Pollyticks r Some of us
First, a momentary tribute to my comedic political idol.
Some of you may not be aware that I ran for president. Twice.
No, not president of my local renters' association, or something on a local, pithy level. I ran for President of the United States.
With the passing of my aforementioned comedic political idol, I began mulling running my own parody campaign in the tradition and memory of Pat Paulsen. In the late fall of '99, I decided to go for it, and notified VoteSmart.org that I was running under the banner of the newly-established National Barking Spider Resurgence Party. They obligingly listed me on their presidential candidate database.
And the fun began.
Needless to say, I didn't win in either '00 or '04. At least I -- unlike another unnamed candidate -- didn't try to overturn the US Constitution and sue to be declared a winner he wasn't. I took my failure to get even 1 electoral vote (and less than .00000000000001 percent of the popular vote) in stride, and didn't throw a snit to get a venerable and useful electoral tool thrown out because it didn't fit one party's ideal (ie, it didn't help them win).
Instead, I got some amusing publicity from the likes of Newsweek, the BBC, Paul Harvey, NPR, ESPN 2, telephone interviews with several radio stations across the country and mentions on countless political blogs. Not all of them kind mentions, but that's politics, even in parody.
Sadly, I didn't get mocked/parodied by The Capitol Steps or JibJab, but when one isn't a front-runner, one can't expect attention from the funniest.
The other thing my parody campaign got me was email. Email from school children, having to do papers on unique third parties and wanting to know what I stood for, etc. Emails from frustrated voters, who enjoyed reading the web site and wishing a little more humor could be injected into the political process. I got a few offers from folks who wanted to work on the campaign, or establish a branch of the party in their neck of the woods. And yes, I got a few campaign contribution offers. All turned down (see the party mission statement for why).
I also got a little hate mail.
In '00, I got one from a Jennifer Yee, who insisted I needed psychological help (I assured her I was every bit as normal as she was, then backtracked and asked her which voices she heard at night, in case hers were stranger than mine). In '04, I got an angry email from a young professional woman who demanded that "I give her back the ten minutes of her life she wasted reading your site". I wrote her back and suggested that her time was, in essence, not wasted at all: her precious ten minutes had helped her determine that I wasn't her presidential answer, but that if I came up with a surplus ten minutes, I'd be happy to return it, no questions asked. That drew an amusing apologetic reply.
On the other hand, I got an angry email from an unnamed gent in Wisconsin who demanded to know "how much the Republican Party is paying you to siphon off votes from the Democrats?". My response: "Where do I sign up for a program like that?" His response back was unprintable.
Some peoples' kids.
Now, while I have yet to decide if I'm going to run this parody campaign one more time, the site is up in case I decide to; and I'm already receiving email on it. So far, all of three (the rest being Nigerian email scam crap). One, a student asking me if I could tell him how many popular votes I received in '04 (see the made-up statistic above for the answer I sent him). Another from an alleged Socialist Party candidate, seeking to debate anybody to raise awareness of him and his positions (I declined, since I'm not yet officially running, and public appearances is contrary to the campaign methodology of the NBSR Party).
And I got this 'un, from a Brandon Barber (email@example.com) that qualifies as my first official 'hate mail' for the possible Campaign of '08 (note that the spelling and grammar herein is no typo; this is exactly what he sent me):
You dont know me and in my opinion im a lot smarter that way, but its ok, you can have my name if u like, its Brandon. Naturally i have no social recognition whereas u might considering u actually attempted running for president. However, it doesnt not omit the fact that your policies regarding your election platform and view points on several political matters are entirly bogus. I commend u for not desiring to bring in any money for your campaign as well as your commitment to not leave your home. This ensures that u will get no more than .1% of the popular vote for presidency because you are a douche. Now i dont want to ge vulgar here (lol), but the fact is a fact; the presidentail campaign is a ludicrous shpiel for "beauty pagent" in which both candidates adhere to the same higher-ups anyhow, but im sure you knew this. Your never gonna get any electoral votes so i guess there is some releif in the proccesses of the america voting system. Oh, and by the way, over half of the founding fathers of america were liberal, so whats that saying about u? Are you a british nazi? u like dessenting against the natural way of life? thats fine because Jesus loves you, but just remember he's only the right hand of THE MAN, and the Devil is the left...so what happens when both sides meet?
This is a message from the global-oust party.
*Image the closing strains of the theme from The Twilight Zone fading into the background*
I'm glad I do this for fun; otherwise, I'd have to turn this over to PETA, and they're already in trouble for scandals involving abuse of dumb animals by dumber ones (aka, their members).
But, like select Nigerian email scam letters, such a letter as this simply cannot be ignored, nor did I:
First of all, Brandon, I want to assure you that you can keep your name; I already have one I've gotten used to. Next, I want to thank you for your very revealing, poignant commentary. By the tone, diction, grammar and spelling of your missive, it suggests (but is not indisputably established) that you are a child of the outcome-based education generation. Of course, it is possible that you are not a child at this biological state of your development, but you certainly do write like one.
The "Global-oust Party", eh? I'll look for them in future press releases and naturally expect to see them garner better than .1% of the vote, with such leading lights as yourself at the fore.
Thanks for your jumbled thoughts,
Letters like this almost make me wonder why I'm reluctant to run a third campaign...