Friday, February 15, 2008


As usual in every political campaign, my special interest is being ignored in the Race for the White House '08.

In all the brouhaha over superdelegates and Super Tuesday, a voluntary health care plan versus a mandated one, coded racism and uncoded tears, campaign rallies that resemble rock concerts and Rush Limbaugh's head exploding, nobody has really broken down what the next president will mean for writers. Like me.

In literary terms, the three remaining candidates all have major advantages than George W. Bush:

--Clinton 2.0: has authored or co-authored several books, smart, organized, actually reads.

--Barack Obama: has authored two books, incredibly articulate, handsome, actually reads.

--McCain: authored or co-authored several books, white hair, no verbal filter, hot headed, hot wife, actually reads.

It is a rite of passage that any person running for president will have to write a book, or hire someone to do it for them. Still, from a writer's perspective, any one of these candidates has a fine literary pedigree, So what if Hillary Clinton "wrote" Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets ; at least we know she loves animals and has enough imagination not to name her dog "Spot."

And big deal that Barack Obama is the author of a cookbook. Yes, a cookbook for African-American men. OK, he only wrote the foreward, but still.

Granted, I haven't actually read It Takes a Village (Clinton) or The Audacity of Hope (Obama) or I'm a Military Hero, But Why I Still Favor This Insane Iraqi War Is a Mystery Even to Me(McCain), so I can't accurately judge the quality of their work. It's plain, however, that the one thing that unites these politicians-authors is that they favor non-fiction.

For those of this inclined towards those things fictitious -- novels, plays, political speeches -- it is an interesting thought experiment to imagine just who these candidates would be, if they did write novels and plays.

Not only are these categories random, but indicative of nothing. Feel free to add your own.


Clinton: George Eliot

Obama: Charles Dickens

McCain: Charlotte Bronte


Clinton: The women in the poetry program at my grad school

Obama: Baudelaire

McCain: Sylvia Plath


Clinton: Dorthy Parker

Obama: Charles Bukowski

McCain: Some knight in the 12th Century who came back from the Crusades, wrote about it, got plastered on mead, and choked on his own vomit


Clinton: T.S. Eliot

Obama: James Joyce

McCain: Samuel Beckett, Kafka, Inonesco (you get the picture)


Clinton: Theodore Dreiser

Obama: Thomas Hardy

McCain: The guy who wrote that book about the 'Nam!!!!!!!

I'm a handsome writer


Clinton: Ibsen

Obama: G.B. Shaw

McCain: That dude who wrote A Few Good Men


Clinton: Gertrude Stein

Obama: F. Scott Fitzgerald

McCain: Ernest Hemingway (and Hemingway, and Hemingway)


Clinton: Virginia Woolf

Obama: E.M. Forster

McCain: Bloomswhatthefuck?


Clinton: Lady Macbeth (Ouch!)

Obama: Prince Hal (Double Ouch!)

McCain: Richard III (Triple Ouch!)


Clinton: Sartre

Obama: Camus

McCain: Kafka

If only she had known...


Clinton: John Barth

Obama: Thomas Pynchon

McCain: In the 60s I was serving my country while you were in diapers and smokin' weed in Hawaii, mister Obama!


Clinton: Tom Clancy

Obama: Jackie Collins

McCain: The love child of Tom Clancy and Jackie Collins


Clinton: Bill Clinton

Obama: JFK

McCain: Richard Nixon


Clinton: Bill Clinton

Obama: Oprah Winfrey

McCain: McCain

Well, the votes are in, but there are some dimpled chads. Feel free to submit your own ballots. I'll declare the winner in time for the next election.