The Fringe, Part 4

This is the fourth entry in “The Fringe,” a periodic look at thelesser-known candidates for president. You can read the whole series here .

Tom Koos gets it. He knows that a 41-year old facilities manager from Californiaisn’t going to win the Democratic nomination. He understands it’sunlikely he’ll even earn a delegate in New Hampshire, where he’ll onlycampaign for a week before the primary. But he’s not running forpresident to become president. He’s running so he can figure out who tovote for.

Koos has wanted to become president since he was 7. Helooked up at the calendar and realized that he’d be 35 by 2000, whichmeant that in 28 short years, he could be taking the oath of office.So, in 2000, he threw his name in the ring. Nineteen people voted for him—one more than the Fringe’s last subject, Michael Skok .

Considering Koos finished 76,881 New Hampshire votes behind Al Gore in 2000, what is there to gain by running again? Koos told me he wantedto get a better sense of what his own opinions were on the election’smajor issues so he would know which candidate to endorse.

As a result, Koos’ platform is essentially a composite of his opponents’ stances. Like Joe Biden , he wants a soft-partitioned Iraq. Like Hillary Clinton , he supports a national-service academy. And like Dennis Kucinich , he advocates a universal, single-payer health-care system. He’s the Voltron of presidential candidates.

Doesthis mean Koos is once again embarking on a selfish, self-indulgentpursuit? Perhaps. But he said he’s also running to try and convince hisfriends and family to pay attention to the elections. When he tellspeople he’s running for president, he gets to discuss current eventsand politics with relative strangers. Plus, he said, running forpresident is “an awful lot of fun.” Some might call it a midlifecrisis, but Koos thinks of it as a boyhood dream.