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MAD DOG: Take My Throne, Please

Anyone can grow up to be President. This has been the Unified American Parental Career Mantra since George Washington's mother sat him down under the cherry tree and sniffed, "Surveying school? Come on, George, where's the future in that?" Then, once James Polk, Millard Fillmore, and Gerald Ford were elected, well, the concept went from being a theory to a scientifically proven law -- yes, anyone could grow up to be President.The fact that anyone can be President and that they'd want to be President are two very different things. Parents, it turns out, don't really want to see their children in the Oval Office. Especially if they're interns.Polls say 60 percent of parents think being President is a bad career choice. This places it right below used car salesman, lava lamp repairman, and guest on the Jerry Springer show. They probably think this because the Presidency has become such a difficult position. It wasn't that long ago it was admired. Where the President used to be portrayed in movies by such acting legends as Raymond Massey, Henry Fonda, and Ralph Bellamy, now we get Kevin Kline and John Travolta. Look for Saturday Night Sexual Fever, coming to a theater near you soon.The truth is, most parents don't want their children to grow up to be President because, face it, there just aren't a lot of job opportunities. Medicine is a better career choice because people always get sick and need to be healed. Business management is good since there are lots of businesses and they all need managing. And going into law is a great idea because, thanks to the other popular fields, there will always be medical malpractice suits, business liability suits, and politicians to defend.But there's only one President. And the job generally only becomes vacant every four years. Well, unless they die, get caught covering up for a bunch of bungling burglars, or are dumb enough to want a second term. Face it, with those odds, you'd have better luck being a locust. Even though they only have openings every seventeen years there's always room for one more in the swarm. Kind of like paparazzi.So what makes a person want to go into politics? For some it's the opportunity to help their country. For others it's a quest for power. And for still others it's because their spouse dies leaving an opening.Recently Lois Capps of Santa Barbara, California won her late husband's seat in the House of Representatives. Mary Bono, Sonny's wife, is campaigning to take her husband's place in the House too. Suddenly political office is becoming the mid-life career choice for widows in the 90's.What is it about being a political spouse that makes them so well suited for this vocation? When a doctor dies does his or her spouse take over the practice? Would Sigourney Weaver's husband step in and star in Aliens 5-Resurrected Again if she couldn't do it?Maybe it's osmosis -- they pick up the skills needed just by being around their husbands. When I was a kid I actually stuck a tape recorder under my pillow and let it play my French lessons in the hopes that I'd learn them while I slept. It didn't work. To this day I feel like an idiot asking for a croissant and wouldn't attempt to pronounce trompe l'oeil in public if my joie de vivre depended on it.In all the talk about campaign reform, this is one area where everyone's missing the boat. We could save a whole lot of time, money, and energy if we just put spouses in the line of succession. Right now there is no congressional line of succession -- they just hold a new election. Bad idea. We should change the law so If someone dies, gets sent to prison, or submits a bill like the one they did in West Virginia recently allowing them to keep and eat road kill, the politician's spouse takes over. And then we'll extend this to the Presidency. As it stands, the Vice-president, the Speaker of the House, the Secretary of Agriculture, and even Buddy the First Dog all get a shot, why not the First Lady?In England they've had primogeniture for a few thousand years and even they're changing it. Primogeniture -- from the Latin meaning, "best genitals" -- is the ancient tradition of passing the throne to the eldest son. Now, in a turn of events that makes you wonder whether the British Royalty has been mating among their own again, Queen Elizabeth II has announced that if the eldest child is a daughter, she will ascend to the thrown. To complicate matters even more, the word is that Prince William is having second thoughts about whether he wants to be King. He says he'd rather be President of the United States. They get more sex.Keep all this in mind as the next round of elections rears its ugly head. Not only should you be concerned with the candidate's political positions, ability to lead the country into the next millennium, and moral character, but you need to pay close attention to their health, their spouse, and what Hollywood star would best portray them in a movie. No one ever said it was going to be easy.

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