Painting the White House orange
I don’t buy into this presidential primary buzz, but it got me thinking…
What former SU student would make the best presidential candidate?
After watching Gerry McNamara hawk luxurious yet affordable cars, I realized we get over-exposed to the laundry list of notable alum all the time. Why not finally decide who’s the ripest orange by pitting them in a fictional battle for the White House?
For starters, as long as the individual attended SU, the candidate is eligible regardless of whether or not he or she received a diploma (so you’re in Costas, Crane and ‘Melo).
Next, to make it interesting, all individuals who are remotely qualified to live on Pennsylvania Avenue are disqualified. This means no Eileen Collins (first female space shuttle commander) or Ted Koppel (former ABC news anchor). I’ll exclude Joe Biden (Delaware senator and former Democratic candidate) too, but his qualifications are questionable if you followed his campaign.
Finally, since this is primary season, ‘electability’ matters above all else. This means you should be able to approach a stranger, say ‘Did you know X is running for President?’ and that person would immediately recognize the individual. If a candidate passes that test, he or she can be evaluated on the other aspects of electability: likeability, how famous your celebrity endorsements are and how cool the SNL parodies would be.
After consulting a panel of experts on the subject (or just me) here are the initial results:
The Dennis Kucinich / Ron Paul Division
Alice Sebold (author ‘The Lovely Bones’), Stephen Crane (author ‘The Red Badge of Courage’), Pete Yorn (hipster musician), Taye Diggs (actor), Lexington Steele (porn star)
Kucinich is the U.S. Representative from Ohio with a squeaky voice and facial features like a muppet – his platforms aren’t bad, it’s just hard to take him seriously. Likewise, the Kucinich Division candidates are all loveable and talented, but in quirky niche ways, which prevent them from being crowned the frontrunner. Sebold wrote the critically acclaimed ‘The Lovely Bones.’ Crane is a high-school history class staple for the Civil War-inclined. Diggs was the landlord Benny in the original stage production of ‘Rent.’
But the reason why these ex-students don’t make it past the first cut is the electability test. If you mentioned their names casually to a stranger, there is a 70-to-30 chance they’ll have no idea who you’re talking about. Lexington Steele sounds more like a men’s razor brand if you’re not up on major porn stars, and people might know Pete Yorn for the infectious whistle-soloed summer tune ‘Young Folks.’ (Except ‘Young Folks,’ is by Peter Bjorn and John. If your most famous song is by another artist, there’s no way you can get elected).
The Bill Richardson / Mike Huckabee (Vice) Presidential Realm
Tom Everett Scott (actor), Donovan McNabb (Eagles QB), New York (VH1 fixture), Larry Csonka (Ex-NFL player and original announcer for American Gladiator)
Richardson is the governor of New Mexico who was flirting with being a top-three Democratic candidate but has recently fallen short in the primaries. In the Richardson Realm, these former undergrads clearly are not out of the conversation, but something is missing (except for Scott. I bet he wouldn’t pass the electability test, but he was Shades in ‘That Thing You Do,’ so he gets a pass).
For instance, McNabb is great, but his Eagles had ‘Buffalo Bills-early-90s’ syndrome and couldn’t get it done in the big game. New York is ridiculously famous, but I’m not sure I trust her to run her own life let alone the country (plus who would care about a celebrity endorsement from Tailor Made). Csonka might’ve taken the competition in the 80s as the American Gladiator host, but now he’s been replaced in popular culture by Hulk Hogan. During my childhood, no one ever recovered from Hogan, and I don’t think Czonka could either.
If you get taken out by the founder of the nWo, receive a nickname from Flavor Flav or play for the Philadelphia Eagles (disclaimer: Go Redskins), VP is the end of the line.
The Obama / Clinton Pantheon
Dick Clark (TV and radio legend), Lou Reed (Rock legend), Aaron Sorkin (writer of ‘A Few Good Men’ and ‘The West Wing’), Jerry Stiller (actor), Marvson McCostarico (legendary sports broadcaster*)
Obama and Clinton are political rock stars, and at this point for the Democratic Party, it’s like choosing between The Beatles or the Stones. Once you get to the Obama-Clinton Pantheon, any of these candidates could be the big winner. With the possible exception of Sorkin, these are all names virtually anyone off the street would not only recognize but could rattle off a list of accomplishments for. Clark has New Year’s, Stiller had ‘Seinfeld’ and Lou Reed had the Velvet Underground. They’re all qualified individuals who just happen to be running against one can’t-miss candidate (see The Candidate below).
*Marvson McCostarico is Marv Alberts, Bob Costas, Mike Tirico, Sean McDonough and Jayson Stark. If you follow sports at all you know these names. With their powers combined, they should rightfully take this competition. Thing is, Marvson is a fictional mash-up. It’s hard to run the country if you’re not real.
He’s a proven winner (see 2003). He’s a philanthropist (see donation to SU basketball). He’s tough (see Mardy Collins’ chin). He’d get the best endorsements (see Michael Jordan and MTV’s LaLa Vazquez). And he’s already showed a knack for leading the country (see stint as Team USA tri-captain and leading scorer).
The 2008 election seems to be about the candidate who could best bring change and ‘Melo is that fresh face. Look at SU basketball before him, during and after – the bottom line is you want ‘Melo around. I don’t have a clue who I’ll vote for in real life when my primary (that won’t matter) comes around. But if you want me to make up an argument and be the only authority to choose the victor here he is. Carmelo Anthony is the ex-SU student who should be a presidential candidate. If Mike Gravel still considers his campaign active, I see no reason ‘Melo couldn’t give it a shot.
Nathan Mattise is a pop culture columnist for The Daily Orange. His columns appear every Tuesday. When he’s not making up useless debates he chooses Jigglypuff and wins stock matches in Super Smash Bros. 64. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Note from Nate – I have tons of links for this article but I know we didn’t use them last week. Also I’m not sure how much of the (insert quick identification) needed to be done so I just did it for everyone mentioned. I also have no idea how you’d want to format this, so I just stuck with the underline as my most progressive text technique.
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