He yearns to serve

August 02, 1994|By Russell Baker

MANY HAVE pleaded with me not to seek the presidency in 1996, but I must. Call it selfish, but I yearn for the utter humiliation that only the presidency can bestow.

I want to be scolded by columnists and editorial writers for not possessing sagacity and cunning as profound as theirs.

I want to watch telegenic journalists tell the entire country what needs to be done to perfect society and belittle me for not doing it.

I want to be held in contempt by shrewd veterans of Washington politics, and not only that: I also want to be denounced by them as a rustic dolt so innocent of Washington's magnificent iniquities that I am unfit to lead the country.

I want investigative reporters to dig up absolutely everything they can find on my dear mother, now dead alas, hence beyond enjoying the chance to see her name in the newspapers, unfortunately.

I want to be able to pick up those newspapers myself and find out whether she was really the sweet lady I always thought, or whether she was secretly leading a disgusting life of Byzantine lubricity.

I want her passion for playing high-low-jack-and-the-game on Saturday night held up to ridicule by the nation's foremost satirists.

I want my income tax returns for the past 45 years studied by the most brilliant tax lawyers money can buy, so the opposition party can either mock me as a boob too dumb to claim all the deductions I was entitled to or accuse me of gross and unpatriotic finagling to cheat Uncle Sam.

I want my wife to be portrayed to the entire world as a power-mad witch hellbent on destroying the American family.

I want her to be able to turn on the radio and hear Americans phone in from all over the country to ask if she can't be destroyed before she destroys America.

I want my younger brother's indictment for shady real-estate speculations as well as his drunken-driving arrests to be widely publicized.

I want the whole world to know:

(1) about my uncle who was schizophrenic;

(2) about my 97-pound female cousin who beat up a state trooper while he was giving her a ticket;

(3) and about my great-grandfather who joined Robert E. Lee as soon as the Civil War began, came home immediately after seeing his very first battle and stayed home where, having granted himself the title "Colonel," he spent the next four years enlisting fresh troops for the Confederacy.

That's not all I want.

I want to have every detail of my sex life fully reported not only in the grocery tabloids, but also in all the truly important newspapers so that even the quality reader will be able to treat me as a subject for ribald jokes and sordid speculation.

I want to be used as an example of satanic evil in sermons by politically minded parsons with vast television congregations.

I want to be widely suspected, thanks to suggestions spread by these godly men, of engaging in criminal activities, including murder.

I want to have each of my business transactions of the past 20 years investigated by a special prosecutor and then re-investigated by congressional committees filled with people who despise me, my wife, my family and my little dog, Fala.

I want to be sued, too. I want to be sued by women I haven't seen in years, if at all.

I want to be sued for sexual harassment, child abuse, homophobic utterance, making racist remarks, laughing at ethnic jokes, assisting in illegal installation of fuse-box "cheaters," buying beer with forged draft cards, lying to a literary man about having read "The Golden Bowl."

I want to be suicidally depressed by being told how many millions of dollars lawyers will need to defend me against these allegations.

In short, I want to be ruined, humiliated, abused, detested, reviled, denounced by sacred clergy and best-selling schmooze-meisters, and treated with contempt by millions of my countrymen.

Why else would anyone want to be president?

Russell Baker is a syndicated columnist.

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