I wouldn't describe myself as a politically aware person. I mean, I'm not ignorant by any means - I tend to know when there's an election going on (in England, at least), and I have a firm concept of who I think is wrong and who I think is slightly less wrong. And just once in a while I stumble across a politician whom I genuinely admire - someone who could really make a difference to the lives of their people.
Twice in the last year have I been struck by political figures who fall firmly into this category. Neither, rather unhelpfully, are British. The first, even more unfortunately, isn't even real. Still, I can't think of a better president for America than '24's David Palmer. Well, maybe James Marshall from 'Air Force One'. Though really, think about how risky he could be - we don't even know his policies. Just that he can beat the shit out of the Russkies.
The other guy, funnily enough, is Obama. Frankly, I can see only one flaw with the guy, and that's that his name rather lends itself to being the other way round. 'Obama Barack' is so much easier to say than 'Barack Obama'. But really, when the worst thing about a politician is the order of his name then you must be in a pretty good place.
It's really interesting watching the American election from over here in England. I don't think I've met a single person over here who wants McCain in. I was told the other day that whilst in America the split between parties still seems fairly 50/50 the Europeans are four-to-one for Obama. Just give us the vote, America! The way your foreign policy seems to work we'll all be citizens within twenty years anyway!
Alternatively, I've come up with an easier and less argumentative way to sort out the American presidency. Jambalaya.
Now, hear me out here before you throw me aside and go back to your Barack-baiting and McCain-mauling. If 24 has taught me anything (apart from 83 different ways to torture people), then it is this: to be a great president one needs to have a firm control of affairs, be strong under pressure, efficient to a fault and unswayed by those with their own agendas. Where else do you find all of these challenges but in the kitchen?
So my proposal is this: the two presidential candidates each get given one top of the range kitchen, a party-specific apron (you know, an American flag design with pachyderm or mule) a free range of ingredients and sixty minutes in order to make the greatest jambalaya the oval office has ever seen. In just one hour they will:
- Demonstrate strength under pressure, as they make the most important rice-based dish of their lives.
- Show a firm control of affairs, jumping between preparation, cooking and occasional stirring.
- Present immense efficiency, most likely as they elegantly chop up the jambalaya trinity.
- And finally, they will show that they can not be swayed each deals with a New Orleans grandmother who has been told specifically to pick out every flaw in their technique and choices, whether it be with regards to the cooking time or the decision between making a Creole jambalaya or a Cajun jambalaya.
After an hour both will serve their finished meal to a panel of experts comprised of said New Orleans grandmothers, Gordon Ramsey, an old French man who has never left his tiny village in the Alps and as a result has absolutely no political agenda, and myself. The panel shall feast on the jambalaya, and award the winning chef with a top of the range 1994 Daewoo or a family holiday courtesy of Mauritius Airlines. And the US Presidency for four years, at which point the Great Jambalaya Cook-Off would take place again with the year's candidates.
I'll be submitting this in writing to the US Senate post-haste.