In Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Major General Stanley sings “A Modern Major General,” a brilliant patter-song in which he blithely enumerates his knowledge of everything under the sun … except matters military.
Imagine how the ditty would go if — God forbid — such a situation should actually befall our country:
I am the very model of a major modern President.
I’ve information that three-hundredths really is just three percent.
I know the sum of four plus six, and seventeen plus twenty-one,
And I can hold my breath at least five times as long as anyone.
Each morning, when we face the flag, across my heart I place my hand,
So proud to be a second-grade Republican for Richard Stands.
At Monday morning show-and-tell, I’m teeming with a lotta news,
Of where we went and what we saw when Daddy took me on a cruise.
I’m very good at book reports and just gave one on Frog and Toad.
(Much better than the Lorax, who’s a silly, preachy, leftist load.)
In short, in matters really really very consequent-i-al,
I am the stable, brilliant, genius, model, President-i-al.
I clean the blackboards every day and once a week I wash them well,
Ignoring comments classmates make; may God consign them straight to hell.
I try to follow spelling rules, but still I cannot figure why
The I always precedes the E except when E precedes the I.
In fact, when I can understand just how a law comes from a bill,
When I can tell which House is which up on that godforsaken Hill,
When such strange words as dialogue and compromise at last are clear,
When I can tell what’s fake, what’s real, from all the muddle that I hear,
When I know what’s the capital of Arkansas or Delaware,
And when I find a decent gel that I can put upon my hair,
In short, when I have wisdom that is manifestly evident,
You’ll say no one has ever been so manifestly President.