If I ran for president

Pondering spelling, pronunciation and “three wise men”

By Judy Macklin

If I ran for president, I’d have too much baggage to get elected.

I don’t think I’m elitist, since I shop at thrift shops and garage sales and read murder mysteries.

But my father was a philosophy professor.

He even was chairman at a university in the Midwest.

My dad — Richard Baker — was also the pronouncer at the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., for two decades. We all know that spelling and correct pronunciation are not presidential. Therefore, I’ve tried my best to mispronounce. I think I’ve done sufficient mispronunciation to be a suitable candidate for national office.

But I’m afraid I’d be labeled “elitist,” because of my father.

He was a Thomist, a philosophical follower of Thomas Aquinas. Therefore I’d be vulnerable to attacks that my father followed a foreign philosophy, and
other assaults that mixed up Thomas Aquinas with Doubting Thomas of the disciples. They both had the same first name.

What made me realize that I had inexcusable baggage and improper values was recently when I watched Tim Russert on MSNBC. On his program Tim had numbers-cruncher Chuck Todd and newshound David Gregory, who often seems like a puppy who wants to be loved. I have admired Tim, and I even read his book “Wisdom of Our Fathers.”

But Tim and the two other Washington pundits had set the bar for being president to a level that doesn’t seem to fit my credentials.

They all seemed to agree that a candidate must pass some test they had set. He or she had to be tough. Gregory, especially, seemed to crave toughness, although his image on TV is of lank hair and a weatherman-smile. But at home he probably snarls before the mirror.

They also seemed to agree that the candidate couldn’t say “bitter,” and had to appeal to the dumbest person in our society. Of course, they didn’t say “dumbest”; instead they suggested real Americans.

I wondered how this bunch of elite pundits would judge some of our past, presidents. Did George Washington smile enough through his wooden teeth?
Abraham Lincoln certainly wasn’t presentable enough; it’s too bad Russert, Todd, and Gregory weren’t able to stop Lincoln from being president. He would never pass their tests. And FDR in a wheel chair, wasn’t he Dr. Strangelove?

Just imagine what a country we’d have today if our pundits had been able to weave their ratings-magic.

The Three Wise Men on TV acted like the Three Blind Mice scurrying after stinky cheese.
I do have some qualities. I have four children, which might appeal to the Catholic vote. I’m nice, although a few people might realize the word “nice”
comes from the Latin “nescient,” which means “knows nothing.” But that would never disqualify me.

I identify with Abigail Adams, the wife of John, whom I have gotten to know on the HBO movie John Adams. He became a one-term president when he tried to
do what was right. Silly man.

I don’t visit a spa, which would be elitist, but I am practicing mud-wresting to prepare for my candidacy. Tim, Chuck, and David would salivate over that. I’m sure they would admire my toughness.

But I’m still afraid I am disqualified. My father was a philosopher.

Categories: Features