He's tested the waters, and found them shallow


FOR SEVERAL agonizing months now, I have been agonizing over the agonizing question of whether or not I should run for president. If I had to describe this agonizing process in one word, that word would be: "hard." I have wrestled with many agonizing questions, such as: Do I have any views? If so, what are they? Can I stand harsh media scrutiny? What if Bob Woodward of the Washington Post starts poking around in my past and finds out about certain incidents that I would rather not see rehashed, such as the 1961 explosion, never fully explained, of a boy's-room toilet at Harold C. Crittenden Junior High School? And the most agonizing question is: Why do I want to be president? Is it just so that I can have a limousine and a helicopter and a big plane and a huge staff of boot-licking lackeys waiting on me hand and foot?

Yes. So that really wasn't so agonizing. But before I made my final decision, I wanted to find out what a panel of distinguished Americans thought. So, as I reported to you two months ago, I formed an Exploratory Committee, consisting of (I am not making this committee up): Robert Goulet, the famous actor and singer; Stanley Krugman, my dentist; Heloise, who writes "Hints From Heloise"; the Delaware Destroyers, who are the band behind George Thorogood; and Adam Duritz, lead singer for Counting Crows, who was chosen for the committee on the basis that my campaign staff, Judi Smith, thinks he's cute.

I sent these distinguished Americans a letter asking them whether I should run. I heard back almost immediately from Robert Goulet, who said he was 100 percent in favor of it unless I wanted money. I then heard from Heloise, who wrote, "Here's a hint: Go for it!" Next I heard from Jeff Simon, the drummer for the Delaware Destroyers, whose letter did not specifically address the issue of my candidacy, but did invite me to join the band live onstage and play the maracas on the song "Double Shot of My Baby's Love." The Delaware Destroyers have not, to my knowledge, made this offer to any other presidential candidate, so I am interpreting it as an endorsement. I never heard from Adam Duritz, so I am also putting him down in the "yes" column.

The only dissenting voice on my Exploratory Committee came from Stanley Krugman, who opposes my running for president on the grounds that, "You might start brushing your teeth, which could accentuate your gum problems." As any historian will tell you, this is exactly the same chilling warning that Abraham Lincoln's dentist gave to him when he was deciding whether to run for president. And just as Lincoln courageously decided to run anyway -- and wound up paying the supreme price (root canal) -- so, too, have I decided to "throw my hat into the ring."

What was the deciding factor in my decision? I can answer that in one word: "Dan Quayle." That's right: The Dansterizer has entered the race, with an impressive and comprehensive set of positions written down on flash cards. When Dan announced his decision to run, my reaction was -- and this is a verbatim quote -- "Whoa." Because as a professional in the field of humor, I cannot resist the challenge of taking on the best there is, mano a mano (or, as Dan would put it, manoe a manoe).

There are other candidates in the race, including the Democratic favorite, Al Gore. Al stumbled when he made a much-ridiculed speech in which he claimed credit for inventing the Internet. But he rebounded nicely when his staff issued a statement explaining that the vice president "was whacked on LSD."

And let's not overlook Elizabeth Dole -- or, as she is known to her closest friends, "Elizabeth Dole." She is likely to gain rapidly in popularity as the voters realize that, if elected, she would be in a unique position, as our first woman president, to make her husband stop discussing erectile dysfunction on TV.

I am entering this race to win. As a symbol of my commitment, my dedication, and -- I am not ashamed to admit it -- my old-fashioned patriotism, I have taken the ultimate step: I have a Web site, located at www.herald. com/davebarry/.

If you have a computer (which was invented by Lamar Alexander), you can go to this site and see my positions on the issues. You can also see what happens when you click your mouse pointer on my nose.

So I say to you, the voters: Join with me, so that we can build an America in which all people -- not just the privileged elite -- are working together to supply me with cash contributions. And I say to you, members of the news media: Go ahead and investigate my past; I have no fear of you, because I have a clear conscience, and color photographs of Bob Woodward with an otter. Finally, I say to Adam Duritz: How come you never write or call? Judi is standing by. Thank you and good night.

Pub Date: 05/09/99

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