How to Become President: Chapter 10

March 1, 2010


A LOT of water has flowed under the TVA since the old days when Alabama used to cast her 32 votes for Oscar Underwood, but us oldsters remember them well. Why, we even remember the Republicians. It used to be in those days that you couldn’t hold election without them.

But if I’m anything, I’m a modern, if I’m anything, and I believe that conventions should be streamlined. Streamlining is the process of reducing wind-resistance, if you know what I mean, but that isn’t everything. The boys in the back room (ask them what they’ll have, George) must go, on account of it’s time we gave the game back to the delegates.

Then the delegates can give it to me.

Under the present system, too many ballots are taken. You’d think that paper didn’t cost anything. But I will fix that, and I will now tell you how.

First I will have a nominating speech which will last three hours, which I will give. Then I will have a seconding speech which will last four hours, and then I will sing.

By then, the delegates will have been well worn down and I will announce, “All in favor of Gracie Allen for President say Aye!” “All not in favor of Gracie Allen for President say Aye!” “THE AYES HAVE IT!” and then I will carry the fight to the country, which hasn’t seen a good one since the long count.

Of course, all this will happen on the first day, and since the delegates have fixed it up with their wives to be away all week I’ll have to work out something to fill in the time.

I think we’ll play games, because games are so much fun, if you enjoy them, and here are five suggestions.

Blind-Man’s Buff is a good game to start off the morning sessions, because if your delegates are anything like mine, they are then in perfect condition for it, and can play without blindfolds and never know the difference.

Pin-the-Tale-on-the-Donkey is a game for newspapermen only, and needs a White House Spokesman, who is “it.”

Then when the delegates seem to be getting restless and start wandering out to the kitchen to see if the pork is ready, you can capture their attention with Marching-to-Washington, Ballot-Ballot-Who’s-Got-the-Ballot, and Drop-the-Election. Post office is no good at a conversation, however, because the boys are away from home and they want something different from what they make their livings at.

But there’s something I forgot to tell you. I must be losing my mind, and that’s ridiculous, because I had it right here a minute ago.

What I mean is, you must select a name for your party, on account of think how silly you’d feel if the newspapers came out with “Senator Flitch Named Candidate of ____ Party.” You can’t use “Republican” or “Democratic” because certain prominent people already have dibs on them, and I think a man named Thomas is using “Socialist.” But you can think of something.

Of course, I shouldn’t be talking, because my choice was made for me. Mine is the Surprise Party, on account of my father was a Republican (Goodness, how that dates me!), my mother was a Democrat, and when I was born I was a Surprise.

And I have something really new in the way of campaign buttons, too. Mine will sew on, so they can’t change their minds and vote for somebody else, and besides, since none of the people who will vote for me have all their buttons, they can sew mine where it will do some good.


I haven’t said anything about where to hold your convention, because after what happened at mine everybody knows that Omaha is the only place. For one thing, Omaha is the only city in the world where 25,000 men will raise beards for a convention. Mayor Butler says it’s the only one where 25,000 men can raise beards.

I finally decided to get my special train from the Union Pacific. I hesitated at first, though, on account of I don’t trust people who don’t give their right names, and with all these labor doings who can call a union pacific? And for that matter, who can call a Streamliner a railroad train when you can’t even get a cinder in your eye?

But I forgave them when I found out about their having Clark Gable for a conductor. I know, because he asked me who I was, and when I told him he said, “If you’re the next President I’m Clark Gable.” The Union Pacific isn’t just a friendly road; it’s downright intimate.

But here I go again, talking on and on about trivial details, when the really important thing is the very one I haven’t mentioned yet.

What should one wear to a convention? That first impression can mean everything, especially in connection with people one has never met before.

Personally, I’m going to appear in a new cerise play suit. Wait till you see it. That will be the shorts heard round the world!

Of course, after I’m elected, I’m going to have an Astrologer in the cabinet to tell me what the stars are going to do. The way I see it, if the stars are going to wear their skirts longer next year, the women of this country ought to know about it.

But if you should be elected instead of me, there’s something just coming out you ought to look into: Jack Benny’s patented Breakaway Suspenders. Very simple; the youngest President can operate them. At a press conference, for instance, you simply grasp the concealed rip cord–then, if a gag doesn’t get a laugh or if the boys start asking questions about the Th–d T–m–down they go!

I thought some of developing breakaway shoulder straps for women, on the same principle. But I’d never use them. I’m not that kind of a girl.

I catch cold too easily.


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