By Rebecca Sinderbrand If The Issue Fits

So I watched a speech by former Red Cross president Elizabeth Dole for the first time the other day. She has a soothing, telephone-operator voice with a pleasant Southern accent, thankfully more “Designing Women” than “Dukes of Hazzard.” I say “thankfully” because we’re going to hear a lot of it over the next year or so. Barring a freak hairdrying accident or a sudden outpouring of animosity against the Red Cross and all it stands for, Elizabeth Dole is running for president.

This is a good thing, I think. Our presidents have been generally intelligent and largely dedicated, but they have tended to resemble a Shriners convention on a paintball retreat: very white, very male and just a little too quick on the draw. A woman might be a nice change.

I’m not so sure Elizabeth Dole, a woman whose hair belongs in the Smithsonian, will be that pioneer. For one thing, you can insert your Bob Dole/first spouse/Viagra joke of choice here. For another, politics aside, Liddy Dole at public events seems to be just a little too Stepford Wife for my taste.

Granted, she seems to have taken a fairly inoffensive route to presidential hot pick. She has the requisite law degree, the Ivy League degree, the presidential postings. Her politics are difficult to argue with, partially because they’re so difficult to pin down – and who can criticize her resume? We all like Commerce – she was Secretary of. We all like Transportation – ditto. And the Red Cross – who doesn’t like the Red Cross?

Or maybe Hillary Clinton will one day be president, although by the time she gets around to running, she and the President will probably be living in different time zones and exchanging carefully worded holiday cards through their respective personal assistants, or working through their relationship hell on Oprah. (Something along the lines of “I was an enabler, Oprah, but no more . Bill says he’s ready to be the best first spouse ever, which has helped to heal my inner child.”)

The problem there is, Oprah’s quitting in 2002. And America’s a Springer nation now.

This scrutiny may seem a bit insensitive; after all, we tend not to put male candidates through such an extensive critique on their grooming habits or emotional health (although I’ve always thought that if anyone should have a support group, it should be “Failed Presidential Candidates and the Women Who Love Them.” After all, what could be more psychically destabilizing than being rejected by an entire nation?) I’ve always wondered if anyone other than me has noticed Steve Forbes’ amazing resemblance to Richie Rich’s dad in the early ’90s live-action interpretation of the classic comic, and if anyone has, why has no one said anything to him? Don’t his friends like him?

But while Steve Forbes can get away with being a cartoon character and Pat Buchanan can get away with being . well, Pat Buchanan, the first female president will have to be some sort of George Washington in heels and hairspray to win the respect of the majority of Americans. Like it or not, any female president would have to be some sort of Miss America/Marie Curie/Wonder Woman hybrid, attractive in a Donna Reed/earth mother kind of way, with one hand on the nuclear football and the other serving homemade mint julep. I’m not even sure what mint julep is, which is just one reason I will never be president. And you probably won’t either.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Georgetown undergraduate. If you’re a Georgetown undergraduate, there’s a better than even chance you think you’ll be president one day. You may have turned down that joint freshman year, stuffed yourself in the back of some stranger’s sweaty closet when the police started checking IDs that Fourth of July weekend or turned into a teary-eyed, sniveling wreck of a human being in the hopes that those same officers might take pity on you and let you go, or at least have the decency to accept a bribe. You have done all this with the nascent thought that one day, maybe, should your party call on you, you would be proud to accept their nomination for President of the United States of America.

Well, you can relax. Here’s my public service announcement for the semester: you will not be elected president. Ever.

I’ve known I was out of the running since at least 1994, when “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” hit No. 1 at the box office. I realized at the time, if I hadn’t before, just how out of tune I was with the American electorate. But maybe you haven’t yet had that epiphany, and you’re still clinging to the faint hope of a place in the pantheon of national leadership. You shouldn’t. It’s not gonna happen. Don’t believe me? Here is my handy checklist of “Signs that you will never be elected president. Ever.” If even one of these describes you, then you will never be commander-in-chief. If all of them do, get thee to a licensed counselor, and fast:

1) In elementary school, you lost the milk monitor election to a good-looking kid whose platform was “Ich bin ein second-grader.” You were eventually elected, but resigned in a haze of controversy following an unfortunate incident involving the class gerbil, after which you mercifully faded from public view.

2) In high school, you were in the band, but you didn’t play a cool instrument like the saxophone. You played the concertina, or worse, the triangle.

3) You are from one of the square states, the ones in the middle. Face facts: by the middle of the next century, California will have about two-thirds of the nation’s electoral votes, with New York, Texas and Florida in a death-match for the rest.

4)You currently own or have owned any of the following: A New Kids on the Block CD. Any book by John Gray, of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” fame. A crack pipe.

5) Before you left for college, your mother gave you the phone number of her cousin, the Washington attorney, “just in case.”

6) You have him on speed-dial.

7) You have woken up outside the Tombs in a pool of your own vomit.

8) You have failed to return a library book. You know who you are – and so does the library. And, like we say in Brooklyn, “you don’t mess with the library.”

9) Your name is Steve Forbes.

10) You are a Hoya columnist.

If the Issue Fits appears every other Tuesday in The Hoya.

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