Saturday, October 30, 2010

Project Run-Off

Elections come and go and every year it’s the same thing: a dozen or so men and women overwhelmed with their own sense of self importance vie for a spot on the ballot and then two or three square off in the election, hurling mud, false accusations and touting their own spurious virtues as they attempt to win our votes and “earn” a trip to Washington DC (or Austin, Albany or any of the other state capitols).

It’s time for a change. The election process in its present form is cumbersome, expensive and extremely annoying. It’s time to take a page from those people who know what the American people want and who know how to deliver it. It’s time for “Project Run-Off”.

Anyone who’s anyone knows that Gretchen recently stole the prize that Mondo deserved on “Project Runway”. Such are the vagaries of reality TV. But, the processes utilized by TV shows such as American Idol, Project Runway, Dancing with the Stars, among others lend themselves very well to our electoral system. After all, on most such programs a group of 10-15 contestants, most of which have had to demonstrate some prior qualification, compete week after week hoping to win the grand prize, some sort of fortune and fame. The process and result is similar to an election campaign, only a bit more entertaining and far more civilized.

So, starting with the 2012 Presidential campaign, which I’m sure will kick off the moment all the returns are in from the November 2nd election, all presidential wannabees will have to go through a grueling audition process, be selected by our panel of judges to go to the Elimination Round, scheduled to be held in Branson, MO in January 2011 and then be selected as one of the final fourteen candidates to compete each week on national television, starting during the sweeps month of May, with the finale in November 2012. In order to be truly fair and balanced, all networks will be given the option of picking up the broadcast.

Each week, the panel of judges will provide commentary and give their score for each contestant, but viewers also will vote, with eliminations based on a combined score, a la “Dancing with the Stars”. The panel of judges will consist of former president Bill Clinton, certainly qualified based on his past experience, former Hollywood Madame Heidi Fleiss, a woman well versed in intimate interaction with the rich and powerful, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man averse to everything American, but one that will surely provide even handed commentary and, finally, George, a bank teller from Piscatawy, New Jersey, selected to keep the panel connected to the common man.

Producer James Calhoun comments, “We want to flesh out the contestants. One week they may be asked to create a lavish state dinner for powerful heads of state, but with a budget of only $200, shopping limited to what’s on the shelves at the Pennsylvania Avenue Convenience Mart and preparation limited to two hours, utilizing only a single medium sized sauce pan and a hot plate. The next week they may be required to plan and carry out a military operation in Somalia, with a budget of only $1000, weapons limited to an arsenal of water pistols. The competition will test not only the resourcefulness, but also the character of the contestant.”

Director Clint Westwood added, “My favorite week will be ‘temptation week; each of our contestants will face some form of temptation, one that would not be uncommon to our president, but also selected based on the precompetition questionnaire each contestant will have filled out. It could be a White House intern offering sexual favors, a Russian spy with a sack full of money, a guest role on CSI or any of several others, some more unsavory than others. The goal is to demonstrate any character flaws before the contestant assumes the responsibilities of Commander in Chief, with his finger on that proverbial button.”

The competition will continue until there are only two contestants remaining. The final pair will live together in a one bedroom apartment for six weeks, cook for each other and have to perform a variety of tasks, sometimes working together, sometimes competing, all under the watchful eye of our judges and the our viewing audience. At the end of this period each will address the combined Senate and House of Representatives, laying out a program designed to face the challenges our nation faces today. They will then receive scores from our judges on creativity, originality and probable effectiveness. Viewers will then have twenty four hours to cast their votes, either by phone, texting or online, with each individual allowed one vote through each channel. The votes will be tallied by the accounting firm of Hood, Wink and Swindle and the results announced on the results show the following night.

We truly believe that “Project Run-Off” will make the election process more civilized, fairer and provide a far clearer image of our future leader. And, we will all be spared those boring, patronizing, insulting political ads that are a blight on our airways, stealing valuable airtime from truly important programs, such as “The Jerry Springer Show” and “Oprah”.