General Aviation Party Presidential Candidate
In Brainteaser Quiz #165, I asked, "What certificated general aviation (GA) pilot (preferably living, but that's not a deal breaker) should be the next president of the United States?" No actual politicians were eligible for consideration. Three unnamed pols attempted to sneak into our caucus but were unmasked and will be forced to stand atop a bale of straw at the Iowa State Fair on a 95-degree day in August, pretending to like corndogs while pandering to a crowd of sunburned beer drinkers ... oh wait, they already do that.
We received over 120 secret ballots. The votes were examined for fraud and then tabulated in a secure location at the General Aviation Party (GAP) headquarters, which is located in the back of my hangar beside the parts washer tank. Here now are the results arranged alphabetically in ascending order, beginning with those who received at least two votes, indicating they didn't just vote for themselves.
I (Paul Berge) managed to pick up two votes and would've had more, but the publisher said I couldn't vote more than twice. Being from New Jersey, I found that absurd. Still, two were all the votes Jimmy Stewart, John Travolta and Sean Tucker managed, and they weren't cheating.
Not that I was cheating ...
I am not a crook.
And two votes were independently cast, as best we could decipher, for Zarcon The Mage and Lord Parsley from the fantasy web series Castle Siege.
Coming in at three votes each were AOPA's former president Phil Boyer and supersonic hero Chuck Yeager. Yeager would bring a much higher cool factor to the job, vital when staring down foreign evildoers.
Actor/pilot/god, Morgan Freeman, secured four votes for president. Also polling at four votes was "Me." More accurately, four anonymous voters simply identified their favorite GA pilot candidate as "Me." So, tally four votes for "Me." I can hear the oath of office being administered: "I, Me, do solemnly swear ..." An additional benefit to Me being president would come whenever a policy flops, and the electorate howls, "Me's an idiot! Toss Me out!"
Four votes aren't good enough for the top slot, though. AOPA's current president, Craig L. Fuller, garnered 4.3 votes. Fractional votes are due to some voters splitting their ballots by naming several candidates on one. But even 3/10 more vote than Me had won't get Fuller out of the primaries, because Bob Hoover took in 5.3 votes for president. I'm picturing a Hoover/Tucker ticket. Can you imagine the aerial inauguration parade?
Captain "Sully" Sullenberger pulled in six votes, putting him in what would seem to be serious contention, but six doesn't hold a flamed-out candle to the runaway, landslide victor -- who'll probably just tell us to stick the nomination in our exhaust stacks.
Ladies and gentlemen, the people have spoken -- or at least those who figured out how to work the link to get to this tally -- and the General Aviation Party's 2012 candidate for president of the United States, with 24.5 votes (over four times what Sully got), is Harrison Ford. You know, the Star Wars guy with the earring and neat airplanes and helicopters.
Not to toss cold beer on this political party, but have the 24.5 voters who supported Ford thought about the consequences of this GA enthusiast in the White House? Mainly, he'll never be there! And you know how much hassle it is, now, having a president constantly jetting about the country wrapped in a protective 60-mile TFR bubble. Mr. Ford, should he accept the office, would never give up his Aviat Husky, which means that every back-valley airstrip from Oil Sands, Mont., to Nuevo Malario, Texas, will be shut down with TFRs on every VFR weekend. Still, maybe President Harrison Ford could use his new powers to eliminate TFRs, TSA and big chunks of the FAA ... hmm.
Allow me (not Me) to be the first to congratulate Mr. Harrison Ford for his great achievement. Give 'em hell, Harrison!
While few have been chosen, many have run only to fail miserably. Here, now (in alphabetical order), is the list of also-rans who earned one vote each:
Race pilot and tavern owner, Pancho Barnes, was nominated by someone who suggested renaming the White House the Happy Bottom Riding Club East (a suggestion first floated in the Clinton years).
AVweb's own Paul Bertorelli picked up a single vote, as did Scott Brooksby (yeah, we don't know him, either). Tom Bush (a USN pilot unrelated to the George Bushes, both of whom are pilots but don't qualify because they're politicians) grabbed a vote.
The list of one-vote-getters continues with aviation author Richard Collins and former AMR CEO Robert Crandall. ATP and musician Bruce Dickensen, from the British heavy metal group Iron Maiden, grabbed a vote with a campaign promise to rework "Hail To The Chief" into something far more disturbing. It's unclear if being a foreign national will adversely affect Dickensen's chances in the race.
More single-vote getters include J.E. Burnside, John Deacon, Jeff Dunham, Ronald R. Fogleman, Hoot Gibson (either the astronaut or the 1920s silent movie star, it's unclear which, but we'll accept contributions on behalf of either), Jerry Hierts, Al Haines, Jake Hollow and Martha King. It's telling that although Martha only received one vote, her husband John also received a lone vote but for VP.
General Curtis LeMay found a vote, but it was disallowed. As much as we loved his cigar-chomping SAC demeanor, he ran for office in 1968 and is therefore ineligible. Being dead now has nothing to do with his elimination. In fact, we're not convinced he really is dead. Has anyone seen his real death certificate? Just asking.
Other candidates not getting out the vote beyond one each include Arnold Palmer, Jack Pelton, Matt Petrie and EAA founder, Paul Poberezny. His son, Tom, received 0.3 votes, because he was nominated on the same ballot with two other candidates, another example of the danger in splitting one's vote. Another split-vote victim is Jeff Skiles, the right-seat half of Seaplaning-on-the-Hudson fame, who received a semi-vote (0.5) for president.
Continuing with the votes-of-one list there was an endorsement for actor and pilot Kurt Russell. Brothers Burt and Dick Rutan gleaned one vote each, perhaps by voting for each other. It's worth noting that no one nominated either Wright Brother or any of the Marx Brothers.
Barry Schiff picked up a single vote, tying him with Snoopy. Personally, I would vote for Barry, but in fairness I don't see any problem with a fictional dog running the White House. We could do worse.
Political unknowns Bill Scott and Gary Stevens each earned a vote. Perhaps by 2016, should they run again, we may learn more about them, including who they are.
And, finally, household names Dick Van Grunsven of Van's Aircraft RV-3-4-6-7-etc., fame and Brian Webster, who, to the best of my knowledge, writes dictionaries, rounded out the one-vote-only slate.
Beyond 600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Many GAP voters overreached the presidential mandate and nominated VPs and other cabinet members. We allowed it because, frankly, most people don't care about these positions. Phil Boyer and Morgan Freeman both received nods for VP as did Patty Wagstaff and, as we mentioned earlier, John King. (No doubt Martha's still giggling over that.)
New Jersey's favorite son, John Travolta, was nominated for Secretary of State, a sound choice because he comes with his own jets. Sully and Skiles split a ticket with half-votes each in the Secretary of Transportation category.
Jimmy Buffet holds a one-and-only point lead in the Secretary of Interior race, an apt choice to be sure, since Interior throws the inaugural party.
Pilot and actress Angelina Jolie has a one-vote lock on Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, possibly the dullest cabinet post there is. Our sympathies to Brad.
Chuck Woolery was nominated for Treasury, David Oreck (we think he makes vacuum cleaners) was tapped to head Commerce, and Klingon Michael Dorn has been nominated by one vote to head the Department of Defense. Like most voters, we're really not sure who some of those guys are, but ignorance is no excuse when it comes to voting or tabulating survey results.
That's the lot. It's time now for you to volunteer in the struggle to get the GAP candidate (Ford, if we can find him) onto the November 2012 ballot. And come January 2013, we'll start building that hangar on the White House lawn.
Remember, if you don't vote, some non-pilot might.