Stanley Bing

Vote for me!

It has come to my attention that I am presidential timber. I mean, aren't you?

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By Stanley Bing, contributor

(Fortune Magazine) -- Recent events have demonstrated that fate, luck, and a knack for being in the right place at the right time can boost anyone into the political spotlight. This is not to say that any particular individual is unqualified for such a sudden and spectacular elevation. It suggests, rather, that we are all, in some mysterious way, equally qualified. I take this to be very good news indeed.

For while I have spent my life in business, I have always harbored a hankering for the hallowed halls of Washington. As a child visiting the marble edifices that housed the powerful figures who ran our Republic, I was filled with awe and a desire to get a piece of that action. Now, more than ever, my dreams would seem to be within reach.

The question is, Am I fit for public office? Let's look at it:

Age. Not a hindrance. One of the guys up for the top job is far older than I am, and I think he looks terrific.

Health. I can jam a hot dog in my mouth as fast as the next candidate. My drinking habits, which might have been a liability in the past, look like an asset when one criterion for success seems to be "a guy you'd feel comfortable having a beer with."

Political posts held. I've never been a mayor or governor or anything. But doesn't that make me the ultimate outsider?

Military background. Possibly a problem. My draft number was 254. I never served. I suspect that I have very little physical heroism, so it's good that it was never tested. I also look really bad in a helmet. I do support our young men and women, though. That should count for something.

Economic issues. This is one of my strongest suits, I think. I have no idea what to do about the economy, but I can make the case that I am ignorant at a very high level.

Foreign policy. I don't know a lot about it. I do have some strong feelings, and I'll consult with experts who agree with me to establish an agenda.

Temperament. This could be an issue. On occasion, when I do not get my way, I can get kind of fractious, nasty, and rude to subordinates. The people who work for me will certainly mention my little anger problem if questioned by the loathsome mainstream media. Fortunately, there are many famous players with a similar character flaw - Lou Gerstner, for example, and Bill Clinton, and even one current candidate who is now, I believe, in the lead. So why the @!%!%$ not me?

Personal history. Okay, I inhaled. And I guess you could find a few women somewhere with a bone to pick. I'm a red-blooded American with a family and personal demons just like yours. Who are any of us to judge?

Insincerity potential. Very high. I'll kiss any baby as long as one end of it is dry.

Personal appearance. It seems that this category has gained in importance as other, more cerebral ones have faded. Sourpusses like Lincoln or fatties like Taft would never make it these days. So it's good, I think, that while I'm not the cutest guy on the block, I'm no troll either. I lost 20 pounds recently and am thinking about getting hair plugs - a step already taken by one of the crop now running - and possibly bonding my smile into one gigantic tooth.

Capacity to think on my feet. My business background has put at my disposal a huge storehouse of clichés, bromides, and equivocal thoughts that make me a walking sound-bite factory. The time is now. Together we'll win. Tomorrow is another day. And I can read a teleprompter too.

Tenacity, Ambition, and Drive. And how!

Vision for America. I've got one! It's just like yours!

That's it. The whole rundown. And you know what? I like my chances! Now, who wants to be my running mate? You? Well ... what are your qualifications?

Stanley Bing's newest book is Executricks, or How to Retire While You're Still Working (Collins), available at finer bookstores everywhere. He can be reached at stanleybing@aol.com. For more Bingstuff, go to his website, stanleybing.com. To top of page

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