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If Bill Moyers Should Run for President, Who Else Fits the Bill? Hack the Campaign!

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:

Karakia Coast:

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!

Imitatio Christi:

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.

Article 19:

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?

2 comments to If Bill Moyers Should Run for President, Who Else Fits the Bill? Hack the Campaign!

  • Okay folks. Who shot Cock Robin? It was I. I ran the draft Bill Moyers website and started the petition, based on enthusiasm that erupted late last year from an article published in Common Dreams entitled “10 reasons why Bill Moyers should be President.” Perhaps you saw it.

    Well, when Mr. Moyers’ attorneys contacted me by email and then by telephone a month or so later, I was given to understand that Bill Moyers would not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES run for President and that he wanted us to stop the draft Bill Moyers project immediately. There are legal issues in this, so I complied, expressing the disappointment of about a thousand people who had joined us in the effort.

    Let me be absolutely clear, I was not given any reasons (health, money, fear of assassination, or any of the normal good reasons to avoid the brutal American system of choosing leaders), but I assume only that Mr. Moyers likes what he is doing, feels that he is doing what he does best, and that’s that. You may interpret the foregoing sentence as a fair synopsis of my conversation with the attorneys, only with some of what I said thrown in for murmured assent or stony silence at the other end.

    I have posted at Daily Kos that the website is not for sale, nor will I transfer “ownership” of it to anyone but Mr. Moyers or his attorneys.

    Thanks to Anna Haynes for alerting me to this discussion.

    Thanks to Molly Ivins for recognizing our fellow Texan as the fine Liberal gentleman that he manifestly is.

    Thanks to Mr. Nichols at The Nation for piling on with enthusiasm.

    And thanks to all of you for taking the following advice:

    Do not start up another draft Bill Moyers campaign without his permission. If you think about it for a minute, you will realize that unauthorized campaigns of this sort bring with them (to you) all the kooks and armchairterrorists that this country harbors all day long. You will get emails, threats, and unimaginable trouble for your efforts. Imagine what Mr. Moyers gets for your efforts. Please think about it.

    If one of you decides that you will simply burst if you do not find out the REAL REASON for Moyers’ reluctance, then notify the owner of this website and he/she will contact me and I will give him/her the email address of the attorneys.

    Jim

  • Jim,

    We already get emails and threats. I don’t think we get anything we would characterize as unimaginable trouble, but that’s only because we have good imaginations.

    When you stick your neck out and stand up against the powers that be, trouble is likely to occur. We bet that Bill Moyers is as aware of that as we are.

    The people behind Irregular Times have already gone through much more than we could ever get as a result of a Draft Bill Moyers campaign.

    Of course, we’re not really going to DRAFT Bill Moyers. If he doesn’t want to run for President, we won’t make him. It’s our right to petition Bill Moyers, just as much as it is to petition the government. The whole point of a campaign to draft a candidate is that it’s not run with the person’s permission. If it were run with the candidate’s permission, then it wouldn’t be a campaign to draft the candidate, see.

    We will try to organize and activate the people who think that he should run for President, and not wilt the first time that someone says BOO, whether they’re lawyers or not.

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