Is She a Trojan Rabbit?
Now Barack Obama faces a true dilemma: how best to punish Hillary Clinton.
After 15 months of fighting her off, as she veered wildly from bully to victim, as she brandished any ice pick at hand, whether racial, sexual, mathematical or marital (in the form of her Vesuvian husband), Obama must decide the most efficacious means of doing to Hillary what she has been trying to do to him: putting her in her place.
Her last resort is to continue to press the “Psssst — he’s a black man” tactic. She insisted to USAToday, after the North Carolina and Indiana slide, that she has a broader base, citing an Associated Press article “that found how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”
So how does Obama repay Hillary for running a campaign designed both to unman him and brand him as an unelectable black? Is the most ingenious way to turn the screw by not choosing her as his running mate, or by choosing her?
It is, verily, a sticky wicket.
One top Hillary supporter who is black warns that, despite the giddy dreams of some punch-drunk Democrats, a fusion ticket could backfire because “Americans can’t handle too much change at once.”
But should Obama ignore that caution and appease Hillary fans by putting her on the ticket?
As president, he could announce that, because Dick Cheney abused the powers of his office so grievously, taking the title “Vice” literally, he intends to shrink the vice presidency back to its “bucket of warm spit” Constitutional prerogatives — presiding over the Senate and taking over if the president goes under anesthesia.
He might also neglect to give Bill (whose acronym would be SLOTUS, Second Lad of the United States) full White House access.
Aside from the delight Bill would get from living at the Naval Observatory and having a huge telescope to window-peep with, there wouldn’t be much joy in Hillaryland.
The lady-in-waiting would be surrounded by Obama disciples who disdained her for fighting dirty. And she would be miserable holding up the train of the young prince who usurped her dream, derailing the post-nup she had with Bill to trade places.
As de facto veep for Bill, she had enough leverage over him, due to his shenanigans, to co-opt huge chunks of policy and personnel decisions.
But in a return engagement with Obama at the top, could she really wake up every day in the back seat and wish him well, or would she just be plotting? (Fourteen vice presidents have ascended, after all.) Wouldn’t she be, in Monty Python parlance, the Trojan Rabbit behind the gates?
On a positive note, maybe she could bring back all that stuff she pilfered on her way out.
Obama’s other option, laid out by Teddy Kennedy on Friday, is to go with someone who wouldn’t be a big dark cloud over his sunshiny new politics.
Teddy told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt that Obama should choose a partner “in tune with his appeal for the nobler aspirations of the American people.”
That would be smart for another reason: Hillary has a strange, unnerving effect on Obama, and whenever he is around her, he’s unable to do his best. Probably, it’s because she’s furious, always shaking his hand off her arm, ignoring him, giving him the evil eye and emasculating him, and the Golden One is not used to such rough treatment.
In the last few days, as Hillary has deflated and Obama and the Democrats have dashed for daylight, he has been more like his old self, flashing his all-is-right-with-the-world smile on the cover of Time, joshing and charming Democrats and Republicans as he wooed superdelegates on the House floor, taking on James Carville for insulting his manhood.
“James Carville is well known for spouting off his mouth without always knowing what he’s talking about,” he told Terry Moran on “Nightline.”
Obama will never be at his best around Hillary; she drains him of his magical powers. She’s Jane Jinx to him. It’s a similar syndrome to the one Katharine Hepburn’s star athlete and her supercilious fiancé have in “Pat and Mike.”
The fiancé is always belittling Hepburn, so whenever he’s in the stands, her tennis and golf go kerflooey. Finally, her manager, played by Spencer Tracy, asks the fiancé to stay away from big matches, explaining, “You are the wrong jockey for this chick.”
“You know, except when you’re around, we got a very valuable piece of property here,” he says, later adding, “When you’re around, she’s no good, she’s dead, see?”
The best way Obama can punish Hillary is to reward himself. He’s no good around her, see?