Monday, December 24, 2007

Gaming 2008

I had lunch with my friend Cal today. Cal is obsessed with the presidential elections. He asked me who I thought would win.

“Too close to call,” I said. “There’s no telling who the voters will select.”

“The voters?” he responded. “Naw, man, that’s how they did it in the eighteenth century. We don’t pay attention to the voters anymore.”

“We ignore the voters now, eh? So what will it be, then? Dead people in Duvall County?”

“That was the 1960s,” he said. “Lyndon Johnson has been gone for a long time.”

“True,” I had to admit. “I never thought about presidential elections being such a creative process.”

“We have to keep moving on,” he said.

“So will the supreme court decide the winner again?” I asked.

“Possibly, but that’s still a little out of date.”

“The last time they did that was 2000,” I protested. “That’s not so long ago.”

“Washington is a fast moving place,” he said. “2000 is ancient history.”

I saw his point. “The supreme court is out, then.” I thought a minute, then came up with something. “Rigged voting machines again?”

“Still old hat. That was 2004-ish.”

I was amazed. Washington really must be a fast moving place if 2004 was anachronistic. I thought rigged voting machines would be good for another two or three elections at least. “Coup d’etat?” I said. “A man on horseback? Sandbags on the white house lawn? All I could think of was old stuff. He shot it all down.

“We need something new,” he said. “Something nobody has ever thought of before. A new way of selecting the president that nobody has ever used before and that doesn’t involve counting votes or anything unpredictable like that.”

I finally had a thought. “What about selecting somebody intelligent? It hasn’t been done before. And it will narrow the field so much we will know who is going to win before the polls even open in Iowa. That solves the unpredictability problem.”

His face lit up. “Somebody intelligent!” he said. “We have not had anybody like that for seven years now. Come 2008 it will be eight years. By George, I think you are onto something.”

I did not comment on the “By George!” exclamation. It sounded like he was saying something, but I didn’t. “After four years or so, choosing somebody intelligent will be old hat, though, Washington is such a fast moving place,” I said. “You said so yourself.”

“That’s right,” he said. “2008 will be hopelessly passé in a 2012. By then we will have to find ourselves another moron. George W. Bush can’t run again. What will we do?”

“Not to worry,” I said. “I think there will be plenty of candidates.”

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