The shopping of the presidency

Thanks to the media, choosing a candidate is quick, cheap 'n' easy!

By Joyce McGreevy
Published February 13, 2004 1:30AM (UTC)
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Still shopping for a presidential candidate? In today's ultra-competitive world, the average supermarket has 40,000 brand items on its shelves. According to the latest national poll, evaluating the cereal aisle alone requires an investment of 17.9 hours spread out over three times as many days -- longer if you take into account hot cereals, bulk cereals, cereal bars, and cereals used as a secondary ingredient in non-cereal products, such as Yoplait Blueberry Crumble. With such intense demands being made on your schedule, do you really want to spend a lot of time trying to make an informed political decision?

At Me! Me! Media, we understand what it is to be faced with a plethora of political choices, in addition to an endless barrage of historically significant events that, aside from their profound impact on millions of lives, offer no real "human interest." Who needs it?


  • Hasn't your workday been demoralizing enough without hearing that because you acquired job skills in the military, a new law makes you ineligible for paid overtime? Bo-ring! Here's another sitcom about people yukking it up at the workplace!
  • Do you really want turn on the TV and find out that your children's personal share of the federal deficit is $27,923 each and counting? Whatever! Instead, tune in for "Five Fab Ways to Talk to Your Kids About the Michael Jackson Trial." At Me! Me! Media, "parental guidelines" isn't just a hollow word. It's two words -- now with more syllables, lower carbs!
  • Wasn't that memo about slashing your health benefits sufficiently confusing without hearing from a bunch of NCTs (non-celebrity types) who think they can challenge it? And their point is...? Trust us, the day our network presents viewers with ordinary people talking at length about everyday concerns is the day you open up TV Guide and see programs like "The Uninsured Apprentice," "War Factor" and "Austere Eye for the Jobless Guy."
  • So when it comes down to choosing the best person to lead the nation during these times of heightened global discord, economic uncertainty and environmental crisis, we at Me! Me! Media don't beat around the bush. No way! We say, "Here's the bush. Here's a bunch of non-bushes. And here's 15 seconds of one of the non-bushes doing something that we have distorted for your entertainment. End of story. Bring on the beer commercial with the farting horse."


    In that spirit, Me! Me! Online now offers you the following E-Z shopping tips to help you "Pick Your Prez."

    "All clear": Preparing the space

    Before you begin, do a few simple yoga stretches and drink directly out of the Johnny Walker bottle. Once you've lit the scented candles, it's very important to clear away the clutter. That's where we come in. (Warning: If you can still remember past election or articulate the difference between a caucus and a primary, you may need to hire a personal organizer to suck the intelligence right out of you.)


    "So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!": Dealing with issues

    What are issues? In today's world, issues are things that people have. As in, "My ex-boss has issues." Or, "I am sorry if you were offended when I insulted the host, but I happen to have issues with being served high-sodium salad dressing."


    Unfortunately, presidential candidates don't really "get" this, because they are stuck in the past. To them, the word "issues" signifies areas of vital concern to the overwhelming majority of people. As if anybody cared!

    Besides, the proper technical term for those, uh, political thingies, is "baggage." For example, if you hear a presidential candidate say, "I'm here to address the issues of national security, foreign policy, the war in Iraq, the skyrocketing deficit, the loss of jobs, and the need for affordable housing and healthcare," you should turn to your significant other and say, "Man, that guy's got a lot of baggage."

    But don't freak out about it, 'cause at Me! Me! Media we guarantee you'll never hear Word One about the issues. Hey, you're welcome!


    "Nap time!": Doing the research

    By now, you're probably thinking, "Whew! This is really hard! I need a beer! Who's on Leno?" And you'd be right. There is someone on Leno. But hang in there, because the intellectually challenging stuff is still to come. Yes, this is the part where we say, "Stay tuned for an in-depth report about Sen. Blah Blah or Gov. Yada Yada." Relax -- it'll be over in two and a half minutes! And when it is, you'll have all the criteria you need on which to form a rational decision, be fully cognizant of the long-term consequences, and enjoy free long-distance calling after 7 p.m. (Offer not valid in Arizona.)

    "Here we go! Wheeeee!": So pick someone already


    Buyer's remorse is the pits. To carefully review your decision, ask yourself:

    Does my candidate...

  • Have a nice smile?
  • Look presidential?
  • Conform to a certain height?
  • In terms of policies, platform and experience, would you say...

  • He seemed a little wooden during that speech, Jim.
  • The guy loves puns, Frank Sinatra and pretty sunsets. Over to you, Tiffany.
  • Bob, did ya notice how angrily he kissed that baby?
  • He's been very positive -- very -- and that could hurt him. Hi, Mom!
  • Me, Tarzan. You, viewer. Idealism, bad. Endorsement, good. Horse race go clippety-clop. Quick now!

    Does the candidate seem...

  • electable?
  • inevitable?
  • Inna-gadda-da-vida?

    Remember, the more inane the consideration, the more weight you should give to it! In the Olden Days, the electability of a candidate depended only on the number of votes he or she received. Today, we media savants would never let you fall for a ploy like that! To distinguish who "seems" electable from who merely "is" electable, compare the candidates' records, use your best judgment, and then for chrissakes, don't vote for that guy! He's the unelectable one! Pick the other guy! The "other guy" is always electable!

    "Save your receipt!": Making the best of your purchase

    Remember, shopping for a president is no big deal. If you don't like what you end up with, you can always take it back in four years and exchange it for something just as fair to middling. Of course, during those intervening years, the nation could have gotten into a pretty sorry state. But don't worry, if and when that happens, you'll never hear about it from Me! Me! Media. Enjoy!

  • Joyce McGreevy

    Joyce McGreevy is a writer in Portland, Ore.

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