Saturday, May 10, 2008

(Re)Introducing: Number 23

For three years in the 1990's, I lived in Chicago. It was the first city I'd lived in with an NBA franchise. Like most of my fellow students, I quickly adopted the Bulls as "my" team. It wasn't hard: the Bulls of that decade were perhaps the most dominant team of all time. Michael Jordan was amazing. I remember marveling at him. We even cheered for him after his brief dalliance with baseball. Particularly memorable was the night, back from his "retirement," when he lit up the Knicks for 55 points at MSG.

A few years later, though, his glory days as a player clearly over, he started wearing a Washington uniform (I don't recall if they were the Bullets or the Wizards then). He was still MJ. You couldn't root against him. But it was tough to see him, playing in games that his team would certainly lose. He remained a professional. He stayed committed to winning. You just knew he wasn't going to get there. He could have had lots of other roles in the game at which he'd excel: as a coach, a general manager, even, with his millions, an owner. But he shouldn't have been out on the floor dunking anymore.

Today, I feel the same way about Hillary Clinton. I came of political age when the Clintons were in their glory years. I cheered when she was elected to the US Senate. I think she'll ultimately be one of the most brilliant Senate majority leaders in history.

But now she's leading a team that can't win. She still Hillary Clinton. I can't root against her or her husband even as I root for Obama). But as I watch her, I wonder why she doesn't realize her role in the game has changed. She's no longer destined to reside in the White House. It's time to play out the rest of her career in the Senate. But the presidential game has passed her by.

Hillary: you're starting to resemble the heavyweight boxer who kept fighting for too long. Time to pass the torch. But Barack: you'd better be more ready to carry that torch than you've appeared these past few weeks.

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