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|The Sucker Punch by salinco(m): 10:14am On Mar 27, 2008|
DAILY INDPENDENT ONLINE - NIGERIA
Mon, 21 Jan 2008 03:20:00
By Michael John,
The late English novelist, Rene Raymond (1906-1985), who wrote under the pen name "James Hadley Chase", put it nicely in his novel The Sucker Punch, "It is when a man is full of confidence that he is wide open for a sucker punch." Americans have always exuded more confidence and hubris about the American way of doing things and the American style and system that there have been wide open for a sucker punch for a while now. The punch has been long in coming, but now it has sneaked up on them in slow motion, and they are not any wiser.
Two families with "Abachic" (Sani Abacha-like) ambitions have grabbed their collective political jugular and threaten to nibble their souls away to suit their crotchets. The issue calls for serious prayerful concern; but to them, it is business as usual. Team Bush and Team Clinton are in a death struggle for the soul, not to say the spirit, of America. It is stranger than fiction and it is so complex that, I suspect it may be beyond the imaginative depth of the late Robert Ludlum, the conspiracy maze fiction maestro of the last century. As a matter of fact, the entire thing reminds one of the complex plots in Ludlum's bestselling novels in which international conspiracy (sometimes instigated by a family) would be his favoured motif.
Ludlum, I dare say, would have been proud to script a story like the following. Hillary Rodham Clinton (the antagonist) is the front-runner in the race to pick up the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party. Her aspiration has created more than a cognitive dissonance in the minds of some people, and it is a dissonance some have found irreconcilable. The African American, Barack Obama (the protagonist), is hard on her heels and latest poll shows her having a point advantage over Obama. She is a former First Lady and currently a Senator representing New York in the United States Senate. Of course, you should remember her as the First Lady who stood by her husband, Bill Clinton, when he, as president, was involved in the scandal "Monicagate". He was said to have had an illicit affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern.
He survived the scandal by telling some truths in the final days of the "drama". Hear him, "Indeed, I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible." The "inappropriate relationship" became a national controversy, and after months of denial, the suave Bill Clinton finally decided to come clean with the above words, and asked Americans for forgiveness. He was forgiven.
His wife, Hillary Clinton, took "Monicagate" in her stride – better to marry a handsome philandering American president, than a saintly ugly pauper. Today, she is running for the same office her husband occupied and if she succeeds, two families would have been running America for close to three decades. The two families are the Bush family and the Clinton family, as stated earlier. So how can an egalitarian society like America not "emancipate itself from its mental slavery (by two families)"?
Perhaps, they are fed up with their present system and want to appoint monarchs to rule over them, which is all fair and good. Any of these sounds right for the said purpose: King Bill Clinton, Queen Hillary Clinton, King George Bush 1 and King George Bush II. Their main ally, Britain, could provide them with skill and knowledge on how to set up and run a monarchy – and at no cost.
The facts are stranger than fiction! George Herbert Walker Bush (Republican), the 41st President of America was in office from 1989 to 1993. He lost his second term bid to Bill Clinton (Democrat), the 42nd President (1993-2001). Having served two terms (the first Democratic Party president after Franklin Delano Roosevelt to serve two terms), Clinton handed over to the democratically-elected son of his predecessor, George Walker Bush (Republican). George Walker Bush, two term president (2001-2009), the present president, was elected for his first term in office in one of the closest elections in American history. It was so close that it birthed the phrase, "election too close to call". It was so close that President Clinton summed it up thus, "Americans have spoken, but it will take a while to determine what they said."
The current trend in America is almost too intriguing to call. If Hillary Clinton (Democrat) succeeds in her bid to become the first female president of the only surviving superpower; George Walker Bush, the current president, would be handing over to the wife of his predecessor. If Hillary rules for one term it would mean that the American presidency would have been in the firm grip of two families from 1989 till 2013 (a space of 24 years – a quarter of a century!) And if she rules for two terms that means the two families would have been in power for twenty eight years! This is not a spectacle for the democratically squeamish!
"Twenty-eight years" is arrived at by modestly believing that this hegemony would end with Hillary - but this hope is not founded on facts. Jeb Bush, the second son of former president George Herbert Walker Bush, is the current Governor of Florida. The present president was the governor of Texas before he became president. Jeb Bush also has his eyes on the United States presidency and may want to take over from Hillary, if she succeeds. His father and brother would provide the anchor for his campaigns, but will the Americans follow him? Sure they will! The Americans are a bit like the kids of Hamelin, they would gladly follow any pied piper who sings a nice political tune. (Having a husband or father who played them a pipe before, and they followed, is usually an advantage with the Americans.) They are always prepared to follow anyone who promises to lead them somewhere…anywhere. When George Walker Bush campaigned for the presidency in 2001, his father and mother were the leading figures in his campaign team and featured in almost all campaign materials. What is sauce for George would be sauce for Jeb – in 2013 or 2017.
Already Hillary Clinton is hitting the campaign trail with her husband and daughter, Chelsea. Chelsea is, debatably, the most exposed American woman to presidential campaigns. She was there when her father campaigned for his first and second terms. She campaigned with her mother for her (Hillary's) senatorial seat. She is back on the trail, this time to make her mother president. If you are wondering where all these would lead to, then you are not in the category of Albert Einstein as far as thinking is concerned. Chelsea is being prepared for the presidency of the United States of America and she would hopefully take over from Jeb Bush–if the U.S. presidential pendulum keeps swinging between Team Bush and Team Clinton.
Americans love tennis and this is a political tennis game between the Clintons and the Bushes. So far Team Bush have raked up twelve points (sorry, I mean twelve years) to Team Clinton's eight points (you must really forgive me, eight years). Bill Clinton is a good sportsman and he is not one to take losing lightly. So, since he has neither son nor brother to sponsor, he has put forth his wife. The amazon appears capable of redeeming the family honour and she seems to know her onions.
After losing unexpectedly at Iowa to Obama, the unseeded upstart who seems set to cause a major upset in the Clinton-Bush "conspiracy", Hillary put some histrionics into her campaigns in New Hampshire (she threw in some tears and "played" the woman). It always works and it worked in New Hampshire. You can handle a screaming woman, you can handle a henpecking woman, and a fighting woman – but a crying woman evokes such powerful emotive feelings that you will do anything to stop the tears from flowing. This was why the late Jamaican reggae legend, Bob Marley, sang the hit song, "No Woman, No Cry". If someone like Marley, who used to smoke marijuana, could not handle a crying woman, you would not expect sober Americans in New Hampshire to handle a crying sixty-year old woman like Hillary. She won in New Hampshire, of course.
If Americans were like rest of the world, they would have remembered the age-old nursery rhyme about the lion and the unicorn. It went this way, "the lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown, the lion beat the unicorn all around the town, some gave them bread, some gave them flower and drove them out of town." Adjust that a bit and sing it thus, "The Clintons and the Bushes were fighting for the presidency, some gave them bread, some gave them flower, and drove them out of the White House."
That is how Ludlum would have ended the script… and that is how I wish this would, because they do not have the monopoly of knowledge or patriotism.
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