The test for president
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 by Ron Cruger
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        The 44th President of the United States stopped pacing in front of the windows opening to the Rose Garden and sat down in the large leather chair behind the massive presidential desk.
        He stretched his legs out under the desk and with two quick movements slipped out of his shoes. He placed his interlocking fingers behind his head and extended his whole body until he felt completely relaxed – at least as relaxed as a President of the United States could ever be.
        The President eased his mind as he watched the ebbing rays of the sun illuminate a group of dust motes as the appeared to slide down its rays. He looked at his calendar, it read “March 6, 2012.”
        Thoughts raced through his mind. “It’s been almost four years since I was elected. It’s been so difficult. My approval ratings are lower than my predecessor’s. The job has been a thousand times more difficult than I thought it would be. And now I am faced with another election campaign. God give me the strength to go through it again and give me the good fortune to win a second term.”
        An energetic knock on the Oval Office door startled the President. He sat up straight and quickly slid into his shoes. “Yes, come in.”
        His Chief of Staff entered. A tall, distinguished and highly respected assistant to the President of the United States walked towards the President’s desk and said, “Mr. President, Congress has passed the ‘Special Election Commission’ bill. It is now law.”
        The President stood and turned towards the Rose Garden for a few seconds then he snapped back and faced his Chief of Staff. “What the hell is going to happen now? Sit down, sit down, please.”
        The Chief of Staff walked to a chair facing the President’s desk and gently sat down.
        “Mr. President, this new law, creating the ‘Special Election Commission’ will change a great deal for you and for your opponent on the other side of the aisle. It’s the biggest change in election laws and methods in the history of the country.”
        The President leaned forward, leaning both elbows on his desktop, his chin cupped in both of his palms. “So, now what do we have to do? We have less than a year to go before the elections. These damn things are hard enough, now they made running for this office even harder! Let’s go over the new law. Let’s get started.”
        “Well, first of all, Mr. President, all legitimate and announced candidates for president must take an ‘Intelligence Test.’ The test must be performed sometime six months before the presidential election. The results of the tests will be made public.”
        “Secondly, all candidates must take the ‘Briggs-Meyer’ personality type test and the results of that test will also be made public.”
        “The third portion of the new law states that each legitimate presidential candidate must take a complete medical physical examination. Once again, the results will be made public.”
        “A fourth condition of the new law mandates that all presidential candidates must present a detailed financial statement, including every dollar and gift received from lobbyists during the time they held public office.
        The President pushed his chair from his desk and stood. “What else? What else could these people want from me? Do we have to bare our souls before we can be elected?”
        “Well, Mr. President, there is one more portion of the new ‘Special Election Commission’ law. This is the fifth and most intriguing part. Each presidential candidate will be given one or more of the country’s more difficult problems to offer a solution. There will be a list of major national problems and every candidate will attend a ceremony and must pick a minimum of one national problem in a blind drawing and it will be that candidate’s task to present his or her written and oral solution to the problem. Each candidate will have six-weeks to prepare and then present the solution to the American public – on television. A candidate can draw up to four national problems to solve and present to the American public on television within six-weeks.”
        “Mr. President, the American people demanded that this new law be put into action before the next election. With your approval ratings, as low as they are, it is a message from the people that trust in this office has plummeted to a new low. The problem is that this administration took on many national problems almost four years ago and told the electorate that we had the answers and we would solve these problems. We haven’t done a good job in correcting the problems and providing solutions. The American public wants changes and they want to be sure they elect the right person to sit in this office. They figure that by getting more information about the candidates they will have a better chance of electing the strongest person – the one that will solve the nation’s problems.”
        “If you’ll remember, Mr. President, you promised that you would correct the terrible financial situation that has infected the country. You said you would make Wall Street more responsible and transparent and that hasn’t happened so far. It’s been over three years, Sir. And there were other things that still haven’t been fixed – like the war on terrorism; we’re still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re still losing thousands of jobs overseas. There has been no activity in protecting the environment. There as been little done combating crime in the country. Nothing has been done regarding providing health care for the millions of uncovered Americans. There are millions of American children going to bed hungry every night. America’s housing problems still exist. The Social Security funding problem remains the same as they were. You told America that you would lessen the impact of special interest lobbying in Washington and that has gotten worse during the past three years. And the tax situation remains unchanged from the former President’s tenure. So, Mr. President, the American voter is looking for more evidence that they are selecting the best possible person to lead the country for four years starting in January, 2013.”
        The President absently stared at his Chief of Staff.
        “Mr. President, it appears that the American public has become fed up with promises. Seems like they’ve heard enough promises – they want action. Prudent action!”
        The Chief of Staff noticed a small bead of sweat rolling down the President’s cheek.