The Fellowship of the Democrats Has anyone else noticed how our nine presidential companions are starting to resemble another group of nine characters? Banded together for a common purpose-- to defeat the Dark Lord, George W. Bush, whose great all-seeing eye, John Ashcroft, peers into every corner of the land-- their hope remains only so long as their company is true to each other.

We might even take a shot at assigning them individual parts.

Wesley Clark is probably the easiest to cast. As the consummate soldier, who better to play the warrior Boromir?

Howard Dean as Aragorn. Let's be honest and just admit that he is clearly the heir and next in line of succession to the throne, despite whatever questions some in the fellowship may have about him in that role, arriving as he has from "out of the wilds" of Vermont. After all, didn't Aragorn seem a little questionable at first?

Don't be fooled by Joe Lieberman's diminutive stature. He's every bit as warlike and ready for battle as his taller companions, which makes him perfect for the part of the tough and hardened little dwarf, Gimli.

John Kerry as Gandalf. Wizened and withered, more than a little cranky and making comments others don't quite understand, he's either wise or just weird.

Dick Gephardt as Legolas. So fair a countenance, so mild in temperance. Hardly seems as though he could be a threat to anyone.

And now we come to the hobbits. The little ones.

John Edwards wants us to think he's one of the tall ones, but his poll numbers make clear he's not. Merry claimed to be the tall one of the wee folk, too.

Al Sharpton as Pippin. Face it, he's really only there for comedic relief.

And who would be Sam? Caring, helpful Sam, who doesn't really long for power, but just wants to lend a hand to the fellows? That would be Carol Moseley Braun, of course.

And, lastly, who would we cast as Frodo, the one who must carry the Ring? Who has the most trustworthy disposition, who would not seek to use the Ring for power, but to destroy it so that all may frolic and dance and sing in the glade? Who of these nine is "the most unlikely of creatures"? Why, Dennis Kucinich obviously! After all, if the ring represents the atom bomb, isn't he the one person in the Democratic Fellowship who has said we must destroy it? Or cut its funding, anyway.

Also starring... Bob Graham as Elrond. Gave the Fellowship his blessing, but-- sorry, guys-- just couldn't make the journey with them.

Hillary Rodham Clinton as Galadriel. Is she really the terrible witch that so many fear her to be? Or is it only that her power seems mysterious, and frightening because we don't understand it?

Al Gore as Arwen. Racked with conflict between staying and fighting the Dark Lord or abandoning the fight to others-- whether to make a second run against Bush himself or let another receive the nomination-- our Arwen has chosen to bolster the courage of our Aragorn, Howard Dean, by endorsing him. Where others have faced the peril and failed, Al has declared that Howard Dean will face it in his time... and he will defeat it.

But, wait! Who's that skulking in the shadows? Is he friend or foe to the Fellowship? Once he was one of the fair folk, he has since been twisted and corrupted by his desire for the Oval Office of Power. He may yet have a role to play in the coming election, but for good or evil we cannot yet say. Though he claims to be an ally of the forces of goodness, others insist he is a puppet of the Dark Lord. Perhaps he is neither, but serves only himself, alienated from all as he mutters to himself abot how "false" the Fellowship are. Ralph Nader seems only too eager for the part of Gollum.

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