In Case You Missed It
Boulderganic Fall 2009
Student Guide 2009
Boulder Weekly Sweet 16 Anniversary
Summer Scene 2009
Best of Boulder 2009
Annual Manual 2009
Newspaper of the Future
Kids Camp Guide 2009
Wedding Marketplace 09
Student Guide 2008
Best of Boulder 2008
Annual Manual 2008
Join Our Mailing List
|May 8-14, 2008
• See letters
• See Danish Plan
• See Jim Hightower
A political slam-dunk
by Stewart Sallo
While sitting behind the Lakers’ bench at the Pepsi Center during game three of the first-round playoff series with the Denver Nuggets, thoughts of basketball and politics co-mingled mysteriously in my mind. The Lakers were well ahead, the outcome of the game a foregone conclusion, and against the troubling backdrop of the best and worst of American culture that presents itself at a professional sporting event these days, I found myself pondering the similarly troubling backdrop of the battle within the Democratic Party between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
The protracted Democratic political campaign has been the subject of considerable, well, debate. On the one hand (and this is the hand I tend to “write with”), we have had an unprecedented opportunity, due to the length of the campaign, to get to know the candidates and to unpack the very weighty issues that we must confront in the aftermath of the eight-year debacle we will have, mercifully, concluded this coming January.
On the other hand, with John McCain having already wrapped up the Republican nomination (has the word “presumptive,” as in “presumptive nominee,” ever been more overused?), there are many who feel that the ongoing lack of resolution among the Democrats will prove to be an advantage to the Republicans during the battle to come this fall. Further, the increasing hostilities between Clinton and Obama could be adding fuel to the Republican fire, as the Democrats do the GOP’s dirty work for them.
All of this has led to calls for Clinton to step aside in the best interests of the party, given Obama’s small but significant lead in the delegate tally. Clearly, that isn’t going to happen, especially given Clinton’s recent victories in Pennsylvania and Indiana.
“The American people don’t quit, and they deserve a president that doesn’t quit, either,” Clinton proclaimed after being declared the winner in Pennsylvania.
During the first three years of this decade, the L.A. Lakers enjoyed a dominating run of three consecutive NBA (National Basketball Association) championships. At that time, the team included two future Hall of Fame players, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. And because it’s the American Way to always have a winner and a loser (did you know that in Japanese baseball, for example, it is honorable for a game to end in a tie after nine innings, whereas in American baseball a game will continue for as many innings as it takes to determine the winner?), there was an ongoing debate (notice choice of word) as to which player, Shaq or Kobe, was better.
Eventually, the rivalry between these two great players, who were both integral to the Lakers’ success, became negative, resulting in a decline of the team’s fortunes and, ultimately, to Shaq being traded to the Miami Heat after the 2004 season. The following year, the Lakers had their first losing season — just 34 wins against 48 losses — in 11 years.
While the Shaq/Kobe debate was raging, though, someone came up with a brilliant conceptual resolution that the Democrats would do well to adopt in choosing a presidential nominee for 2008. It was said that Shaq was the best player on the Lakers’ team, while Kobe was the best player in the NBA. While seemingly counterintuitive, especially given the peculiarly American obsession with declaring a clear winner, this notion honors the value of both players and calls for a sharing of the spotlight that lays the groundwork for success. Indeed, if Shaq and Kobe had been able to set their egos aside and share that spotlight, the Lakers might have averted the disastrous result of the break-up of one of the most powerful “one-two punches” in basketball history.
It’s time for the Democrats to acknowledge the value of one of the most powerful combinations in American political history. The needs of the greater good — the American people and the world in which we hold an unprecedented position of leadership — will be best served by keeping this “dream team” together, rather than continuing down this potentially ill-fated either-or path. Let us agree that we need both of these fine candidates to avoid the disastrous continuation of the Bush disgrace that a McCain presidency portends.
My proposal is that we agree that Hillary Clinton is the best presidential candidate in the Democratic Party, while Barack Obama is the best candidate in the United States.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: But we need a president and a vice-president, and neither of them will accept a vice-presidential role. Yes, that’s the rub, and has been throughout the campaign. But every problem has a solution and the solution to this problem is both revolutionary and consistent with the parameters of the Constitution. It is contained in this simple bumper sticker:
“Clinton 2008/Obama 2012”
In effect, what I propose is a co-presidency between Hillary (and, let’s face it, Bill) and Barack, wherein the Clintons re-establish residency in the White House in January 2009 and get about the task of restoring the integrity that has been lost during the previous eight years, while serving as mentors to the president of the future, Barack Obama. That’s the revolutionary part of the equation.
The traditional aspect of this plan is this: Obama accepts a vice-presidential role on the ticket in 2008, and the Clintons agree to a one-term presidency, setting the stage for an Obama presidency in 2012 and re-election in 2016. That gives us, in effect, a 12-year term, and it will probably take every year, month and day to repair the wreckage that will be the tragic legacy of the soon-to-be-former resident of the White House.
A job of colossal proportions lies ahead, and it may take three presidents to accomplish it. The first task is to prevent a Bush-cum-McCain continuation of the status quo. While it is unlikely that McCain will succeed against either Clinton or Obama, the prospects of a Democratic victory in 2008 with this rare political team in place — to return to a basketball metaphor — would be a “slam-dunk.”
back to top