Monday, January 19, 2009

The Promise of the Presidency

Tomorrow, Barack Obama becomes the nation’s 44th President. It will be an historic moment. But I find myself looking to the future and the daunting challenge Obama is about to face. An economy that’s cratered like George W’s approval ratings? No, more daunting than that. An unemployment rate that’s billowing up like Britney’s mini skirt? Not that either. Could it be simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that threaten to crush world stability like a swift kick to the groin? Nope. And it’s not the nuclear nut cakes in charge of North Korea and Iran. The Palestinians and the Israelis? Get real.
The leader of the free world, the upholder of American Ideals, the Grand Poohbah of all us Poohs, has made a solemn promise. He’s promised his two girls, they’re getting a puppy. Good work, Barack. Up until the puppy promise, your future was looking pretty good. But now, on top of all those other problems, you're going to the dogs.
I think most of us would like to see an All-American dog as the Presidential pooch. Something regal. But there’s a doggie dilemma heading for the White House. Obama says their family dog has to come from a shelter. And it has to be a non-shedding variety because one of the girl’s has allergies. Suddenly, we’re looking at a Mexican Hairless. We Americans like our Chief Executives to be decisive. But after weeks of dithering, the doggie debate rages on. So far, Obama says finding a dog has been tougher than naming a commerce secretary. That’s gotta make his cabinet members proud. In his defense, the incoming President has narrowed it down to either a Portuguese Water dog or a Labradoodle.
Joe Biden kept his dog ambitions to himself. He just drove up to a kennel and picked out a German Shepard. Joe doesn’t even have little girls at home. Maybe he’s just trying to show his boss that he's a decision-maker. The saying goes, In Washington, if you want a friend, buy a dog. George Bush had two friends, a pair of Scottish Terriers. Clinton had a dog too. Clinton’s best friend was a Yellow Labrador Retriever named Buddy.
So, let’s imagine that President Obama finally gets a dog. Who’s gonna housebreak him? Here’s a hint. It won’t be Michelle. The Commander-In-Chief is gonna look damned Presidential chasing some mutt around the South lawn waving a pooper scooper.
And then there’s the obedience issue. Bill Clinton hired a famous dog trainer to keep Buddy from acting out with visiting dignitaries. I can’t describe Buddy’s talent exactly, but it rhymes with thumping. Hard to believe Bill Clinton’s dog had that sort of problem…
My parents had a difficult dog, a Welsh Terrier named Teddy. By difficult I mean the damned dog would bite. And he refused to follow orders. ‘Sit’, ‘stay’, ‘for the love of god, let go of my hand!’ He ignored everything we said. So we took him to the same trainer who handled Buddy. True story! After a two week stay the train
er told us Teddy was “too smart” to train. And our uneducated Teddy lived to be a very old dog.
Mr. Obama needs to be very careful. He needs to choose a dog that
will make his girls happy, and one that will make America proud. He’ll be done with the economy, the North Koreans, and even the Iraqis in eight short years at the most. But whatever dog he picks may be around a lot longer. There's no presidential pardon on this one. It could be a very Ruff choice.

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