My name is Michael Bennet, and today I announced my campaign for the presidency of the United States.
Seeking the world’s most powerful office is always an audacious act. And doing so in the present context — when the Democratic Party already has a crowded primary field full of great candidates — may seem especially brazen. So let me assure you, I did not take this decision lightly.
The Democrats who’ve already declared are all fine public servants. In ordinary times, I’d be content to support just about any of them. But these are not ordinary times. Today, the American people don’t just need good presidential candidates. They need ones who are willing to level with them, no matter the political costs. I could sit here and say that I’m running for president because America is the greatest nation on earth; or because another four years of Donald Trump would fundamentally change our nation’s character; or because the American Dream is at death’s door. But over the past three years, I’d say voters have had their fill of “alternative facts.” And I am the only candidate in this race who’s willing to ditch the poll-tested bromides, tear up the focus-group memos, and tell the people of this great nation the unvarnished truth: I am running for president because I would like to get on TV and sell some goddamn books.
America stands at a crossroads. In one direction lies division, decline, and ecological devastation; in the other, inclusion, global leadership, and sustainable prosperity. But this campaign is about something much smaller than that. It’s about whether I, as an individual, can get my memoir onto Amazon’s top-ten Bestsellers in Politics & Government. It’s about whether we’re going to live in a country where I am invited onto the network’s Sunday shows once every two months — or once every two weeks. Above all, it’s about whether I can look my children in the eye and say, “Darlings, you’re going to have to ask your mother about that, because Daddy has found an excuse to be gone for most of the next six months.”
Our republic has reached a critical juncture. An authoritarian China is gaining economic power and geopolitical influence at breakneck speed. The stagnation of middle-class wages threatens our children’s economic future, while climate change threatens their grandchildren’s very survival. But when I look into the decades to come, I do not do so with the slightest trepidation. Because I know that our republic has faced challenges just as vexing in the past, and, time after time, by hook or by crook, people as wealthy and white as I am have made it through just fine. If you want crocodile tears about Mother Gaia, go listen to Beto O’Rourke. If you want the truth, then read my lips — I’ve got half of my retirement savings invested in water, and another quarter in Albertan farmland. When the Ogallala Aquifer dries up, I’m going to be a fucking zillionaire. By the time the rising tides hit the fan, I’ll either be dead or strapped into an Oculus Rift on a luxury satellite like the one in Pixar’s Wall-E. And at that point, I promise you, I will care no more about what happens to you peasants than you all care about what’s happening to the bees.
Our country sits at the drive-through of destiny, staring down a wide range of menu options. The questions before us are pregnant with consequence. Will we choose to revive our democratic ideals, or acquiesce to creeping oligarchy? Recognize the necessity of solidarity, or retreat to a grubby individualism? More important, from my perspective, is whether The Pursuit of Truthfulness or Rocky Mountain Guy a better book title. Which will give me the best possible chance of outselling Hickenlooper by a margin wide enough to make him grimace, momentarily, the next time our eyes meet at a fund-raiser in Cherry Creek? And what can I say on the debate stage this June that will go so viral that when someone types Michael Bennett into Google, they will not be taken to news and information about a New England Patriots defensive end but will rather be asked, Did you mean “Michael Bennet”?
These are the questions that my campaign will seek to answer in the weeks and months ahead. But while this stunt candidacy is about me — not “us” — I cannot sustain it alone. If I’m going to palliate my nagging sense of insignificance by proving myself to be a less forgettable middle-aged white man than John Hickenlooper, I’m going to need your disposable income. So please, join me in this fight. Together, I believe, we can funnel significant amounts of money into the advertising firm that my friend Carl operates and thus secure favors from him at some future date.
(This is a work of satire. The real Michael Bennet is surely a lovely individual with the best of intentions.)