'Gates for president' bandwagon picks up

Cartoonist Scott Adams started this with a post on The Dilbert Blog that suggested there isn't anything wrong with this country that President Bill Gates couldn't cure.

Cartoonist Scott Adams started this flapdoodle with a Nov. 19 post on The Dilbert Blog that suggested there isn't anything wrong with this country that President Bill Gates couldn't cure in less time than it takes to get a new operating system out the door. Hey, everyone enjoys a good chuckle . . . and don't you just love that Dogbert?

But now Adams has thrown his weight, such that even the best cartoonist can muster, behind a newly launched "Bill Gates for President" Web site, www.billgatesforpresident.net, a site that to my eyes and based on an e-mail exchange with one of its organizers doesn't appear to warrant such an apparently dead-serious endorsement -- even from a professional funnyman.

Easiest part first: There is no more chance of Bill Gates running for -- never mind becoming -- president than there is that the newly separated Pamela Anderson will go running into the arms of Bill Clinton. (No, wait, the chance is much less than that.)

Nevertheless, the Bill Gates for president Web site appears reasonably sophisticated, entirely earnest and begs us all to take the idea seriously.

And at least one celebrity has obliged them. In a Dilbert Blog post last Thursday titled "Bill Gates for President," Adams writes: "In an earlier post I said Bill Gates would make an excellent president because he's a successful businessman, makes decisions based on reason instead of superstition, and has a track record of trying to help the poor through his foundation. Apparently, I am not alone. There's a new Web site dedicated to getting him elected: www.BillGatesforPresident.net."

"I was amazed at the reaction when I first mentioned the idea. Most of the comments were one of these. 1. I would vote for Bill Gates. 2. Bill Gates did (some evil business thing). . . . The fascinating thing is that even the comments about his evil-doings are FAVORABLE to the concept of Bill Gates for president."

After a bit of explanation and poking mild fun at his own idea, Adams concludes:

"Bill Gates for president - you could say you have a better idea, but you'd be lying. Are there any pollsters out there who want to see how he stacks up against the field?"

Let's toss Pam Anderson in that field just for fun.

The grass-roots brigade over at Bill Gates for President could only have been more tickled had those words come from Gates himself.

"A little over an hour ago Scott Adams has blown a whole lot of extra life into our ambitious Web site," they write. "Thanks, Scott! It's great to see we're not alone, and we're sure more people will jump on the bandwagon in the next few days and weeks."

Trouble with their Web site -- one trouble -- is that you can't really tell who's behind it. And if you've spent any time at all trying to separate the serious from the posers on the 'Net, you know that a lack of contact info just about screams run away. They did have a Web form to submit questions, though, so I sent this one:

"Who are you? I ask not to be glib, but because you're asking to be taken seriously, yet you offer no serious contact information on the site. This leads me to guess that you are in no way serious, but are on a lark of some kind. Please let me know."

Surprisingly, I received a reply within minutes:

"Hi Paul: You make a very good point here, and I'll have to consider putting up a list of people who are currently involved with the Web site. I agree on the fact that content is as trustworthy as its source, so I see where you're coming from very well. I will only consider identifying ourselves publicly if we can do it as a collective."

"As soon as I've had the chance to talk to some more people behind this project I will get back to you (I wish I could give you a time frame, but things have been pretty hectic since Scott's blog post). Please don't blow us off for being attention-seekers, though. We are here to provoke thought, not to rant."

The reply was signed, "Kind regards, Bert."

Guess Ernie was busy polishing Bill's first State of the Union Address.

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