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The naked truth behind Hillary Clinton's commander in chief test

March 11, 2008 |  7:14 am

Monday Howard Wolfson, the supreme spokesman for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, issued a pronouncement by telephone conference call: "We do not believe," he said, "that Sen. Obama has passed that key commander in chief test."

This point was apparently made to disqualify Barack Obama from the No. 2 vice president job that he says he would never want and Hillary Clinton herself brought up last week and has talked about several times along with her husband but now they've decided the Illinois senator hasn't passed the commander in chief test that he's never taken and no one knows what it is anyway.

Which got us to thinking. What do you suppose a commander in chief test looks like? What do you have to know how to do to become commander in chief? And how, by the way, do we know whether Sen. Clinton has passed or even taken the commander in chief test?

Her campaign has not released Clinton's commander in chief test, which....

fits because she hasn't released her recent years' income taxes either or the vast volume of documents from her first lady days that she says constitute so many of those 35 years of valuable experience that qualify her to be commander in chief.

So the entire world is left to guess what exactly is on Hillary Clinton's commander in chief test. Which may be what her campaign wants. Because, in point of fact, if you think about it, Obama and John McCain are actually a tad bit closer to being the commander in chief since Obama leads in popular votes, states and Democratic delegates and McCain has already locked up the Republican nomination, unless Ron Paul really turns it on here in the next few weeks.

You can leave your own ideas in the Comments section below about what should be on a commander in chief test.

We'll just offer a few opening thoughts. First of all, shouldn't a commander in chief test be administered by an independent person, say, someone with the voters' interests in mind, not someone who's seeking the job of commander in chief herself and would know the answers to her own commander in chief questions?

Second, from what we've noticed about commanders in chief, there's a whole lot of things they don't have to know. For instance, they don't have to cook anymore. They don't even have to know how to open a door. There's guys and gals in nice suits with really compact machine guns under their jackets to do that.

They do have to know how to wave from a large airplane's door, both coming and going. And they've got to climb those metal steps with the eyes of the world looking for the slightest slip.

Shaking hands should be a really important part of a commander in chief test. But that's basically what modern campaigns have come down to, so after two solid years of shaking hands on the campaign trail by the time a commander in chief takes the commander in chief oath -- oh, that's another thing they need to know: how to repeat the oath after the chief justice says it first phrase by phrase -- any candidate should be in pretty good shape for the hand-shaking question.

The only tough part is at those foreign summits where you have to shake hands for, like, two solid minutes and make it look sincere for the photographers the whole time because you know they'll use the photo of that one insincere nano-second.

A commander in chief needs to know how to answer the phone when it rings, whatever the hour. And a commander in chief should know how to say, "Get me ___," whether the next word is pizza or Rumsfeld.

A commander in chief needs to know how to sign legislation with 12 members of Congress pushing and shoving for camera position behind him/her. Also a little tricky is understanding Harry Reid without a translator and knowing how to sign your name one time while using 12 pens to do it and handing them out to the eager members of Congress who will disagree with you as soon as they get outside to the cameras.

The Pentagon provides all the maps you'll need for invading other countries. And the little toy tanks and guns to mark the troop locations. You do need to bring a lot of hangers for all the championship team jerseys with your name on them.

Sadly, you do have to visit Pennsylvania and Michigan sometimes and pretend to like them. But, on the other hand, whatever you say, everyone nearby will agree with you. No more wondering if they're sincere.

Oh, and the dog. You need one of those to run across the lawn and greet you at the helicopter. But you never have to go out again and stroll with an ice cream cone or sit in a sidewalk cafe free of gawking crowds. No more of that stopping by Olive Garden on the spur of the moment and waiting for a table with that goofy flashing pager. What a relief, eh?

Your colonoscopy report will be shared with the entire world automatically. And your tax records. Your friends from second-grade will become local celebrities for making up stories about you for local TV crews. You'll never have to use a bathroom again without someone first checking all the stalls and then standing outside yours.

And at night you can look out the White House windows at those poor people passing by in their own cars with the tops down and the CDs playing. They're laughing and maybe singing because no one in the world would like to kill them. And they're going somewhere, or nowhere, just for fun.

And you'll know that, having invested years of your life campaigning and passing the commander in chief test, you'll never ever have to do that again for the rest of your natural life.

--Andrew Malcolm