These days, with the Bridge-Gate exploding everywhere, followed by the What Did You Do With That Sandy Money (also a question people ask when you get back from the beach, according to my Vaudeville Circuit Package o’Jokes), it can be easy to look at all the scandals and think: “Could I be next? Am I the next figure with national ambitions to be felled by the lead weight of scandal?”
Sure, you know the basics. If you have a press conference to discuss a blooming scandal, it is easy to get tripped up over details and specifics. Far better to stick to blanket statements. “I have never met anyone on my staff before, and, to be honest, they appall me” is a safe start.
“When I woke up this morning, I found that some unknown agent had erased my entire memory,” is better, if you can pull it off. For added verisimilitude, tattoo, “HEY MY NAME IS GOVERNOR [YOUR NAME]” somewhere visible, along with “REMEMBER, YOU GOT IT, BIG GUY!” and “FIND OUT WHO COMMITTED THE [NAME OF YOUR SCANDAL] AND GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT” in a nice Gothic font.
Alternatively, they say it’s not the scandal but the attempt to cover it up that is the real problem. But “Do whatever you like, then tell everyone about it afterwards!” seems like a bad strategy somehow.
Fortunately, you have nothing to fear as long as you and your staff follow these 13 easy steps for a scandal-proof public life, organized in order of increasing difficulty:
13) Don’t send incriminating e-mails from your work e-mail.
12) Don’t send incriminating e-mails from your home e-mail.
11) Don’t send incriminating e-mails from a secret e-mail address under a made-up name that seems less FOIA-able.
10) Don’t pretend to be someone you are not on the Internet, or, if you do, make certain the name you use is no funnier than your real name. (Unless you are Anthony Weiner, in which case, just never communicate with anyone ever again and you should be safe.)
9) Conduct any underhanded business over the telephone. Sure, the NSA might hear, but they’re blase at this point. (This offers the added benefit of making underhanded business impossible for anyone under 30, since we tend to view speaking on the telephone as a terrifying kind of punishment.)
8) If you absolutely have to send an e-mail about something underhanded, be sure to use a code. Make sure it’s a complex code, not the kind of code that anyone can figure out by spelling out the first letter of each paragraph.
Sample: “I think America is ready to be great again.”
Translation: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
This may backfire because the person on the receiving end won’t know that you are trying to do something underhanded, but in that case, everyone wins, especially the voters and taxpayers of your state!
7) Don’t take pictures of yourself without clothes. Actually, don’t take pictures of yourself with clothes. And don’t use Sandy relief money to do either of these things.
6) Only communicate via Snapchat. Or carrier pigeon, if the pigeon has been sworn to secrecy.
5) Never delete a tweet.
4) Never tweet.
3) Be sure to conduct all potentially underhanded business in one-on-one meetings where there are no witnesses, in deserted locations like mall food courts and MySpace pages.
2) Actually, any meeting you have where there are no witnesses can be used as evidence that something underhanded was going on. Have all your meetings in public with lots of reporters present. Better yet, have no meetings at all.
1) Don’t do anything you should not be doing.