by Ryan Jones

Hey there!

It’s been a minute. Things are good, though — thanks for asking. Just, you know, life, work, family, the usual. Not much new here. The kids are fine. I can’t complain.

You? Good. Good to hear.

So, this whole election thing, huh? Crazy! I totally don’t know who to vote for. Actually, that’s not true, but that’s not important right now. What’s important is that I revisit the wildly popular, election-inspired format that I have, in this space, entertained you with thrice previously.

THRICE.

The first time was here. Mitt Romney! I don’t even know who he is. Time f*ckin’ FLIES, man.

The second one was here. I compared Obama to Rick Adelman! Even reading it again now, I cannot imagine what inspired that. No matter how apropos it might have been at the time, that is insane.

And the third one was here. This one’s kind of cool, actually, if only because the events of the past five months haven’t rendered it completely obsolete—and have, in some case, actually made it more compelling.

Like this: LeBron James is Barack Obama. Post-Beijing, the absurd “LeBronze” chants have been (or should be, at least) forever silenced — he CAN win the big one. Hells yeah.

Or this one: The Washington Wizards are Hillary Clinton. I haven’t really heard anything from either of them in a few months, so that seems accurate.

And this: Not sure if the Lakers or Spurs are John McCain. Hey, either way.

Nobody actually asked me to do another one of these, but regular readers will know that I don’t care what any of you people think. So I’m doing another one of these. I figure it’ll be the last one, too, which automatically makes it the hardest — both because I need to make sure I get it right, and because I know my audience expects a classic. Here goes…

###

Joe Biden is Michael Finley.

This one’s easy.

*Both are consummate, long-time pros with proven track records who, for whatever reason, were never quite good enough to be the guy who carried a team to glory.

*Both were brought onto their current team to provide a veteran presence and are seen as competent, safe additions to the lineup.

*Both hail from swingstates.

*Both are snappydressers.

No brainer.

###

John McCain is Shaquille O’Neal.

For this one, I also considered the Oklahoma City Thunder, because both have moved so far from where (or what) they once were that they are essentially unrecognizable now; and Greg Oden, because both are really, really old. But I settled on the Diesel, for a few reasons.

*Both have appealed to a broad swath of people.

*Both have committed themselves to fightingbad guys.

*Both have been, um, injury-prone.*

*Both had their best years before they moved to Arizona.

*Both have had mixed luck with their marriages.

*Both have potty mouths. (Not for the easily offended!)

*Both have been among the best-liked guys in their job, but have increasingly alienated former fans with behavior that tends to overshadow past accomplishments.

*Both seem jealous of younger, healthier guys getting more attention.

*Both like to give themselves nicknames that, while perhaps appropriate once, are no longer.

*Both seem like they might be better off just hanging it up now, before things get worse.

Am I being fair and balanced? Because I’m trying, really hard.

###

Sarah Palin! It’s amazing how much you can learn about a person in such a short amount of time. Spunky Sarah has only been on the scene about a month now, and yet I feel like I know her, inside and out.

There are so many ways to go with this one.** First name that came to mind was Stephon Marbury, because both talk about Jesus a lot, at least in part to distract us from the fact that they don’t make any sense.

Then I thought about Carlos Boozer, because they’re both from Alaska, and both are apparently full of sh*t.

Then I thought of DeShawn Stevenson, because while neither should be underestimated, both seem to have an inflated sense of their own ability, and because their physical appearance tends to be distracting.

Then I thought, maybe it’s OJ Mayo, because both were brought into losing squads to make a previously ugly roster look more appealing.

And then, briefly, I thought of Ron Artest, because both were brought in to up the intensity on their squads, but neither of them can keepfrom saying crazy sh*t.

But then, finally, I figured it out.

Sarah Palin is Darko Milicic. Or Shawn Bradley. Or Sam Bowie — whoever you like as the worst No. 2 pick in the history of history.

###

Barack Obama… considering I’ve already compared him to LeBron James, early-90s Phil Jackson, and f*cking Adelman, this one could really go anywhere. I was briefly tempted to go with Elton Brand, because both are relatively new in their respective gigs and carry really high expectations for a fan base that’s used to being disappointed, and because both really need to win in Pennsylvania.

And then I thought about Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, because both are America-hating terrorists with terrorist names who hate the Stars and Stripes and pal around with terrorists, and did I mention they probably ARE terrorists? (If you keep repeating it over and over and over again, that makes it true, right?) But instead, I decided that…

Barack Obama is the 2007-08 Boston Celtics. Both are undeniably talented, but even people rooting for them really weren’t sure either could pull it together when it mattered most. Then the Celtics did, with what what was, coincidentally, the blackest title squad in franchise history. Obama’s not there yet. But I’m optimistic — not politically or anything. I just want this column to make sense.

Anyway, I’m voting for Bob Barr, ’cause his glasses are even cooler than Palin’s.

*I’m not making fun of John McCain’s war injuries, but he also apparently crashed 5 TIMES while he was a Navy pilot, and only one of those was when he got shot down. So “injury-prone” seems accurate, and I’m sticking with it.

**An op-ed piece in the Christian Science Monitor on Monday referred to Palin as the McCain campaign’s “Bill Laimbeer,” because she’s the one doing all the dirty work. This is awesome. All that’s left is for the Beastie Boys to write a song about her. This being 2008, the song would probably suck, but I’d download it anyway.