Steve Kissing is running for President of these United States.

True story.

The Price Hill native has already launched a web site, www.kissing4prez.org, with the campaign motto “Steve Kissing in 2008. Put a Square in the Oval Office.”

Already, we get the sense we’re having our collective leg pulled.

“I am seriously running, but not to the point of insanity where I actually think I have a chance,” clarifies Kissing. “My real goal is not so much to win the White House, but to have some impact on the discussion of who should be president.”

Well, there’s a teensy-weensy chance that Kissing could have a slightly hidden agenda, as well. As a creative director at Barefoot Advertising in Longworth Hall (and a frequent winner of Cincinnati Ad Club ADDY® awards), Kissing is the first to concede “that I am a professional communicator, and this does demonstrate what effective communication can look and feel like.”

Some excerpts from Kissing’s web site:

• “What do I know about running a country? Not a damn thing. But that hasn’t stopped others.”

•“I haven’t been invited to join any party. But I have crashed them all.”

•And, from his FDQs (Frequently Dodged Questions): “Q. Are you gay? A. No. Though if John Edwards gets any prettier, I might have to reconsider.”

Yeah, we’re definitely feeling a tug on our collective trouser leg.

A divorced father of two, Kissing readily ’fesses up that he’s smoked pot, frequented strips clubs and once absent-mindedly set fire to his own kitchen. Not exactly stellar qualifications for a presidential candidate.

And, Kissing takes a decidedly light-hearted tone in our conversation. “It doesn’t take much to throw your hat in the ring as a write-in candidate,” he laughs.

More seriously, Kissing does stress he hopes to be a write-in candidate across the country, thanks to the many people who’ve seen his web site and contacted him, saying they want to help out Kissing in their respective states.

The presidential aspirant says he’ll be choosing his Veep pick at the end of the summer, and hopes his running mate will be high-profile enough to help the cause, “someone who can get the word out, somebody who’s the owner of a media conglomerate or is in a hot band. And has a better aim than Dick Cheney.”

Oh, and he’s to be a she. “I grew up in the Roman Catholic church, so I’ve seen what happens when only men have the power.”

What’s his platform? That’s where things get a bit vague, though he did tell at least one national media outlet that he wants to “repurpose” NASA for the next coupla decades to throw itself at slowing global warming rather than worrying about life on other planets. And Kissing favors creating a land-based Coast Guard to constantly monitor our borders.

When he’s not running for national office, Kissing is an avid ping-pong player and is busy at work on a book — his second — about Raymond Thunder-Sky (the gentleman that many Cincinnatians remember wandering downtown on a daily basis, wearing a clown suit and construction hard hat while clutching a metal lunch pail). A pretty unforgettable character. “His father was a full-blooded chief of the Mohawks, and his mother was descended from the Hapsburg Dynasty in Europe,” observes Kissing.

In his first book — the autobiographicalRunning From the Devil: A Memoir of a Boy Possessed (Crossroad Publishing) — Kissing liked to refer to himself as “the Prince of Dorkness” and characterized his boyhood as the “Prince of Dorkness versus the Prince of Darkness.” When the book came out a few years back, it actually ended up topping theCincinnati
Enquirer’s list as the No. 1 bestselling book in Cincinnati.

“I’ve always been an avid reader, and I always have had to write a bit for my job,” Kissing says, recalling the origins of that first book. “But I didn’t consider myself as a writer. (Then) a switch was flipped. I decided to write my own stories in my free time.”

Running From the Devil is full of Cincinnati references, including conversations with radio personality Jim Scott, tales of life in Price Hill, and major events in the history of the city such as The Who tragedy and the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire. No doubt the book about Raymond Thunder-Sky will continue in that tradition.

Meanwhile, Steve Kissing continues his run for permanent digs at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He’s welcoming suggestions for a running mate at his web site, as well as offering campaign merchandise. A “Kissing for President” T-shirt, anyone?