How to Become President: Chapter 7

December 1, 2009


A PLATFORM is something a candidate stands for and the voters fall for.

Too many candidates neglect their platforms, and what happens? Why, just about the time Kate Smith stands up to sing, the whole thing collapses.

But on the other hand, you don’t want to spend too much time on it. I’m having my platform run up by a movie set designer, so it will be very impressive from the front, but not too premanent. After all, there’s no sense putting a lot of time and thought into something you’ll have no use for after you’re elected.

And now without further ado I will give you a confidential peek at the Surprise Party platform, a document fo such insignificance that furture historians may well call it the Magna Carta of the Misdeal. The ideas came to me in a dream.


That we, the undersigned, being duly registered members of the Surprise Party and relatives of Gracie Allen, do hereby, hereunto and here and there being of sound mind, severally and collectively swear to serve our country on the best terms possible, and solemnly subscribe to the following principles, to wit:


The Senate is the only show in the world where the cash customers have to sit in the balcony. This is entrenched privilege, but if it can’t be changed, let’s at least have a better floor show and get a few more Senators who looke like Jimmy Stewart.

Congressmen are well paid. Why should they be allowed to make those playing cards on the side? We favor putting Congress on a commission basis. Pay them for results. If they do a good job and the country prospers, they get 10% of the extra take.



If Charles Boyer is going around with Greta Garbo, the people are entitled to know about it. But I’m not really worried about this. Our Foreign Relations will be all right so long as they bring their own bedding and don’t stay too long.

This country needs room to grow and expand. In all my own newspapers I read frightful tales of the shameful atrocities being perpetrated on our Democratic minorities in Maine and Vermont. My patience is almost at an end, and if provoked much further I will place both countries under American protection, even if I have to send in my tourists to start trouble so I’ll have to send in a force to restore order.


I propose to extend the Civil Service to all branches of the government, because I think a little politeness goes a long ways, don’t you? For instance, Army officers will have to leave off those medals at dances. Hundreds of women now can’t wear their new formals without getting “For Valor” printed all over their collarbones.

The G-Men will be given useful work. The kidnapers are perfectly well able to take care of themselves, and we women want to know where our husbands go after the poolrooms are closed. And I’ll also see that the G-Men get an extra supply of policemen’s hats for lost children to be photographed in.

I furthermore demand free calendars for Cabinet Members. They have as much right as anybody else to know what day it is. About the WPA, SERA, CIO, AFL and SEC–I’m going to change all those letters to numbers, so we can play Bingo and the taxpayers can have more fun. And to set a better example to our youth, I will hereafter have it spelled Boulder D–m.


The Federal Reserve System is all right as far as it goes, but personally I like Culbertson. And Free Silver to go with the Free China, Mr. Zanuck, or I’ll think up something that will make the Neely bill look like a Valentine!

My opponents worry about the national debt being almost up to $45,000,000,000. (This morning’s paper.) What’s the matter with that? We should be proud of it; after all, it’s the biggest in the world! But that’s a lot of money, so my plan is to put it in a safe bank. Even at 2% it’s a good investment, and putting it in three banks would make 6%. But learning to balance the budget would be a waste of time, on account of where would a juggling act get booking today, after what George Burns did to vaudeville?

For that matter, I think people are making altogether too much fuss about money and the budget. Why don’t we just buy what we need on the installment plan? A few dollars down, a few dollars a month, and before you know it the battleship is ours. And anyway, I’ll save a lot of money just by tightening up on government lending restrictions–I’m going to insist that all borrowers under five years of age be accompanied by parents.


To take care of Emergency Relief, I plan to build thousands of new gas stations. But that’s a temporary expedient. What this country need is a permanent program, one that doesn’t yank a good picture in the middle of the week. The Wagner Act is all right as far as it goes, but it will never replace Olsen and Johnson.


My administration will nationalize the Gracie Allen Self-Delusion Institute, and give free correspondence courses. This will open up hundreds of new fields of endeavor, so that people who can’t find jobs in their own line will soon be without jobs in three or four different kinds of work. One of my first official acts will be to change the present 8-hour day and 5-day week to a 5-hour day and an 8-day week. This is supplemented by my “Incomes for Idleness” plan, which will soon be on sale at all toilet goods counters.

But Social Progress, no. Social Progress is not one of my goals. This country is not a social climber, and besides, the Treasury knows too many people already, if you know what I mean.

So vote early and often. Don’t wait until Election Day. I may have found other work by then. Do it now! Pop out of bed. Mom out of bed, too! Everybody up–and call me when breakfast is ready.


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