I’m not really the President. I just play one on TV.

Or so seems to be the message coming out of presidential hopeful Fred Thompson’s incipient ’08 campaign.

Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp, remarked, as quoted in Slate, “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but when you play a president in a movie and you fit the part, people believe you can carry it out in real life. That’s one thing that Fred believes that no one in either party can bring.”

And this is the guy who’s on Thompson’s side! He’s offering not actual credibility, knowledge, or experience, but merely the ability to project those qualities.

I know as well as anyone – a certain amount of bravado and bluffing will get you a long way. It’s a lesson I learned on the first day of my first year of teaching, when, asked the direction to a room I’d never heard of (at rm 150 I was at the end of the hallway as I knew it and I was asked where 153 was!) I pointed bravely in the opposite direction and made a turning motion with my hand.

The right kind of swagger counts for a lot – out in the hallway, when you’re making the first impression. But when the classroom door closes and the kids realize you’ve got nothing to back up that swagger, the gig’s up. I imagine the same thing’s true of being president.

Imagine, if you will, an all-Law and Order presidency: Sam Waterston as Attorney General! Mariska Hargitay as Secretary of State! Ice-T as Secretary of Defense (and his evil TV-brother Ludacris as . . . umm, Director of the FBI?) Oh no, I could go on and on! Maybe this is the fun of fantasy football.

Just think – rather than the predictable lies and deceit, followed by sloppy cover-up, followed by indignant refusal to respond to questions /subpoenas about said cover-up, we could have the predictable dead or injured body 3 minutes in, the initial suspect whose name is cleared, followed by the suspect who was there all along if only you’d had eyes to see it, final plot twist 47 minutes in, and all of it comfortingly resolved in the end. Dick Wolf, you syndication genius, be mine.

Of course, if Jerry Orbach were running, I’d vote for him in a hearbeat.

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1 Comment

Filed under Etc., Tube.

One response to “I’m not really the President. I just play one on TV.

  1. It’s like we’re the same person…

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