The Puppet That Wanted to be President

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is a satire about President Biden.

The Puppet That Wanted to be President

published October 22, 2021

Dr. Victor Franken was a lonely, disgruntled scientist.  He had devoted his whole life to the advancement of positronics, and now, as he neared the end of it in 2031, the world had ignored him and his discoveries.  His doctor had told him that his cancer was terminal, he only had about two more years to live.

 Everyone’s life was dependent on computers, he thought, yet they were afraid to allow one to learn how to think.  His positronic brain had been outlawed by a congressional law signed by the President. His life’s savings and efforts, destroyed with the President’s signature on a piece of paper.  His only desire was to stay alive long enough to have that law repealed, his only reason for staying alive was to create the President that would do it.

In his youth he had been fascinated by the character Data in the Star Trek television series. He had devoted his life to trying to create an actual android and had been moderately successful. His android could walk and talk, and it could pass for a human if no one looked too closely, but it could not actually think. It was more than Pinocchio but less than human. It could obey instructions, but it could not conceive new ideas or thoughts.  Its few memories were those that were programmed into it. He had overcome these problems by enabling a Wi-Fi connection to its brain that allowed him to send new and delete old programming in it with a remote.

He needed a model for the President he wanted to create. Someone whose quirks and inconsistencies would be overlooked because a previous President had exhibited them. He had researched the lives and presidencies of all the recent Presidents and had discovered Joe Biden. He knew immediately that he would be the perfect model for his Pinocchio.

He was ready to complete the programing of his creation, whom he had named Joe Smith, an all-American name. The difficult part, making it appear human, had been accomplished in previous years. Now he had to be able to make it act like a human, to have childhood memories of a family, education, emotions, and most of all, superior intelligence. From now on it would believe that he was Joe Smith, his adopted son. He would not be aware that he had been programmed to do exactly whatever he told him to do, he would think it was his own idea. There were still some problems to be overcome in Joe’s programming, but he could not wait any longer, he did not want to die before he accomplished his goal.

Joe Smith spent his days on the internet and watching television. After a month of this he knew more about the world and life than any human ever had. DR. Franken decided that it was time to introduce him to the public. There was an extremely popular television show, "The Million Dollar Question,” that you could apply to be on. You just had to pass a test of puzzling questions. Joe passed it with ease.

As the weeks went by and he approached the million-dollar question, tens of millions of viewers were watching. His name was as familiar as that of any major celebrity, everyone trying to imagine what it would be like to win a million dollars, wondering what the million- dollar question would be.

The big day arrived, and he was asked the question,” How many sides does a dodecahedron have?” He knew the answer immediately, but his brain received a transmission to pretended to think about it. Dr. Franken did not want him to act like a computer. After some hesitation he answered “12” and won the million dollars. That was the beginning of his political career.

He was famous, so he had to be interviewed. There were thousands of hours of television time to fill and millions of blank pages of magazines and newspapers to be written on. The reasoning was that he was good for at least a day or two of copy. The first question asked was,” What is your IQ?” He responded with his programmed answer, “Over 200”. That sent them to Google to see how that ranked, because there could be a story in it. When they saw that it was higher than Einstein’s or Hawking’s, they knew there was a story in it.

They asked about his education. ““Top of my law class at Syracuse University’s law school”, he replied.

They asked him about his politics. “I have been a Democratic Liberal all of my life.” That made them deliriously happy.

They asked him if he ever thought about entering politics. “yes”, he said, “I want to be President”

They had their headline, “Smartest man alive wants to be President.” Dr. Franken was delighted. He had $1 million ($400,000 after taxes) and had launched his creation into the top echelon of politics. It was now time for phase two, which would be the tricky part. Since Joe could not eat or drink, or be examined closely, he could not socialize. He had to appear to be perfectly healthy or there would be calls for him to have a physical examination. There was only one solution, non-stop campaigning. He would be with Joe every step of the way, his campaign manager. Airport to hotel, hotel to campaign speech, back to the hotel for the rest of the day (Sorry, Joe is too tired to have dinner with you tonight). He moved up in the polls. He was getting millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity and people liked his short, direct way of speaking. His sentences were rarely more the fifteen words long, and his answers took less than thirty seconds. They were perfect for television. They did not specify any thing that he would do if he were president, but no one cared about that.

The media loved Joe; he was one of them. They loved the stories he told about being a lifeguard. They loved the way he publicly showed affection for women and children. They loved the stories about his travelling to distant countries to try to have political prisoners released.  No one bothered to check if any of those things were factual. They also loved all the free “goodies” he promised to give the people, so they did not ask him about his economic policies, his world view, his thoughts about immigration or his position on defense spending.  The money flowed into his campaign headquarters by the millions.

The Democratic party limited the number of candidates allowed in their debates to the top twenty in the polls. Joe was eighth, so he quailed for the first of the two debates of ten candidates, which was necessary, because not too many people watched the second debate.

It was a Democratic party debate, so it eventually came down to who proposed the best “free stuff”. They all had their poll tested answers about the economy, immigration, defense spending and other trivial matters, so their answers to those questions were all very similar. After the election everyone would forget about what they said about them. They all knew that it was the free stuff that won them voters.

Some offered subsidized rent because everyone was entitled to a good place to live. Subsided food was popular because everyone was entitled to a good steak dinner. Subsidized gas and electricity were promised because everyone was entitled to a warm place to live. That old chestnut, more free money was even tried, but most people were already getting a lot of that. Joe proposed a new car in every garage, because everyone needs a good car to go to and from work. He easily won the nomination.

The Republicans had not won a Presidential election since 2020, and there was no way they were going to win this one. The millions of formerly illegal immigrants that had been granted citizenship since then were all firmly in the Democratic party’s pocket. The moderators in the Presidential debates were all hand chosen liberals. Eighty percent of the ballots cast were mail-in ballots, and no ‘’outsiders” were allowed to observe the counting. The Republican candidate just went thru the motions, and few people bothered to watch the debates. Joe chose an independent politician, a former governor of Florida, as his running mate and was elected in a landslide.

The leaders of the Democratic party were eager to meet with Joe and Dr. Frankin. They controlled both houses of congress and had a majority of the twelve members on the Supreme court. They wanted to know what Joe’s political priorities were. They asked Joe, but Dr. Frankin answered. He told them that they were whatever he wanted them to be. They protested that he had not been elected; he could not make policy!  Joe walked away, following his programmed instructions. Then he told them about Joe.

“Joe is a positronic creation of mine. He has no policies or opinions that I haven’t given him.”

Of course, no one believed him, they started laughing.

“Joe, come here and shake hands with our friend.”

Joe walked over and held out his hand. The Senate majority leader stood up and reached for it, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President.  Oweeeeeee”

“Easy Joe, you’re hurting him, use less pressure”

The leader looked closely at Joe’s face and his eyes. “It can’t be...”

"Joe, please go and sit down again." Dr. Frankin said. When he was gone, he said to the Senator, “But it is. You have elected a machine that I control to be President. If you reveal that to the public, you will look like fools. A new election would be called for and you would lose it.”

“What do you want?”

‘You can have whatever policies you want, and Joe will say whatever you want him to say. I’ll show you how to access his memory remotely. The system isn’t perfect, there are some time delays when he will look like he doesn’t know where he is, but that shouldn’t be a problem.  He might sometimes start talking about something and just stop in mid-sentence, sometimes some of his circuits get crossed. When that happens just instruct him to turn around and walk away. “

“I guess we can handle that, what do we have to do?"

“Before I hand over control to you, you will permanently revoke the prohibition on positronic computing and any restraints on creating people like Joe. They will be a blessing to humanity, requiring us to think logically rather than emotionally about the way we govern ourselves. I know that is contrary to everything you believe, but that is not negotiable.”

Joe Smith was sworn in as President on a sunny January day in Washington. He gave the traditional inaugural address that had been programmed for him almost flawlessly, stopping in mid- sentence only a few times. The people controlling him knew that nobody cared about what he was saying, it was only important to be there and to be seen.

They assigned a chief of staff to Joe, gave him the remote control, and explained the problems to him. There was no need to swear him to secrecy because he was a lifetime professional politician. Having little real-world experience, he had problems using the remote device that accessed Joe’s positronic brain. This often led to embarrassing situations.

They delayed having press conferences for months, until the press finally started criticizing them for it. It was decided that they had to hold one. The chief of staff thought he had learned how to use the remote, his twelve-year-old son had been giving him lessons on computer programming, no questions asked.

Joe was given the names of the reporters he was to call on, and the answers to the questions the reporters were told to ask him. Everything went fine first the first seven minutes, until a reporter from Fox news shouted out a question to him. “I’m not allowed to answer that.” Joe said, turned, and walked away to end the press conference.

The Party’s leaders that knew about Joe realized they had a major problem, how to stop him from saying stupid things. Someone produced a brilliant solution, shut off the microphone. From then on, every time Joe spoke in public, his chief of staff unplugged his microphone when he went off script. This often happened when Joe started a sentence with” I'm going to get in trouble for saying this!”

Dr. Fanken watched these events in the comfort of his home and laughed. The preceding year had been very demanding on his health, and his doctor had confirmed that he had only a few more months to live, but he was reconciled to dying. He had accomplished his goal, and his greatest accomplishment, Joe Smith, would also be dying soon. His positronic brain would just shut off, he had programmed it that way. One day he would go to sleep and never wake up. The politicians would make up some story and insure a closed casket burial with full honors.  The Independent from Florida would be sworn in as President, and no one would ever suspect that it was he who had chosen who two Presidents of the United States would be.


Submitted: October 22, 2021

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