Travel back in time with me to the beginning days of our nation.
George, we’ve been going over your campaign, and frankly, we think it looks pretty weak. Gathered here are political consultants, lobbyists, contributors, spin doctors, marketing experts and various other, let’s just call them experts. We’re going to get your campaign whipped into shape. When we’re through, everyone will know the name of ‘George Washington’!
“I’m not actively campaigning for the presidency, sir. I served in the Continental Army and had hoped to return home to Mount Vernon. There was talk of making me king, but I believe the last thing this new nation needs is a king. However, if I am called upon to serve, I shall set aside my dream of returning home and serve again.”
See what I mean, boys. The humility angle plays really well. The public is going to eat this up. Now, George, let’s look at some of the areas that we need to work on. Now first off, George, were you born in a log cabin?
“No sir, I was not. I was born at Pope’s Creek Estate.”
No log cabin? Too bad. Boys, I tell you, someday we’re gonna have a candidate born in a log cabin and we’ll have the voters eating out of our hands. No log cabin – and I had such high hopes.
Now, George, I recommend that we focus on your Revolutionary War exploits, because frankly your performance during the French-Indian War just doesn’t play well. You showed a lot of spunk but frankly, you weren’t a winner. Getting captured just doesn’t say “Hero” to me.
Your home life we’ll have to play with. Married a wealthy widow with two kids. Never had any of your own. That’s too bad. Married for money – we need something that shows you’re not consumed with greed. How about this – we’ll tell them that you threw a silver dollar over the Potomac River. Now as far as kids. It’s good that you raised Martha’s kids, but it just doesn’t say “macho”. We need to throw the focus on kids in a different direction. I know, let’s focus on your childhood. I’ve got it! We build a tale that you chopped down a cherry tree and when your father asked, you responded that you could not tell a lie! It’s brilliant! I’m brilliant! That’s the stuff legends are made of.
“But, sir, it’s not true.”
Of course it isn’t, but don’t worry. You won’t have to say it. We’ll say it for you. Look at us as your “political action committee.” Hey boys, I just invented the political action committee. Isn’t that great?
Okay, now George, some things to avoid. First, you distill whiskey. Let’s keep that quiet.
“It’s perfectly legal and honorable. It’s more economical to ship whiskey than bulk corn – you can compress many wagons of corn into a single wagonload of whiskey. Whiskey doesn’t spoil or get eaten by rats like corn.”
Yeah, well, let’s keep it quiet anyway. Oh, and with those teeth, make sure you smile with your lips together.
Now, about negative campaigns…
“I apologize, sir, but what do you mean by negative campaigns?”
Trust me on this, George. We need to give people reason to not like your competition.
“But I find no fault with my competition, sir. As a matter of fact, this nation’s first election is structured so that whichever man places second will be vice-president.”
And that’s the point – we have to make sure you’re not second. Let’s start with John Adams. He’s short, he’s fat, he irritates people – shouldn’t be too hard. Whoa! What’s this? As an attorney he represented the British soldiers who fired on the crowd at the “Boston Massacre”? We publicize that and he’s done.
“But, sir, it was an honorable thing to do. In order to have a fair trial they were entitled to a fair defense. Even though Mr. Adams was worried that it would affect his reputation, he represented those men when no one else would because it was the right thing to do. If they had not been defended their trial would hardly have been fair. Our new government would be no better than the Crown and we certainly didn’t appreciate how King George treated us!”
Yeah. Right. Whatever. You leave that to me. Then there’s Jefferson. Tall, red headed, soft spoken. Wife died a few years back. It’s a good thing women can’t vote or you’d be in big trouble. Well read, attended William and Mary. Hmmm. Another lawyer, we can always use that. There are rumors of some improprieties with one of his female slaves, a Sally Hemmings.
“Sir, I am insulted. I will not have you spreading rumors, half-truths or other slander about these men. None of us have or ever will reach perfection. Adams and Jefferson were responsible for the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Adams has served as Minister to England, and Mr. Jefferson is currently serving as our Minister to France. I would be proud to serve with either of them in this new government without regard to office. In fact, I believe that both of them are as deserving of the office of president as any other American.
Now, sir, I must ask you to leave. Take your fellow ——- advisors —— with you, and your political action committee, your negative campaign and everything else. I most sincerely apologize, but you are not welcome here and will never be welcome here, so I do not expect to see you or anyone else of your type in my presence again.
“Good day and good riddance!”