Tom Purcell, 9/1/2008 [Archive]

Me For President

Me for President

By Tom Purcell

Now that Barack Obama has a good shot at the presidency, I hold hopes that maybe I could make it, too.

Though our experiences and talents are entirely different, I, too, came from humble circumstances. The only boy, with five sisters, I had no brothers to teach me to fight. My sisters taught me.

One day when I was 12, the neighborhood bully was roughing me up. I gave him my meanest look and said, "You are soooooo immature! Get a life!"

I was humbled by a lack of money. Despite having no brothers, my father, always looking to save a buck, made me wear hand-me-downs. It wasn't too bad most of the year, but Easter Sunday was unpleasant. It was near impossible to outrun the neighborhood bully with my pantyhose bunching up and my bonnet flopping in the wind?

Unlike Barack, I had no early interest in politics, the presidency or my studies, and with good reason -- the kids who were interested in such things frequently got wedgies. Instead, I threw myself into sports and extracurricular activities.

My efforts paid off. My lack of studying and devotion to extracurricular activities were the ideal preparations for Penn State University. It was there that I was introduced to my first love: Rolling Rock Beer. By the time I was a junior, I had attained, to quote comedian Frank Nicotero, a 3.2 (blood-alcohol level).

My father was panicked about my future. I was a liberal arts major, after all. Worried I'd never find a job, he persuaded me to take more practical courses. I was the only person ever to graduate from Penn State with a major in English and a minor in air conditioning and heating.

Despite my ways, I received my degree. Unlike Barack I didn't forgo a lucrative career to become a community organizer. I took the first job one fool company was crazy enough to offer me.

I've been stumbling along ever since. Today, I'm an independent writer who hacks out a living one brutal word after another to pay the onerous taxes that people like Barack have imposed on us.

It is true I never went to Harvard Law. I certainly wasn't elected president of the law review, as Barack was. I never held elected office in state politics and never even tried to run, let alone win, a seat in the U.S. Senate.

But as far as experience for the presidency goes, I'm not a heck of a lot less qualified than Barack. He has only 143 active days in the Senate more than I do (his job has mostly been to run for president the past two years).

He never ran a profit-or-loss enterprise of any kind. His record as a community organizer, lawyer and politician give little indication of boldness, leadership or results. It's anybody's guess how he might act as president.

Sure, he gives an incredible speech and inspires millions with his presence. His campaign has been remarkable in numerous respects. He's drawn millions into the political process.

Sure, despite his relative youth and inexperience, he toppled the Clinton machine. He is the first black to be nominated for the presidency, no small achievement and worthy of celebration no matter what one's politics are.

But when you consider the incredible criteria that must be met before taking on the world's most important job -- when you consider that many of Barack's "solutions" involve a much more expansive government -- you wonder why the press isn't probing his experience, abilities and ideas a great deal more.

I'm inspired that maybe I could be president, too. I could win votes by promising stuff to some people by using the might of the federal government to take money from others to pay for it.

I could easily win Pennsylvania and Ohio, two pivotal states in the upcoming election. I'd promise federally subsidized Rolling Rock to every beer drinker who trades me his vote.

Even an inebriated fellow in a pub would know that we're the drinkers we've been waiting for.

© 2008 Tom Purcell. Tom is a humor columnist nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons. For more info contact Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Visit Tom on the web at or e-mail him at

RESTRICTIONS: 'Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties. It may appear only in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and its sister publications.

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