inform | empower | engage
Frank Rich’s article in the January 27 Sunday New York Times argues that the Clintons’ two-for-one bargain could keep the Republicans in the White House for another four years. Tied directly to events surrounding the South Carolina primary, the argument is about political gaming in a primary season. Well, political gaming is not the issue.
The issue, the problem, is leadership, plain and simple. Who’s going to be in charge? Who’s accountable? The gaming chatter is mostly about whether Bill’s hand was a calculated play, or just him running off at the mouth. The issue, the question, is what happens if they win? Who’s in charge when you have two presidents in the same White House? Politics is largely about negotiation and negotiation is largely about figuring out what the other guy wants. How does it work when there are two other guys?
And that’s the simple part. The more complex part is below the surface just now, a question no one wants to ask or even think about. But it’s there, alright, a force-five hurricane of political incorrectness and it’s coming ashore. The question is this: Of the two, is one dominant? Plain and simple. If the Clintons want to challenge this country with so unprecedented a scenario as two presidents in the same White House, they have to expect this question will be asked: Will the most powerful person in the world be the most powerful person in her own home?
Let’s do it in a story.
There are two brothers, twins, John and Chris. John is a natural-born politician. Chris, his housemate, is an accountant. Before you know it, John’s a Governor and soon sniffing bigger game while Chris pays most of the bills with a thriving CPA practice.
Opportunity presents itself, John’s talked about for President, and, sure enough, he wins, taking Chris along to Washington with him. Neither’s ever married, now, just two brothers on top of the world, one President of the United States, the other minding the White House accounts and doing a lot of traveling. Soon enough, Chris starts thinking large himself. And just as John’s eight years come due, Chris sees his chance and wins a seat in the Senate. Why not?
So they go home, back to their parents’ house, Chris with his Senate work and John being a world statesman. Comes a time, though, when they’re alone, fishing or something. One says, “That White House sure was nice.” “Yes,” says the other, “yes, indeed” and before you know it, they’re thinking pretty serious about another eight years. This time, though, Chris says, “I’ll be in charge. This time, I get the big room.” “Of course you will,” says John.
Now they’re all excited about it and, their parents being gone, they run off to tell their Uncle Phil. On hearing the boys’ plan, Uncle Phil takes a deep breath, looking first at Chris, then a long gaze at John before fixing back on Chris. “Let me get this straight, Chris. You’re going to run for President and then, when you win, you and John move back to Washington, you as president, the both of you in the White House. That right?”
“That’s the plan, uncle,” says Chris, he and John giving each other a quick nod and smile.
“Got this all worked out, do you?”
“Yes, uncle,” they answer together.
Uncle Phil fixes on Chris again, harder this time. “Chris, I got to know something. I got to know how many times you beat up your brother John, here?”
Chris sat up, not expecting the question. “Why, never, uncle. Never did best him. No sir. He’s bigger, than me, you know that. Best athlete here abouts. Always been.”
“And you’re going be sleeping in what used to be his bed, flying around in what used to be his plane, running his country, and he’s just going let you do that. That’s the plan?”
“Yes, sir. We got it all worked out, don’t we John?”
“Sure do,” John said, smiling as he turned and gave Uncle Phil a wink and a nod.
“Well, good luck to both of you,” Uncle Phil said, starting back inside. “Any country fool enough to go along with that deal gets exactly what it deserves, and that’s chaos.”
Billary is not a question of Republican or Democrat, man or woman, Clinton or Obama. It is a question of practical leadership. You can’t have two presidents in the same White House. That which is required in a person to be president does not suffer well, if at all, that same quality in another so near by. One of the miracles of this nation’s democracy has been the retirement of its presidents, and that means out of town, away.
With Billary, we are now in some prospect of having not only two presidents in the same White House, the same Administration, but two presidents in the same marriage. Now, to claim anything is impossible in American politics is a fool’s game. But, by all things known of being human, the more one considers the probability of Billary being a successful presidency, the more it approaches the incalculable.
And the semi-finals are upon us. In the next month or so, it is likely that a Democratic candidate will have a practical majority of the delegates needed and it will be done. If that person is Hillary Clinton and the American people have the capacity to come to an understanding of the risks of a two-president White House, which they most certainly do, then the next president will very likely be the Republican nominee.
As an Independent, my interest is in having the opportunity to consider and weigh two candidates in November and then, in my own wisdom, choose. If in November it comes to choosing between a one-president presidency and a two-president presidency, the Democrats will likely have made it, for many of us, a one party race.