The President and the baby were born on the same day, but under different signs. When you ask them how this can be, the President launches into a lengthy explanation with references to Copernican theory and congressional gridlock and the baby merely stares at you and spits up on its chin. Both are merely speculating. They are mystified and confused, but don’t want to say so.
The President and the baby decide to work together to eliminate world hunger. They hold conferences for several weeks in major U.S. cities, inviting mayors, governors, pop singers, and major basketball stars. Many ideas are discussed, but most of the participants become discouraged and despair of any good coming from the sessions because of the clannish way the President and the baby side with each other, ganging up on the others and creating an unmistakable us-vs.-them dynamic that undermines the group’s stated purpose. Eventually they abandon the suggestions of others in favor of their own plan, devised by the baby: develop one very large breast from which the entire population of the earth can suckle. The President moves to make emergency funding available immediately. The baby avers that perhaps two breasts will be needed, given the size of the world’s population. A special executive committee forms, jointly chaired by the President and the baby.
The President and the baby are rarely apart. Theirs is a curious relationship. The President’s wife and children are alarmed by the apparent mutual dependence; the baby’s parents and siblings—though at first thrilled by the President’s interest in their kin—are starting to worry that their own bonds are deteriorating. It is just not right for a grown man and a baby to spend all their time together. Apart from the way it’s distracting both from more useful exercises of their time, political opponents of both the President and the baby are starting to make nasty insinuations that could hurt them both in the end.
When these very practical considerations are so much as mentioned to them, the President and the baby take offense. The President begins a protracted discourse on McCarthyism and its relation to Dr. Spock’s theories of the developing psyche in infants aged 0-2 years. The baby cites Kierkegaard’s theory of subjective truth and his defense of the rational self as being forged in relation to (and sometimes in opposition of) external as well as internal forces. Their defenses are virtually unassailable and baffling to the lay person.
Despite their closeness, the President and the baby don’t really like each other. They each suspect that the other is envious. They are both right. This causes endless fights, some of them physical. Once, the baby gripped the President’s right forefinger as tightly as it could and wouldn’t let go for several seconds. The President, being right-handed, claimed his ability to veto legislation and play golf with important men was hampered for two weeks. Another time, the President yelled at the baby with such severity that it cried for an hour and then contacted certain well-known attorneys who brought a civil suit against the President. The suit was ultimately settled out-of-court for an undisclosed sum of money.
Despite their animosities, the President and the baby seem inseparably connected by forces beyond their control. What will happen when the President leaves office? What will happen when the baby grows up? No less than the future is at stake. The future of the President, the future of the baby, and the future of the world. Political opponents are closing in. They are desperately trying to dig up dirt on the baby. The baby is rumored to have poor credit and even poorer approval ratings among his play group. The President is said to be cheating on his children. The President and the baby vow to take on all comers. They keep their upper lips stiff. They decide to stand together. If they must they will consult with public relations professionals and meet with radio talk show hosts. Where necessary they will confer accolades. They will fully assess that which needs assessment. No less than the future is at stake. The future of the President, the future of the baby, the future of the world.