A Very Special Announcement
by T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII
In the long steeplechase of human events, the course ofttimes wends its way through a dense forest of uncertainty; into which the horseman must dash headlong through the hazardous branches of Doubt, surmount the briary hedgerows of Fear, only to confront the crossroads of Destiny. Here, the wizened old course-keeper Fate drops a gauntlet of challenge: down one path awaits doom, down the other victory and apres-race cocktails. Which path shall the rider choose? It is the fortunate horse indeed upon whom is mounted a rider equal to Destiny's challenge, and wise to Fate's trickery; for he can be sure that with every whip of the rider's crop he is one gallop closer to the stables of security. And thus, today, I dismount to retrieve Fate's gauntlet, strike him smartly across his face, and declare my official candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
To be certain, this is not a decision I have undertaken lightly; it comes only as the result of months of careful self-deliberation and dockside focus groups with the finest minds of contemporary conservative campaign strategy. Notwithstanding the surprising electoral vulnerability of Mr. Obama, our analyses have made abundantly clear that the current field of Republican challengers posess neither the intellectual acuity nor the deft touch for the common man needed to lead America into an inspiring new era of moderate bipartisan compromise. In the days ahead I will have much more to say about their shortcomings; but for now let me assure those millions of commonsense Republican voters who have yearned for a candidate who shares their values for stability, flexibility, and pedigree: rejoice, for your standard-bearer has arrived.
Who, you may ask, is T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII?
Simply put, a man born to the conservative saddle. The only scion of the legendary swashbuckling conservative editor / author / bon vivant T. Coddington Van Voorhees VI, I have since my earliest days honed a conservatism forged in the fires of intellectual combat, stoked by the bellows of classic education, and tempered in the cooling waters of good breeding. Even before matriculating at East Hampton Country Daycare, I was thrust headlong into heady intellectual debates of postwar American politics. Oh, how I cherish those moments, bouncing astride my father's knee, as he held postprandial court on the patio with Long Island Sound's most scrupulous Republicans - like Newport GOP chairman Z. Pilastor Fennewick, Greenwich GOP legend Boylston McInernery, and East Hampton's "hostess with the mostest," Modesty Crabwater. And although Dad had his differences with each, I admired the elegant grace with which these Republicans could command an Adirondack chair or accept electoral defeat. It is that very same grace I shall endeavor to bring back to the Grand Old Party.
But such early confabulations with political luminaries do not mean my boyhood was spent in anemic bookishness. Quite to the contrary. As an aide-de-camp of Teddy Roosevelt, Great Granddad T. Coddington IV spent an entire summer sabbatical from the Harvard crew team ensuring that TR's accoutrements would be gleaming in the Caribbean sun as he charged up San Juan Hill, and subsequent generations of Van Voorheeses would likewise be hewn to the Roughrider spirit. As a growing lad I was expertly tutored in the manly arts of sailing, badminton, and, most pointedly, horsemanship. Among my teammates on the Montauk Crimsoneers Little League Polo squad, I quickly earned a reputation as a player who would never be thrown by the same horse twice - no matter how many trips to the stable for a better-behaved horse it might take.
In my adolescence I developed a fierce precocious spirit of political independence, earning me a spot at the prestigious Alpenhaus Finishing School in Zurich following a series of contretemps with my father while he was in the throes of his Goldwater madness. It was there I would prove my foreign policy mettle by networking with lads who would go on to become Europe's most influential policy makers, such as my former Chalet-mate and current EU Barley Pricing Minister, Viscount Kloonkie Von Wallensheim. Thanks to those school ties and my natural gift for languages, you can rest assured that when as president I am called on to negotiate a trade or currency support agreement with a Continental leader it will be in the spirit of bonhomie - and in his mother tongue.
After a brief mind-expanding hiatus at a Punjabi ashram in the waning days of the tumultuous Sixties, I returned to my beloved Les Etats Unis to claim my Harvard birthright and matriculate in the rough-and-tumble of conservative political punditry. Through luck, pluck, and talent, I soon secured a position at my father's journal, the National Topsider, advancing quickly from assistant Opera Critic to Subscription Complaint Manager and finally to Columnist-at-Large. I soon found myself in great demand as a public intellectual, serving as a frequent spokesmen and apologist for the conservative cause on public television. This in turn led to two appointments in Republican administrations, where I proudly served as deputy speechwriter for John Dean and chief menu editor for Mrs. Reagan's chef.
As is now public knowledge, my return to the Topsider was not without controversy. In my father's dotage his once-exclusive journal of conservatism saw its standards erode and its masthead contaminated by a growing roster of semiliterate beer swilling-oafs plucked from the ranks of D-list university football factories, who embarked on a grand scheme to purge its pages of thought-provoking discourses on Hume and the Windsor knot, replacing them instead with Vaudevillian appeals to the right wing booboisie. Beset on all sides, it was left to me the lonely task of upholding the ensign of classic Republican moderation. When I quite understandably endorsed Mr. Obama during the 2008 campaign these middlebrow McCarthyites mutinied, driving me from my birthright and into the desolate wilderness of this so-called "blogosphere."
A lesser man might have wilted in the face of such an obloquy; but, as is now obvious, that lesser man is not a Van Voorhees. Rather than shrinking from the battlefield of ideas, I have instead taken the opportunity of my exile to rally the forces of commonsense Republicanism against the mindless invading hordes of Tea Party vandals who, in utter obliviousness to realpolitik, have set about a nihilistic crusade to ransack our nation's capitol, deprive its treasuries, and lead its learned rulemakers away in bondage. Time and again I have sounded the clarion call in this space to warn America of their advance, and I can now say with more than a modicum of satisfaction that the battle is mine. The good villagers of smart-government conservatism have for now repelled the attacks of la Palin and her ilk, and may descend from the parapets once again safe to tend their herds.
My intellectual triumph now complete, I would of course have been happy to rest fireside along with my laurels and an amusing snifter of Hennesy VSOP. But, it seems, a warrior's work is never done. I have in recent weeks been besieged by a host of right-thinking conservatives who have importuned me to enter the presidential fray. These have included my vivacious like-minded colleague Kathleen Parker and those two dapper Davids of conservative letters, Brooks & Frum; joined in chorus by countless voices from Washington's top bipartisan litigation and consulting firms. With the President vulnerable and so many sensible government contracts at stake, they have persuaded me that the GOP electorate is yearning for the one voice in our party brave enough to consistently stand athwart the Tea Party lunacy. And, with the entire current Republican field variably afflicted with this madness, I could not help but relent to their entreaties.
It may indeed seem odd that a man-in-full, in the bright Indian summer of his life, would abandon it all to heed the call of his nation. Luckily for that nation, I have discussed it with my family and have decided to spend less time with them; in fact, both my wife and son seem quite delighted by the prospect. Mariska, for one, recognizes my candidacy as an opportunity to better the country and expand our social circle. As for young T. Coddington VIII, he will be taking a brief interregnum from his collegiate studies to join me on the hustings as Chairman of Youth for Van Voorhees 2012 - applying the political organizing talents he honed as the co-organizer Occupy Bennington.
And for my fellow sensible conservative Americans, let me assure you that in T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII you will now have a choice - not an echo. As the only Republican in this race who is dedicated to the future reduction in the rate of increase of the rate of increase of federal government, you can pull the lever in full confidence that your federally funded retirement and health care and education and automobiles and solar panel rebates will be preserved, in full accordance with conservative principles. You are my magnificent steed, and together I will ride you to victory next November.
And if for some reason that victory does not come, take heart; I will continue to be a strong voice in Washington guiding whomever is President toward the conservative path. In fact, I have already been assured by Mr. Obama's staff that I have secure a place on the short list for his reinaugural ball!