Following the lead of the FDA, which announced this week that graphic images would have to appear on cigarette packages warning of the dangers of smoking, the Federal Election Commission is considering a similar rule.
The FEC proposal would require presidential candidates to alter their physical appearance to show what effects their proposals would have on the nation.
“Showing the ravages of smoking so vividly may well deter people from starting to smoke,” said FEC chairwoman Cynthia Bauerly. “We hope the same principle can be applied to politicians. If their policies will cause the nation to become a ghostly shell of its former self, it’s only fair advertising that they present a similar image.”
Most Republican candidates who’ve already declared their intentions to run in 2012 immediately objected to what they called unnecessary government regulation. Surprisingly, however, one who did not object is the most libertarian candidate in the race, Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
“‘A ghostly shell of its former self’?” Paul said. “That’s me! I plan to abolish about half of the current federal departments, gutting the government so that it is doddering and ineffectual. I think I look the part of someone who would do that.”
Paul has been judged the most conservative member of Congress among the 3,320 people who have served since 1937. He opposes all foreign intervention as well as global trade agreements. He believes private property rights are more important than environmental legislation. He supports the abolition of all drug laws. He’s even against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, considered the foundation for over 50 years of improved race relations.
“I’m disheveled and old and white, and I often talk like someone who’s been smoking crack,” Paul said. “I love this new proposal.”
The only real change he says he’d have to make in his look would be to appear slightly more stupid. Removing federal assistance to education would make the population even dumber than it is now, and Paul — trained as a medical doctor — still appears to have at least half his marbles.
“What if I put those marbles in my mouth while making speeches?” he said. “That might just be the finishing touch for the truth-in-advertising that my image needs.”
Another Republican candidate who appears already poised to be in compliance is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
“I envision an America that is bitter and mean-spirited. We should do little if anything to help those who are less better off,” Gingrich said. “And I’m fat. Let’s not forget that. All those guidelines for improving the diets of obese citizens are out the door if I’m elected. Even the most healthy among us would look like me.”
Gingrich said he hoped the FEC’s proposal would only cover the candidates themselves, and not their spouses.
“My wife is a beautiful woman, but she’s also a strong woman,” the Georgia conservative said. “That doesn’t mean I support other women being strong. They need to be subservient to their husbands, not have abortions, and not demand expensive jewelry.”
“She will not agree to look like a trailer-park floozy, tramp-stamped and toothless,” he said. “Even if that is what my economic policy would do to the middle class.”