Building the Perfect Candidate

By Cavanaugh, Tim; Gillespie, Nick | Reason, April 2004 | Go to article overview
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Building the Perfect Candidate


Cavanaugh, Tim, Gillespie, Nick, Reason


As DEVOTEES OF free minds and free markets, we spend our nights pining for a major-party politician who not only looks dreamy while reading a Teleprompter but shows some passion for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

President George W. Bush's determination to be all things to all people has ballooned the national debt and created an America where the worst aspects of the moralizing right, the caring left, and Wilsonian do-gooders have become national policy. To top things off, his FDA has even banned the very ephedra that might have made it possible to stay awake during Campaign 2004.

But if Bush's many failings are self-evident to libertarians, it's equally clear that the Democratic alternative (almost certainly to be John Kerry as of this writing), will in no way be worth endorsing either. The only way we're going to meet Candidate Right is to make our own--and that's just what we intend to do.

In the spirit of the do-it-yourself culture and biotechnological innovation that we celebrate regularly in these pages, we've taken the liberty of building the perfect Bush challenger from the personality traits and disparate policies offered by the various Democratic office-seekers who at one point or another have thrown their hats into the ring.

reason's Dream Candidate

We've surveyed the field of presidential challengers, and only in our dreams do we see our Candidate Right. Mr. Sandman, send us someone with:

The Silver Tongue of Al Sharpton. Policies and politics aside, Rev. Al is the only candidate we can listen to for 10 minutes without falling asleep. With his bluntness and his phrase-turning acumen, presidential press conferences would become the ultimate must-see reality TV series.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Writing Hand of Bob Graham. The already forgotten senator from Florida reportedly has spent countless hours of his political career keeping a Pepys-like diary that detailed his every meal, meeting, and belch. Unlike the current occupant of the White House, Graham would leave a paper trail wide enough to keep special prosecutors and historians alike busy for years to come.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Eyebrows of Richard Gephardt. His bushy, golden tufts signify the tenacity and determination that kept the Show Me State representative extraordinaire running for president several decades past his sell-by date.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Hair of John Edwards. No one fills out an empty suit quite like the forever-young, ultra-coiffed senator from North Carolina. Although we deplore the popular image of Edwards as "Bill Clinton without the baggage" (duh, the baggage was the best part!), America's favorite working-class stiff cum multimillionaire is the cute Beatle in Campaign '04.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Backbone of Joe Lieberman. Although it's never been clear that he has even his own wife's vote, Connecticut's "Vinegar Joe" consistently stands up for free trade and the benefits it brings to American and foreign workers. That he does so as his own party repudiates NAFTA with increasing ferocity shows us something.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Heart of John Kerry. In the best spirit of cultural noblesse oblige, this Boston Brahmin supported gay and lesbian rights long before it was cool (not that it's exactly cool now). What's more, in 1996 he momentarily floated the visionary notion of scrapping the Departments of Agriculture and Energy and merging Labor and Education into a single smaller, albeit still useless, department.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Lungs of Howard Dean. Various Loud-mouthed rantings make it clear that the brash-talking former Vermont governor can be an unstable bully, but he made us swoon there for a moment when he first burst on the national scene as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

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