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How to Become President: Chapter 6

November 1, 2009

HOW NOT TO OFFEND ANYBODY

AS a well-known great man would have said if he had thought of it, “Don’t go around offending people just because it can be done sitting down.”

People like to be remembered. This is especially true on birthdays and anniversaries, so if you’re running for office you should try to remember faces, even if you don’t want to call them names.

I used to have a terrible memory. It bothered me for quite a while, and then I met a famous man on a train. He wrote books telling people how to make other people like them. I told him how I was always forgetting to remember faces and figures, not having been brought up to know anything about pots and pans, and he gave me a long lesson.

Two years later I met him again and he came up to me smiling.

“Remember me, Miss Livingston?” he said.

“I’ll never forget you, Dr. Stanley,” I assured him.

You can do the same. And if that doesn’t work, let me testify from my personal knowledge that many a droopy candidate has been brought back to perfect health by simply taking a few bottles of Dr. Farley’s Green Ink for Pale Presidents.

So cultivate friendships. If you don’t have time to cultivate all of them, plow under every fifth one and collect your bonus.

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Little thoughtless remarks can easily do lasting damage. Like the time my brother handed a man a crisp new five-dollar bill and the man said, “It looks like you made it yourself.” My brother let him keep it for his honesty, but he hasn’t been the same since.

God is said to love the poor people because he made so many of them, and we politicians should love them for much the same reason. Where do you find twelve votes per family, in Larchmont or the Bronx? You can have your Rockefellers. I’ll take Frank Parker.

But even rich people have feelings which should be respected. For instance, I know what caused the Depression. It was caused by brokers who washed their sales and found too late that they couldn’t do a thing with them. But do I go around saying so? No. Even brokers vote, especially if it doesn’t rain on Election Day and the Yanks are playing out of town.

When you learn to make everybody happy, you will possess the golden secret of how to milk the contented voters. But do it in such a way that they won’t think you want them to vote for you just because you need the money.

They need the money, and besides, they can think up other reasons if they try.

Look at all the people Mrs. Roosevelt makes happy. People may criticize her now for doing so many outside things, but that will all be forgotten, just like the way the same people who used to talk about Martha Washington now take her candy shops for granted. Now that I think of it, have you ever considered what a great President Mrs. Roosevelt would make? It’s not just her charm and personality. She has intellect, tact, humor, and a keen sense of her responsibilities to–but wait a minute! Who am I campaigning for, Mrs. Roosevelt or me?

However, as a certain great radio comedian always says just before he goes on the air, “You can’t please everybody, so what does the sponsor go for?” The masses demand a fighting President, and that means you’ve got to offend somebody, because the way I see it, a strong offense is the best attack.

So what can you offend?

That’s an easy one. Offend the other candidates, because they’ll be too busy talking to hear you, and besides, they might not vote for you anyway.

There are many things you can say. I would suggest starting with such names as “Tool of Wall St.,” “Old Wheel Horse,” and “Party Hack.” If your opponent is young, call him a student of politics, because everybody knows the way things are what we need is a graduate. If he looks too honest, call him a visionary or a reformer: and if he’s smarter than you, you can work wonders with such things as “crafty” and “clever.” Say he rented his children from the pound, and that if elected he’ll close all the banks just because his brother-in-law is overdrawn $3.85. Just do others as you would hate to have them do you, and it’s in the bag.

So this gives you an idea, and I will close with one final tip: In writing letters, don’t start out, “Dear Sir Madam.” Be definite. People like to be one or the other. That’s why they put up those signs in restaurants and places.

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