I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.


I read somewhere about how the wisdom of the ancients led to almost all the 10 commandments being couched in negative terms, i.e., don’t do this, don’t do that – instead of the more familiar positive, e.g., do this, do that.

Sounds like smart advice, actually, since a negative set of rules opens up an entire world of possibilities. Wriggle-room, if you will, circumscribed only by a set of don’ts that are nearly universal in character anyway.

So, for 2010, I’m going to be primarily using a negative set of criteria to judge candidates by:

10: Don’t ignore the internet – when candidates ignore the candidate, they virtually shut-out a growing number of us voters who prefer to get our news on-line, rather than from the teevee or radio or the papers or (GASP!) at one of your rallies. What sort of prez will you be if you can’t even be in touch with the internet crowd?

9: Don’t be afraid to trot out your legislative voting record; and if you can, don’t be afraid to compare your voting record with that of your opponent – it’s ok. we’re not children. and we’re not stupid. we understand how legislation works. so tell us how you worked.

8: Don’t hide skeletons in your closet – it’s an election … do you honestly think you’re dirty laundry won’t be raked up and exposed to the light of public scrutiny. if you don’t come clean up front, you’re just gonna look like you tried to pretend to be clean, and that’ll be very bad for you.

7: Don’t make promises you can’t or won’t keep – two words: rizal day.

6: Don’t appoint relatives to powerful positions, except maybe Solicitor General – after all, the SolGen really will be your lawyer and people won’t begrudge you the kind of confidence you can repose only in a family member. Other than that, the potential for a relative to become an influence peddler is just too damned high that even if your relative isn’t actually doing anything, chances are we will think that he is.

5: Don’t be a cold bitch – there is a balance between hyper-efficiency and the human touch. a president who knows how to play pick-up basketball once in awhile will be appreciated.

4: Don’t suck up to the military – that way leads to a hostage situation where the most powerful civilian in the country is only one disgruntled general away from a forcible retirement.

3: Don’t be a fucking populist – we need a prez who can make hard decisions; not a prez who whores for public opinion but screws up the country in the long run. eating with your hands at a boodle fight may make for a good photo-op, but it doesn’t do squat for the country.

2: Don’t be vague – you’ll only make it crystal clear that you’re more stupid than you think we think you are. If you don’t have an answer, do us the courtesy of admitting it. And don’t insult our intelligence by insinuating that things you can’t answer aren’t worth answering anyway. they are.

1: Don’t sing, don’t dance – you’re probably off-key and as clumsy as a pregnant cow anyway. this isn’t a beauty contest and we’re not looking for that kind of talent.


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