I’m Running For President Of The United States

This announcement that I am running for president appeared in the May 12, 2015 Washington Times. It nicely describes my credentials and prospects.

Silverstein throws his hat into the ring
(No one else has claimed the lefty libertarian mantle)

By Michael Silverstein – – Tuesday, May 12, 2015

While nobody has actually asked me to run for president of the United States, I have begun to sense a yearning for me to do so emanating from the ranks of the still-uncommitted silent majority.

So after prayers, fasting, discussions with my family, and careful consideration of opinions offered by Sunday morning talking heads, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring as a Republican.

Am I qualified?

While it’s true that I’ve never performed brain surgery, run a computer company, and wasn’t born in Hope, Arkansas — qualifications listed by other recently declared candidates — I bring to the contest things these others lack.

I’m the only wannabe, for example, who has tried to live on Social Security and succeeded, at least to date. It’s the kind of real-world experience that will resonate strongly with a very large and endlessly ticked off voting bloc — crotchety old white men.

And that’s not all.

I’ve never actually held public office, which is a real plus in today’s world as my record can’t be either found or attacked. Still, I am the only presently announced candidate of either party who has been on a past presidential ticket — though not at the top of this ticket.

In 1992, I was privileged to be selected by the American Art Party as its vice-presidential standard bearer by virtue of my work as an anti-parking ticket crusader. The top of the ticket that year was occupied by a house cat named Colette Silverwood. (Boy, could that tabby work a room!). I’m proud to report that while this party’s spending on the campaign was no greater than the cost of a can of Sheba, we still got as many electoral votes as Ross Perot, who spent millions on his own run.

People talk a lot these days about the need for inclusiveness with candidates bragging incessantly about their sensitivity to the needs and desires of different ethnicities, genders and folks of differing sexual orientations. That’s nice. But if the public really wants a candidate with a proven big-tent background, I am someone who can boast of being politically linked to a running mate of a different species, which has to give me an edge.

Where do I stand on the big issues? Let’s just say they are evolving.

I still have yet to meet with Sheldon Adelson to construct a foreign policy, and with Charles Koch to come up with one that covers energy and the environment. Reaching out still further, I plan to bring in policy professionals from past Republican administrations to advise me about how to make the country’s economy better by further enriching the rich so they trickle down more largesse, and get their suggestions concerning where to start our next big war. I’m certain these experts have a lot of ideas on these matters.

This is not to say I won’t seek advice from real people as well. I intend to meet with these real Americans in primary state diners at 11 in the morning, the time and place real Americans gather for eggs, coffee and an occasional doughnut.

Many candidates avoid such encounters because they find it impossible to listen attentively to their whines, snivels and moans. That won’t be a problem for this candidate. I’m well stocked with Xanax and Valium, and for especially tiresome crowds, I may even have a few Quaaludes left over from my days as a Deadhead.

Now you’re probably wondering about my attitude toward accepting campaign contributions from special interest PACs. Will I do that?

You think a guy willing to take second place on a ticket topped by a house cat would feel bad about selling his soul to very rich people? Who am I to deny the right of these folks to buy influence, anyway?

So I’m in — win or lose — and if I don’t make it this time around, I have a back-up plan.

I might accept a generous book deal, join a conservative think tank as a visiting scholar or combine both with a speaking tour. As a former presidential candidate, I would also be in line to join some Fortune 500 boards, become a Fox regular, and maybe spew wisdom to young people at an Ivy League college for an hour once a week.

Or I could join the private sector by managing a hedge fund. Compensation here fell dramatically from 2013 to 2014, but the top 25 hedge fund managers still eke out a combined income of $11.67 billion or an acceptable $211,538 an hour.

A person could live pretty comfortably on that. There might even be enough left over to self-fund a future political campaign. Or if that seems like too much trouble, hire a substitute to front my agenda once I develop one.

• Michael Silverstein is a former senior editor with Bloomberg’s Markets magazine. His latest book, now available on Amazon, is Gorilla Warfare Against the Bureaucratic State (Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian).

Here’s the link to the story about Silverstein’s run that appeared in the Washington Times:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/12/michael-silverstein-michael-silverstein-throws-his/#ixzz3a3H3tw91

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Mitt Romney — An Ecologically Unsound Choice For President

Before I became a senior editor with Bloomberg Financial News where my work revolved around business and economic issues, I spent years writing about the environment. This background has given me a rather interesting focus — an ability to see some important similarities in the ways the natural world and the world of economics operate. From this perspective, it’s clear to me why Mitt Romney should not be put in charge of the U.S. economy.

Predators and vultures play important roles in both natural and economic systems. Herds of animals, for example, have to be regularly culled to improve the herd’s overall health and viability. Predators do the job. They kill the weak, the diseased, the careless, the inadequately protected young. Then vultures, hyenas and other members of nature’s clean up crew consume the mess and “refashion it” in the form of their own waste, which helps fertilize fields where healthy members of the herd feed.

Things work much the same way in the economic realm. Companies, industries, entire nations show signs of weakness and predators of various kinds attack (think bond vigilantes in world markets). Then the market’s vultures move in to clean up the mess. The result is a healthier economic “herd,” a healthier Main Street, that can grow in healthier ways having been culled of its unproductive or no longer desirable elements.

Mitt Romney’s major business experience, what he is putting forth as his major qualification to reanimate the economy as President, is his work at Bain Capital, a Wall Street vulture fund. In spite of the unflattering image the word “vulture” evokes, as is true in natural economies, these funds play an important and valuable role in keeping economies healthy.

Based on the above, one might suppose that Romney’s history with Bain was something he could truthfully claim qualifies him to get America back on its feet economically. Look a little closer, however, and its easy to see this is actually a work history guaranteed to point a new President Romney in the wrong economic directions.

The reason? Because what was described above is the way things work in a properly functioning natural ecology or environment — one in which the various parts, the herds (whatever they might consist of), the predators, the vultures, are all in balance.

If you come upon a natural ecology where herds have been overly culled, while at the same time lions and leopards are overly well fed, and the numbers and size of vultures and hyenas are enormous, you’ve got a sick ecosystem. If you see an economy in which Main Street is wobbly and anguished, while the predators and vultures of Wall Street wax fatter and fatter, you’ve got a sick economy.

Our own economy today is over-Bained, over-Citied, badly under-Main Streeted. The main economic problem here isn’t the cast of economic players and what each is supposed to do to keep things healthy. It’s that the balance wrought by some of these players, the predators and vultures, has made things very, very out-of-whack.

Culling this herd, culling Main Street more than it has already been culled, won’t improve our economic health. Doing so might not always be the wrong prescription. But it is certainly the wrong prescription for the wrong disease today.

Expecting this reality to be appreciated and acted upon appropriately by a former partner in a vulture fund backed by Wall Street predators is thus a very silly political choice for a mighty sick Main Street herd.

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To learn more about a quirky novel, a very unusual book of verse, and some Goldman Sachs satires from the author of this piece, hit one of these icons:

Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012           A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012         The Chronicles Of Selig Cartwright, Goldman Sachs Washroom Attendant: Volume 1 by Michael Silverstien

 

Note To Democrats In 2012: Pick The Right People To Demonize

If Obama loses the presidency this fall, it will probably be because he ran against the wrong opponent. He ran against Mitt Romney.

Democrats used to know who and how to demonize Republicans in order to win elections. When FDR ran for reelection in 1936, he didn’t run against his official Republican opponent that year, Kansas Governor Alf Landon. He ran against Herbert Hoover. Against Hoovervilles. Against problems the New Deal had not yet fixed because the economic legacy of Herbert Hoover was too awful to fix quickly.

In 2004 the Democrats had another opportunity to demonize and triumph, but blew it that time around. The target they should have gone after that year but didn’t wasn’t sitting President George W. Bush, who, though he had gotten the country into an unpopular war in Iraq and wasn’t presiding over a booming economy, was actually a really likable guy. The demonizing target opportunity here was thus not President Bush. It was others in the Bush Administration.

The John Kerry slogan in 2004 should have been: “A president is known by the company he keeps.” And the demonizing targets should have included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld. Gale Norton and John Ashcroft, all of whom were generally disliked and distrusted by most Americans, and a few of whom were loathed by a goodly number — a vice-president and powerful cabinet members for whom the likable George W. Bush functioned as the perfect beard.

Which brings us to the current election campaign of 2012. There are early indications that the Obama campaign will focus on running against Mitt Romney, focus on Governor Romney’s own background and present nostrums to reanimate the economy.

Not an altogether bad approach, of course. Romney does come with a lot of baggage. He’s a former CEO of a Wall Street vulture fund. He changes his official views almost daily to accommodate near term political needs. And his nostrums to improve the economy, when you look closely at them, are just a formula to give more to the very rich in hopes they will give some back to everyone else.

All this, however, might not keep Mr. Obama in the White House as the Romney camp points out endlessly, and alas, quite correctly, that the economy hasn’t improved all that much since Obama took office.

What then, might this year’s Obama campaign learn from a past successful FDR campaign and a past unsuccessful Kerry campaign that might be effective in meeting the 2012 Romney challenge?

With regard to the former, endlessly demonize the eight years of George W. Bush in the White House, the massive economic disaster he left behind, and the aim of Mitt Romney to bring back these same Bush policies on an even greater scale. In other words don’t run against Romney, the would-be Obama fixer. Run against Romney the would-be Bush legacy repeater.

And with regard to the company Governor Romney keeps: Congress these days, especially the Republican dominated House of Representatives, has the lowest poll numbers in history. Demonize Romney as the man who will give this extremely unpopular Republican House of Representatives the power to impose its unpopular tax and other stances on the American people. Constantly place before voters the image of Romney the expediter of increasing unpopular Tea Party views and the views of extreme social conservatives.

The 2012 slogan of choice here: “Mitt Romney is known by the company he keeps in Congress, and the company he joined with on the road to his nomination.” Get the focus off the man. Get it on his unpopular associates.

Republicans have mastered the demonize and triumph technique. It’s not nice but it works. Democrats would benefit from playing the same game only better.

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To learn more about a quirky novel (and a very unusual book of verse) from the author of this piece, hit one of these icons:

Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, art by Kay Wood ©2012              A Dyspeptic's Guide To Contemporary American Politics (In Verse) ©2012

A New Role For The Democratic Party — Comic Relief

Watching elected Democrats in the White House and Congress in the last couple of weeks was like watching a skinny little blowhard getting thrown out of a bar. Lying on the sidewalk he rails at the bouncer who sent him flying, while the bouncer, arms folded, merely smirks as the beaten little guy vents before slouching off.

The Republicans are Washington’s political bouncers these days. They have the measure of the Democrats down perfectly. We won’t compromise, they say, and the Democrats’ response is that if they won’t compromise we must. And like the bar bouncer, the Republicans let the beaten little guy lying on the sidewalk vent because…well, because the scene amuses them.

But why should the Republicans have all the fun? Why shouldn’t the rest of us not share in their amusement — especially those of us foolish enough to have believed the change and hope blather of that articulate Obama fellow, and the twaddle of congressional Democrats that they were actually up to governing effectively? Because once you get over disappointment with the Democrats’ ineptitude, and the shame in yourself for ever having trusted them to advance your interests, these folks are really quite a hoot.

Consider, for example, the amazing misunderstanding of Democratic policy advisers who actually believe that the “compromise” they went along with will give an extra boost to the present “recovery,” and position Democrats to keep the White House in 2012. Forgetting for the moment that this compromise was really a cave in, and the recovery ostensibly going on since June 2009 is a numbers game played by economists with few close links to Main Street reality, even a better economy in 2012 won’t work to the advantage of the President and his party.

Why? Because the Republicans have pulled off a political master stroke. They constrained the Democrats while the latter supposedly controlled all the elected power pieces in Washington, then ran the table during the lame duck session now coming to an end, and will set the agenda completely starting in January. Thus, they will be able to take credit in 2012 for a real recovery if by some miracle one occurs. But if it doesn’t, they will point to Democrats’ numerical control in the Senate and ownership of the White House and again blame the Democrats for economic failure.

Real political power with the option of taking credit for success and avoiding blame for failure. A master stroke. And the Democrats don’t have a clue.

Now ain’t that a hoot? Another great example of Democratic comic relief.

And then there’s the White House’s just initiated attempt to heal things with the liberal wing of its own party. Or the sanctimonious, purist, ungrateful liberal wing of the party as the Obama team likes to say, while folks like James Carville, that well known moderate Democratic strategist, refers to these liberals “gnats.”

Can you just see the meetings between the Obama team and these dissed progressives? The Obama gang desperately trying to triangulate, to appear friendly to the left without looking too friendly because the president’s best-and-brightest advisers are telling him this will turn off independent voters, while the progressives in the room are wondering if they can secret away some of the excellent pastries on the table so they come out of these meetings with at least something of value.

The hoots keep coming. And there’s plenty more to come.

Attention liberals, progressives, lefties, purists, gnats and whatever else they want to call us. We no longer have a dog in this fight. But there’s more to life than politics. A lot more. It’s time to really move on, to focus our energies in non-political realms, and to give our support to people who are worthy of receiving it.
Oh yes. And to read The Times and watch news on Public Television for laughs.