CONGRATULATIONS on a deception well-executed. The votes are in (and were still being counted at press time) and we can now shed our masks of indecision.
Vengeance is ours for all those times the Three Ps (pollsters, politicians and pundits) decided the outcome before election day, declared winners before the ballots were closed and berated the public for not voting because it mattered. This year, we played it dumb and sent the pesky pollsters skulking back to their day jobs of shoveling AOL disks into mailboxes. We perplexed the high-handed pundits, who became punch-drunk watching their bouncing crystal balls and resorted to “rock, paper, scissors” to make their predictions. We sent candidates local, regional and national running in a dither and doing a dance of the seven veils in which they slowly stripteased their platforms and propositions.
Our professed “I dunno” approach to voting worked well, proving that the government isn’t the only one who can indulge in conspiracies. Admittedly, our collective coyness only had partial success, since instead of gaining credibility, campaigns and political coverage reverted to the horse race mentality.
Which means vigilance is needed more than ever. We’ve recently uncovered evidence of nefarious strategy shifts for the next elections. Polling organizations, for instance, are contracting mercenaries from various mobs and health clubs sales staff. Some tactics that may be in the works:
* Pollsters going undercover in news and radio station vans lure the public with “Mean People Suck” bumper stickers and free passes to an Adam Sandler Film Festival. Once they uncover your identity, they aim the van dish at your home and try to discern your political inclinations by the feng shui arrangement of your furniture.
* At member-shopping warehouses, people who stop to sample food products will be strapped to a polygraph machine, injected with cheese spray with sodium pentathol and subjected to a battery of polling questions.
Meanwhile, the politicos are forgoing political consultants for straight-out advertising agencies. Taking a page from “The Selling of the President,” they’re launching Operation Selling of the Presidency, intended to make the office cool. Our spies managed to get a Powerpoint copy of some rough plans, plus really nice travel coffee mugs and stress balls:
* An insidious attempt to tap into collector frenzies will involve limited releases of trading cards depicting various presidents and their mutant powers, called Presidentmon Cards. We smuggled out one card on William Howard Taft. It reads:
“For a Superior Court justice, TAFT-FATTY is nice but indecisive. His weight, though, can be used to keep the constitutional balance of the courts. If he gets too heavy, use him to create the Department of Labor to organize some helping hands. EVOLUTION: Secretary of War, President, Supreme Court Justice. At level 27, you can increase him to 355 pounds. At level 36, you can have him take on former mentor and very powerful TEDDEE (Theodore Roosevelt).”
* Called “got president?,” another campaign depicts the candidates at various whistle-stop appearances. After cramming home-baked cookies from an adoring voter into their mouths, they find, to their horror, that they cannot articulate their stands because there’s no milk. The public is meant to lap this up the next time they can’t answer a question. To be safe, milk mustaches would be painted on the candidates permanently.
* Rather than live broadcasts, debates will be filmed by music video directors. Broods of voluptuous young women (which might be construed as patriarchally insensitive) will be replaced by senior citizens doing polka hip-hop.
* In lieu of desperate cameos on “Saturday Night Live,” politicians will actually replace the SNL players during the election specials. This will ensure their public longevity, as they can be cast in future SNL movies, which couldn’t be any worse than “A Night at the Roxbury.”
* All presidential candidates including the ones from the most marginal parties will be locked in the Oval Office for three months with “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch as the sarong-wearing commentator. Americans cast their vote in an elimination process.
Buck up. It’ll be a long four years.
Events editor Vera H-C Chan casts her votes via absentee ballot so she can hibernate during election. If she doesn’t like the candidates, she won’t come out for the winter.