The Impossible Dream

I nodded off the other night as I was reading in the New York Times about how the president had been telling the vice president the way to win the election was to lighten up, to relax, to get out of that blue suit and switch to sport shirts when he campaigned.

Well, soon I was dreaming, and another presidential candidate was telling me about his strategy. I couldn't tell if he was a Democrat or a Republican, but he did have an unusual approach.

Instead of going through all those polls about what to wear and what people want to hear, he said he was just going to tell everyone what he believed. Then, he said, if enough people agreed with him, he'd keep on running. But if he didn't, he'd have more time for sports shirts.

"For instance," he said, "we'd tell people we've got to step on some toes if we're really serious about reducing teen-age violence and fixing Social Security and HMOs and schools." And if we want a first-class military, he was going to tell people they have to pay for it.

But if you're really serious about all that, the gun lobby and the entertainment industry will turn on you, not to mention the senator lobby, the liberals, the conservatives and who knows who else.

"But that's why I'm running," he said. "To change people's minds. Otherwise, what's the point?"

One other thing he said: "I'm going to try to set a good example."

Well, about then, the dream began to fade, as dreams always do.

I never could make out whether he was wearing a sports shirt or a suit.