Today, we’ve been writing about the burgeoning Draft Moyers movement, with a spreading wave of commentary suggesting it is time for Bill Moyers to run for president:
If you have ever listened to Bill Moyers speak on PBS, or read any of his work, the former theologian and presidential advisor to Lyndon Johnson presents some of the most humane logic and heartflet wit in the otherwise ethical void covering U.S. policy. Now another great columnist, Molly Ivins, has made public her desire to have him elected president.
A great article. Not a hope of success really, but ideas are the first step in the creative process, and certainly some creativity is needed there!
Molly Ivins is proposing that Bill Moyers run for president. Does she think he can win? Well, no. But, I think she is on to something with the idea that idea that there are very few people who could actually impose some decent level of morality upon the discourse.
Molly Ivins tells us desparate democrats what we should do. I think it’s a great idea. If only we could convince him. My very inside source says it’s unlikely but not unheard of. If he were four years younger, I’m told, he would jump at it. Therefore, I think we need to tell him why four years in age dont matter as much as four years in office.
This is great and all, but let’s pay attention to Molly Ivins’ logic behind a the push for a Moyers 2008 run. Here’s my read of her claims:
1. There are too many stuffed-shirt, say-what-the-polls-say, processed cheese food presidential candidates out there.
2. Nobody in the presidential campaigns brings up the issues that really need to be talked about.
3. Bill Moyers can’t win, but he has the requisite experience, knowledge and skills to transform the presidential race and force the candidates with a real shot into acting like statesmen and stateswomen, not just hacks with ambition.
Parts #1 and #2 are problems independent of Bill Moyers, and part #3 is simply saying that Bill Moyers is the go-to guy to freshen up and invigorate the 2008 campaign with important substantive ideas.
You can agree with #1 and #2, but that doesn’t have to lead you only to Ivins’ #3. The general form of #3 is:
3. We need someone with the experience, knowledge and skills to transform the presidential race and force the candidates with a real shot into acting like statesmen and stateswomen, not just hacks with ambition.
Now, one form of that someone is Bill Moyers, who with his understated, humble, yet intellectually forceful manner lends some gravitas to the whole affair. But acting with gravitas isn’t the only way to actually lend gravitas to a campaign.
There’s always comedy as a tool. Will Rogers is dead, but there’s always Jon Stewart to employ the tool. Since 2001, Jon Stewart has shown that a satirical news show can speak more truth about events than actual news shows. Sure, he’s backed up by a team of writers, but let’s be real: so are politicians. So why not bring The Daily Show team on board, have them write up some good comedy bits for the debate, and in so doing force the other candidates off their own canned scripts?
Politics is a show of insincerity. Why not just go whole hog with insincerity, blow it out the other side, and see what happens? Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian, is a fictional character, but why not find someone out there who can pull off essentially the same act: a holier-than-thou conservative Democrat? Let this person go absurdist with the extent of his or her false piety and show the pompous blowhards from the professional political class how it’s really done?
There must be other examples of real presidential candidacies to promote with a goal other than winning the presidency. How else can we hack the 2008 campaign, seize control, and with a hefty dose of unreality bring the process back to reality?
Who would you like to see in a non-run run?