TV 101: Seven reasons Simon Cowell should be our next president

by Jay Black, posted Apr 3rd 2008 11:02AM
Who wouldn't want to see this face on the one dollar bill?Here is an unimpeachable truth: anyone who wants to be president probably shouldn't be president. If you spend $400,000,000 for a $400,000 a year job, you're either stupid or corrupt or (most likely) both. In an ideal world, a presidential hopeful accepts the nomination with reluctance, George Washington style.

It's with this in mind that I'd like to start a movement to draft the one man who I think can turn this country around. The one man who has the credibility and the credentials to unite a society fractured by war and recession. The one man who connects with young and old; gay and straight; really, really gay and butchy gay. That's right, I'd like to nominate Simon Cowell for president.

Because I'm (kinda) writing about politics in this column, I'd like to make a few things clear before we continue:

1) I am neither conservative nor liberal. I hate them all. Seriously, I do. So far as I'm concerned the last good president wore a wig and hose (ironically, the worst FBI director wore a wig and hose as well). I'm completely hateful of all politicians: I dream of a day where our democracy is displaced by zombie dictators. Say what you want about zombies, but at least they're not slaves to the special interest groups.

2) I considered many other television personalities for this column, but Simon was always my first (and best) choice. I'm sure there's going to be many calls for Steven Colbert or Jon Stewart. But as we witnessed with the Robin Williams non-starter Man of the Year, TV comedians becoming president is not only bad for the country, it's poison at the box office. No thank-you to that.

3) I realize that Simon is British and therefore can't be elected president. If you were about to comment about this, please remember: this is a column about why the judge of a popular reality show ought to be president. Like Bill O'Reilly's show, this column should be read with the understanding that the author is completely ignorant of American politics. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Okay, now onto the seven reasons why Simon Cowell is the perfect choice for our new president:

1. He's trusted.

Unlike so many politicians, people actually care what Simon has to say. Admit it, those of you who TiVo American Idol: If you're pressed for time, you'll not only fast forward through the commercials, but also Randy and Paula's comments.

Why? Because no one cares what Randy has to say and no one knows what the hell it is that Paula is trying to say; the only one who matters is Simon. When Randy tells you that you nailed it, you smile; when Simon tells you that you nailed it, you punch the air and dance because you just got the a-okay from the most trusted man in America.

2. He speaks the hard truths.

Think of this as a corollary to point one: you can't earn trust by lying. Simon Cowell is one of the very few people on the planet who will risk being booed to say what's on his mind. While most politicians face every situation with the same stilted Kabuki theater set of answers, Simon takes the most radical tact imaginable: honesty!

Can you imagine a president who would be willing to give a State of the Union speech that actually, you know, gave the state of the union:

"America, this last year was simply horrendous! If you want to continue being the world's last remaining superpower, you're not going to do it by stuffing your face full of Oreos and mindlessly consuming! If you're going to win this competition, you're going to need to show us something spectacular!"

We'd be on the moon again within two years!

3. He's the head of a successful organization.

Unlike George Bush (who has failed at everything in his life with the exception of winning elections); Dick Cheney (whose success at running the Dark Satanic Mills seems to be predicated on those same mills being awarded no-bid contracts); and Barack and Hillary (both of whom have spent a "lifetime serving the public" which can easily be read as "doing nothing but learning to smile when surrounded by a class full of inner-city children"), Simon Cowell has actually made money actually doing something.

Bush was elected partly because he labeled himself the CEO president. Simon could get elected by being the CEOBBIHATNBMDBMACTR (Chief Executive Officer But Because I Have Actual Talent, Not Because My Daddy Bought Me A Company To Run) president.

4. He's actually well-known to people of all ages.

American Idol is a cross-demographic smash hit. Everyone loves Simon: the sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude. Finally, we'd have a president that can be identified not just by Senior Citizens!

As a secondary benefit, Jay Leno's tired "Jay Walking" segments would be retired for at least four years as it would be impossible to find someone who can't name the president.

5. He's a smoker.

While, on the surface it would seem that this is a character flaw, think of this: for the last forty years, we've had presidents bowing to the tobacco interests because they needed the campaign money. For the first time in my adult life, we'd have a president bowing to the tobacco interests because he wanted to. Sure, it won't make you feel any better when you watch your loved ones dropping like coughing, hacking flies, but afterwards, when the anger starts to set in, you can find some solace in the fact that our president is headed for the same fate.

6. He's well-situated to bridge the partisan gap that has divided this country for so long.

He can be friend to both Barack and Hillary (his fellow judges are, after all, a black dude and an insane woman) as well as McCain and Bush (as he works for Rupert Murdoch, emperor of the Fox News Death Star.)

7. For the last seven years, he's presided the only democratic elections that have mattered.

American Idol is perfectly named: for those of us who worship at the foot of democracy and meritocracy, it's the last place we have to go. Unlike in American politics, we are asked on American Idol to vote for who has the most talent, and unlike in the last forty or so presidential elections, AI voters usually rise to the challenge.

Even in the face of movements like we manage to eventually eject the Sanjayas. In American Politics, we haven't been so lucky -- Karl Rove's has been largely successful.

If we could just take a bit of the passion and ethics we put into our voting for American Idol and put them into our actual democratic elections, well, even I'd wish for the zombie apocalypse to be put off for just a few more years.


You know, when I started writing this column, my tongue was firmly in my cheek. The sad part is that by the time I was finished, I was pretty convinced that Simon is far and away our best choice in 2008. I'm not sure if this is compliment to Simon so much as it is a criticism of what we've done with the gift of democracy.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go work on my next article: 31 reasons Padma Lakshmi should be our next Secretary of State.

How do you feel about Cowell '08?
You've got my vote!230 (80.1%)
Meh -- I need to wait and see what his stance on flag-burning is.20 (7.0%)
A third party candidate? Go ahead THROW your vote away!29 (10.1%)
Other (list in the comments)8 (2.8%)

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Count me in. I am not ashamed to admit that I fast forward through Randy & Paula (how can anyone seriously talk about pitchiness with HER sitting to their left?) every week. Simon is the only reason to watch the show. When my 80 year old grandma and Dolly Parton agree with me, well, I don't know what that says. But he's definitely more likely to pull the country's head out of its ass (or "oss" if you're British) than any of our current choices...

April 04 2008 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wait congress isn't already run by zombies?!

April 04 2008 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

unfortunately, one of the key skills needed by a world leader, would be diplomacy. i doubt simon has it.

i personally nominate Jay Black to be our first openly gay president!

"Jay is gay and thats okay, vote for Jay"

April 03 2008 at 10:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm all for a hot president! We haven't had one since JFK!

April 03 2008 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LOL that was a good one! You got me laughing on this one. Though I don't watch AI, I totally can see why Simon would make a good president. At least he'd give it to us all straight, not say one thing at one rally and a totally different one at another, or 'misspeak'.

Make Gordon Ramsey his VP and and we'd be greatest superpower again! ;P

April 03 2008 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Wyant

Haha... Great column as always, Jay. Although, I have to take issue with one thing you said: "Say what you want about zombies, but at least they're not slaves to the special interest groups." Clearly, you've never been courted by the brain lobby. They're ruthless. They make Big Tobacco look like Big Adorable Kittens.

April 03 2008 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd go for Simon, but I'd actually prefer Tim Gunn-- he's universally loved and very diplomatic, but still manages to say the tough things that get the right results. I can see him telling Congress to make it work.

And then Heidi Klum could be first lady. Now *that* would bring some glamour to the White House!

April 03 2008 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was expecting a trashing of Simon in the blog. Imagine my surprise when you actually praised him!
You couldn't be more wrong about him. I listen to Randy and Paula and NEVER bother with what Simon has to say. He is the biggest prick and I think he tries to be as rude as possible. Paula always attempts to season her criticism with gentleness. Simon looks for ways to cut you down. One can be negative without being rude. HE can't.
If you believe that AI 'elections' are democratic, then you really are deluded.

April 03 2008 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dave's comment

Sanjaya, is that you?

April 04 2008 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

nice Ferris Bueller quote...

April 03 2008 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

... And yes, I made note of number 3. :D I still say, Thank God.

April 03 2008 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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