Who are President Donald Trump's two best friends in politics?
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking. You see their smirks and those six bloody elbows between the three of them, and you figure this is no relationship.
But it is a relationship that works for the president because they keep bringing up his favorite subject. And it works fine for Barack and Hillary because it fills their egos with a mighty wind.
It just doesn't work for the Democratic Party.
It is a relationship that benefits Trump, because every time Obama or Clinton open their mouths, America is reminded of what was rejected in 2016 — Clinton's presidential hopes and Obama's dreams that she'd keep his legacy intact.
Trump doesn't much want to talk about Washington Republicans peeling the skin off his populism. They've been peeling Trump the way a crafty TV hillbilly might peel an apple, sitting on a porch swing, telling stories in a bad sitcom with a pig named Arnold and canned laughter.
But if there's one thing Trump loves talking about, it's the 2016 election, and how the media was (and is) against him, and how those snotty liberals swinging their basket of deplorables lost the working class and blue-collar Midwestern states.
So what do Hillary and Barack do? They keep serving up 2016 on the tips of their silvery tongues.
They feed their egos and get face time, and Barack spins some fantasy about actually caring about Chicago.
And Hillary, having announced that she's finally come out of the woods to visit us, spins us her favorite Russian fairy tale.
Entertaining, yes, but it hurts the Democratic Party. By refusing to go away, they prevent the party from evolving. And without developing some cogent theme besides Boiling the Rich, and Hating Trump, without grooming and nurturing new vibrant personalities, the Democratic Party is in trouble.
Jealousy isn't a strategy. Envy and identity politics and obstructionism aren't either. Even the amusing symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome get old. Months of hysteria and primal screams and jabbering can dull the senses of sensible people. Soon, it will jump the shark, as late-night TV jester Stephen Colbert jumped it the other day, jumping hard and down on his corporate advertisers.
Yet as long as Barack and Hillary haunt us, the Democrats can't grow. Yes, they're beloved by their partisans. And each time they appear, you'll find adoring pundits wagging their tails like Labrador puppies, wetting the carpets with joy.
But it doesn't help the Democratic Party. It helps Hillary. It helps Barack.
Smart Democrats understand this. They see Obama casting himself as some kind of Jedi master of young community organizers — as he cashes in — and they groan.
They see Clinton as some Blanche DuBois in a pants suit, spinning her airy fantasies and believing them even as she dredges up all those painful subjects, from FBI Director James Comey to her thousands of classified emails on unsecured servers.
Smart professional Democrats see all this and wonder: "For the love of God will they please just go away?" But they won't. They're needy, like a pair of Nosferatu drawing sustenance from Democratic young.
Obama visited Chicago and promoted plans for his Great Temple to Himself, also known as his presidential library, near a stunning new golf course proposed for Jackson Park.
The original temple design reportedly wasn't flashy enough for Obama, so a grander one was sketched, and he may even visit, with his golf clubs. Here's how the Obama Temple should be built: with a series of reflecting pools, and along the edges, statues of Obama at different stages of his life, so that he might stare into his reflection for all of eternity.
But outside the Obama Temple, Chicago remains a violent bloodbath, innocents and thugs dropping every day in the city's street gang wars. He did nothing about it as president for eight years. There was talk, yes, but no real development, no real jobs, nothing.
There should be a sign out front: Obama helped Iran more than he helped Chicago.
Every day and every night, the West and South sides bleed and roll over on the sidewalks, another deadly spring turning into another deadly summer.
And Hillary? When she announced, in that chirping voice, that she'd come out of the woods, I tried not to think of a tiny hut on chicken feet, magically moving from glen to glen. And the other day she told another Russian fairy tale of her own.
She blamed the Russians hacking into the DNC emails for her loss. And Comey for disclosing another investigation into her own classified emails just before the election. And she insisted that she would have been president if the election had been held Oct. 27.
It was pathetic.
If "the election had been on October 27, I would have been your president," she said. "And it wasn't."
And if there were no iceberg, we'd never remember the Titanic.
David Axelrod, a crafty pro, the Merlin who turned Obama into a president with one speech, wished she'd just stop talking.
"It takes a lot of work to lose to Donald Trump," Axelrod told CNN, adding that no one in America wants to relive the election, "except the combatants who keep going back to it."
But she loves it back there, doesn't she? And so does the president.
John Kass has covered a variety of topics since arriving at the Chicago Tribune in 1983. Kass has received several awards for commentary and journalism, from organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Press Club of Atlantic City, the Chicago Headline Club's Lisagor Award for best daily newspaper columnist. In 1992, Kass won the Chicago Tribune's Beck Award for writing. to readmore of his reports, Click Here Now.