“My budget is largely symbolic”

Okay, no one really said that, but I would probably vote for them if they did.

Plans set in stone | Democracy in America | Economist.com

Granted, any nominee’s budget programme is largely symbolic, more a statement of priorities. For good government, however, prioritisation must be a priority. Your correspondent would have a lot more confidence in a candidate prepared to admit that the money for large expenditures won’t turn up between the couch cushions.

It’s about the time in the year when I really get around to reading, The Cult of the Presidency, by Gene Healy. We are supposed to be electing a person to a constitutionally limited office, but no one is going to win by promising to faithfully fulfill his constitutional duties. Especially not by emphasizing that all spending bills will be originated in the House. I wish a candidate would express their limitations in straight talk. Oh wait, we tried that.

It all comes back to the ideal response coined by Scott Adams.

I fantasize about running for President, but in the same way I fantasize about being Batman. I wouldn’t want either job, but it’s fun to think about how I’d handle certain situations. One situation that pops up all the time is when a reporter asks a candidate to respond to his opponent’s campaign promises to do the impossible. My fantasy answer would be “My opponent thinks voters are stupid.”

The great thing about that answer is that it would generate world headlines. Second, it would resonate as being honest and accurate. You’d have to make sure you weren’t making unrealistic promises yourself, and that’s the hard part. But it would be a killer line.


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