You as Presidential Candidate: How Well Would You Withstand Media Scrutiny?

If you were to magically (and involuntarily) trade places with President George Bush or Sen. John Kerry, just how well would you and your life withstand intense media scrutiny?

I’m talking about being subjected to the entire gauntlet: the lacerating pundits, the tabloid exposes, the blistering editorials and hatchet men and gotcha journalists and prime-time microanalyses of your every move since you were tottering in diapers.

Me, I would be mortified. Though I’ve lived a pretty good (if abstemious) life, I’d be so damned embarrassed. My gaffes certainly wouldn’t play well in Peoria, especially given the penchant for the melodramatic among the nation’s spinmeisters.

How would you fare? Discuss.

I wouldn’t carry a single election district. I’ve got some photos, films, entanglements, and circumstances that probably would barely play in San Francisco, much less Peoria. Knowing that, though, I’d feel free to speak my mind on the issues if for no other reason than to start the national debate.


I’m a recovering addict, and although I’ve been clean 18-1/2 years, the decade or so prior to that would not look good. Certain laws may have been broken here and there – i.e., I might have inhaled while in this country.

However, I’ve never married, so at least most (but not necessarily all [sigh]) of my amorous adventures have not involved adultery – for what that’s worth…


Regardless of what really counts (IE, do I look better than the other guy & can I crack off a witty retort fast enough?) it’s been an…immoral life. The sex, lies, drugs, rock-n-roll…

I wouldn’t stand a chance.

I’d probably do okay. I’ve never had even a speeding ticket in my life, and I’ve had few romantic entanglements. None of those were with married men or while I was involved with someone else. Um, no drugs, no smoking, very little drinking. I can’t think of a single thing about me that the media would find the least bit interesting.

Me either - unless my platform was “Drugs, Alcohol, Promiscuous Sex, Bisexuality and Driving Like An Asshole For America.”

Yikes. Past drug use, bizarre sexual encounters, less-than-stellar criminal records…

And that’s just since Tuesday. :wink:
/ I keed, I keed
Well, about the last part anyway.

Uh, that was a “me either” to Earthworm Jim’s post. As in, I wouldn’t stand a chance, in case you hadn’t already guessed.

Damn hamsters.

I, like Bubba Clinton, have had difficulties in my past centered around bimbos and blowjobs. :frowning:

Not good. While my Vietnam service would gain some points, I used to drink a lot, smoked, experimented with pot, had affairs, and am divorced once (although it hadn’t anything to do with most of the preceeding).

On the other hand, I would admit it up front and freely, which would steal the media thunder. I don’t know why more politicians don’t just own up.

I’m an ardent atheist; am bisexual; have a less than stellar academic career; had a run-in with the police that was almost a felony but was luckily dropped to only a speeding ticket; and my longest job has lasted only twenty-two months.

Those’re the only things I can think of that could be put in the tabloids or be used by partisan hacks to try to tear me down.

Even though none of those are particularly offensive (to me, at least), I wouldn’t weather it well at all. Heavy criticisms affect me very badly.

Newspaper Editor: Jimmy!

Jimmy: Yea, chief?

N. E.: Get me everything you can find on this new candidate they got - Xavier. Rufus Xavier. I want a front page spread. Special Edition. The works.

Jimmy: Right away, chief.


Jimmy: Chief?

N. E.: That was fast. What is it?

Jimmy: Well, it turns out he’s Jewish.

N. E.: Dammit! He doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in this election. Bury it on page 5. Let’s run the ‘Hairless Blue Dingo Ate My Chickens’ on the front page. Good work, Jimmy.

I, vibrotronic, am priveleged to accept the vice presidential nomination. I share Ghanima extensive qualifications, plus I’m a former avowed anarcho-communist AND an atheist!

Did I mention that I am also a tall white man with an occasionally explosive temper?

We’ll give 'em hell, Ghanima!

I’d be a national disgrace. Even Clinton would point at me and laugh.

I’ve never even smoked a cigarette or had problems with women or the law. But I’d probably be in a lot of trouble, especially if message board postings were included - for example I’ve flat-out said on the SDMB and elsewhere that I’m an atheist and pro-marijuana legalization.

Additionally, I’m a published journalist, so I’ve put some of my opinions in print and that’s likely a no-no. I was a columnist for my college newspaper this past winter, and I put out a strong defense of gay marriage just when the controversy was peaking. Even worse, I did a really solid job of making my point. :slight_smile: In another column, I took on the Left, primarily for the choices it had made and the tactics it used. Perhaps worst of all I called myself a liberal. That alone would probably be enough to screw me completely.

Probably the thing that would do me the most damage, or at least the thing most easily accessible to all the scrutiny, would be my posts on this very message board. After all, if anyone actually took the time to go through all my posts, it would, i think, be relatively easy to find out who i am. Plenty of stuff that i’ve said on these boards would probably qualify as “anti-American” among the more rabid conservatives, and my atheism probably wouldn’t go down too well, either. Of course, the fact that i wasn’t born in the United States would disqualify me anyway.

As for my more general past, i really don’t think there’s too much i would need to worry about. I’ve never been into illegal drugs, and i’ve never even smoked cigarettes. I drink, and sometimes i get drunk, but i’ve never had a drinking problem. I guess if someone dredged up the occasions where i’ve paid to look at porn on the internet, that probably wouldn’t go over too well with some people. I also spent a year selling cars, which might not do a lot for my credibility, although i’m not sure whether car salesman to politician is a step up or a step down.

How well would I withstand media scrutiny?

Not well.

My present is remarkably conservative, stable, middle-class, wholesome, and so on.

My past, on the other hand, is more than just speckled. I’ve never actually killed anyone. I’ve never been convicted of a felony. On the other hand, I don’t regret my sins so much as I’ve regarded them as material for a funny story or twelve… and my sins are many.

That, and the first pundit who took a cheap shot at my daughter, in print or on video, would soon be facing a very uncomfortable weekend with the Secret Service, and damn the Constitution, anyway. I suspect this would make me very hard to reelect…

Oh they’d shred me in a week, 10 days, tops.

I’m active in my church and pretty outspoken about my faith. As soon as they dug up a couple of youthful indiscretions in my past, it’d be over.

Lessee… The drug use is far in my past, and rather sporadic, but very memorable, once or twice; I’ve had lots of premarital and non-marital sex, and got a woman pregnant and paid for an abortion; I’m an atheist, a socialist, and an elitist; I’ve got a miserable driving record, a short temper, and I’m an impatient, arrogant, irritable, sharp-tongued SOB.

And I’ve cleaned this up.

No problem!

If we’re not counting internet surfing history, probably okay. I don’t have any horrible sins or scandals to cover up, and I can’t think of anything I’ve ever said or wrote that I wouldn’t stand by.

But then, I have no chance in hell of getting elected anyway, seeing as I’m a liberal godless atheist heathen who married a liberal godless communist heathen. I make John Kerry’s Catholic Communion bruhaha look like amateur hour by comparison. :wink: