the land.
Sorry to leave you with so many loose ends dangling this week. But if this sketchy-looking proposal catches on, we’ll have many chances to elaborate. In the meantime, you can visit my website to start the ball rolling by announcing your preference for president, vice president and members of the president’s contact ring. Speak up!