Arts and Entertainment

A Presidential version of the WASL

Co-authors Iris Burnett (right) and Clay Greager at a reading for their political IQ test — “So You Think You Can Be President?” - Courtesy photo
Co-authors Iris Burnett (right) and Clay Greager at a reading for their political IQ test — “So You Think You Can Be President?”
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Political guru/authoress Iris Burnett comes to Bainbridge June 19 with her new book “So You Think You Can Be President?”

Seeing as the kids of Washington state have to “meet standard” on the monstrosity of an exam that is the WASL just to graduate from high school, it seems the President of the United States should have to pass some sort of quiz to get into the Oval Office.

Former presidential advisor, political communications guru Iris Burnett and Vietnam vet, author Clay Greager have crafted a near 200-page paperback showing what that test might look like.

They titled it aptly, “So You Think You Can Be President?: 200 questions to determine if you are right (or left) enough to be the next commander-in-cheif.” The name of the book goes out to the hundreds of armchair politicos across the nation, who, in times like these, as the country’s major political parties nominate their respective candidates and pit them against one another for election, are saying ‘I could be a better president than either of those jokers.’

So you think you can be president? Buy this book, take the test and let’s just see if you measure up. And because you are applying for the most powerful post in the free world, you have to use pen.

“We never really intended to write a book, actually,” Burnett noted with a smile in her voice. “We were on the phone (herself in the Virginia/New York area, Greager in Key West, Fla.) and Clay said to me one day, ‘God I just hate this government, can’t you be the president?’ and I said ‘No, I don’t think I could pass the test,’ and he said ‘There’s a test?’ ”

Of course there’s not a test, we all know the President of the United States is elected by the democratic process, the will of the people and all that. But wouldn’t it be funny if there were an exam?

Greager and Burnett, political junkies since the 60s, thought it hilarious.

For months they bantered back and forth, jibing each other with the eccentric questions that might have a place on a presidential quiz.

In between guffaws, they realized, the lay person might actually learn something about the United States government and the job description of the almighty POTUS through this kind of quiz.

For example, the last question from the first section of the “So You Think You Can Be President” test:

You are aware that there are many hidden perks that come with the office of President. The one most attractive to you is ...

A) You’ve always wanted to ride in a limousine with TV and free phone service.

B) You’ve always wanted to throw out the first pitch at a ballgame.

C) You really like the idea of being surrounded by at least six macho men who have guns, wear sunglasses and say yes sir/madam to whatever question you’d like confirmed.

OK, so that might not be the best example of a window into the operations of the office of the POTUS, however chapters range from “Incredibly Personal History” to “Selecting Senior Officials and the Cabinet (or, What Is an Intern Really Supposed to Do?)” to “Diplomatic Immunity (Or, When I Retire I Will ... ).”

“There’s 192 independent agencies and about 3 million civilian positions that have to be staffed by the president,” Burnett said. “People don’t know about the Plum book, which defines all those agencies, people don’t know about the systems ... they don’t know how you decide whether or not somebody gets a job. It’s all very complicated ... and then there’s the issues.”

It’s a very big and not a very funny entity, she added.

But she and Greager have dissected the enormity of United States government into 201 hilarious and sometimes insightful questions.

Wait, they said there would only be 200 questions to see if you could be the next commander in chief ... obviously somebody didn’t play by the rules. Don’t forget, this is a test about presidential politics. There are no rules, except to win.

soyouthinkyoucanbepresident.com, www.eagleharborbooks.com or call the store at (206) 842-5332.

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