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The Trojan Rabbit /The New York Times

O-Ed Columnist

Is She a Trojan Rabbit?


Published: May 11, 2008


Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Maureen Dowd

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.
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