Obama/Biden is hardly the Cabrera/Fielder combination it once was. Should the president drop Joe?
Apparently the VP’s comments about the big banks putting “y’all back in chains” under a Romney administration have set off a firestorm of criticism. Of course the Romney campaign indignantly declared this a new low in an election that will surely reach entirely new lows over the next few months. But if you take a step back, none of this should really come as a surprise. It’s just Biden being Biden.
Anyone who follows politics knows that Joe Biden is a walking gaffe machine. I mean, this is the man who famously referred to the future President as “articulate and bright and clean.” At least this time he’s pointing his rhetorical weapons of mass destruction at the other side. And let’s be honest here, that’s part of the reason why Obama brought him on board as VP in the first place. It’s also one of the reasons why there’s absolutely no reason for the President to drop him now.
Honestly, Biden’s moment last week was a godsend for the Obama campaign. It followed news of the Paul Ryan pick, a moment that was supposed to change the election debate to matters of the economy and the budget. Instead, the press and everyone else is talking about Biden’s statement. Add in that it fires up an important part of the Democratic base, black Americans, and I really don’t see where this is hurting the Obama campaign at all. Biden’s “gaffes” often serve to humanize both him and the President he serves. They also give the campaign a way to say something while still claiming plausible deniability. “Hey, we didn’t ask him to say that. That’s just Biden being Biden. However, now that you mention it….” Sounds like a winning strategy to me.
More than that, though, Obama has no desire to get rid of Biden because Biden is the guy who turns the Obama strategy into reality. You think the Affordable Care Act gets passed without Biden making calls and twisting arms? You think “Don’t ask, don’t tell” gets repealed without Joe putting in some face time? Sure, sometimes he may force the President’s hand, like with his comments on gay marriage, but is that such a bad thing? Here’s an even better analogy. Biden is COO to Obama’s CEO. And trust me, being CEO without an effective COO is a painful proposition. Just ask George HW Bush about that one.
Should Obama drop Joe? Hell no.
The Pirates were a perennial losing franchise?
Bob Costas’ pretentious Olympian superlatives weren’t pretentious because they were about baseball, something the man truly loves?
I mocked Sarah Palin’s mocking of Obama’s proposed “hopey-change” politics?
Everyone discounted the Cardinals’ playoff hopes with three weeks left in the season?
The GOP wasn’t an absolute joke?
Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise was the greatest thing that ever happened in comic book film history? (WARNING: Major spoiler alert with that link)
NBC didn’t ruin every single sporting event it broadcasted?*
US American politicians really worked for the people?
And remember when you didn’t hate me ‘cuz I was right?
*Not including the XFL, which was a brilliant endeavor, even if it was extremely stupid.
A couple years ago I was out with some friends and even though it was still early in the night, one of the guys started dancing with a relatively unattractive young lady and making overtures to convince her to come with him and get out of the place. When I say early, it wasn’t even midnight yet and the place was open for another couple hours. It didn’t make any sense to me because a bevy of beautiful young ladies were still floating around, getting drunk and and seemingly unattached. I couldn’t understand what was happening because this guy isn’t bad looking, has an interesting job and should be able to do better.
As soon as possible, I pulled him aside and asked what he was thinking. He listened to my arguments for a moment and, once I had finished, responded with three words: “Go ugly early.”
In retrospect, he had a point. At the end of the night, all the pretty girls left and the rest of us were still there, desperately and drunkenly hitting on what was left. His thought was, why delay the inevitable when you can take care of things early and be assured of some sort of result. It may not be a winning strategy in terms of quality but it seems to work in terms of quantity.
This is why I’m not all that surprised to see the Presidential race already shaping up to be nasty. I guess if there’s any surprise, it’s that Obama, Mr. “Hope and Change,” seems to have gone there first and seems to be doing so pretty effectively.
Now, I’m actually of the opinion that Obama’s first term has been relatively successful. His actions and those of his team prevented the recession from deepening into a depression. Whether you agree with his politics or not, stepping in to save GM prevented catastrophic job loss at a moment when the economy could have crumbled under the weight of all those jobless people. However, it’s hard to prove a negative so Obama is instead saddled with the weight of continuing economic sluggishness and jobs numbers that just refuse to grow.
But that’s not the story at this point. Sure, it’s the summer and that means the undecided voters haven’t really tuned in yet. But it was also summer when the Bush campaign launched its “Swiftboat” campaign against John Kerry and when people finally started paying attention, that had become part of the narrative. Obama has managed to “Swiftboat” Romney with the tax return issue and if history serves, the issue will still be front and center come September when voters tune back in.
The story becomes even more interesting if you buy into the theory floated by Businessweek earlier this week. Romney has adamantly refused to release his 2009 tax returns despite calls by some in his own party to do so. This “lack of transparence” has damaged Romney’s standing but still he holds firm. Why? Well, Businessweek’s hypothesis is, maybe Romney didn’t pay any taxes that year!
It makes sense. The very wealthy took a bath in the 2008 crash but losing a lot one year often means a huge tax break the following year. So, if Romney’s fortunes took a dive, it’s natural and perfectly legal that he didn’t pay any taxes the next year. However, try explaining that to the millions of unemployed out there or the sizable number of voters already paying a higher tax rate than Romney in a normal year. The American electorate is notoriously immune to nuance. News of Romney not having to pay taxes in 2009, justified or not, could pretty much lock up re-election for Obama.
So, Team Romney sits tight and continues to get battered from all sides. Maybe they’re playing a Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope and want to wait until the news cycle is in their favor before releasing what might be completely innocuous tax returns. Or maybe they’re just going to play it this way all the way through to the end. All I know is that if Obama does win in November, you can chalk part of it up to my buddy’s strategy. Go ugly early.
With summer temperatures slowly creeping up on us, the potential for flop-sweat induced wedgies at the ballpark is on the rise, making an afternoon or midmorning rain shower a pleasant respite for anyone wanting to spend some serious time unstuck at the game. Though it is not widely known, making it rain isn’t quite as difficult as one might think. Here are three simple methods:
1. Be Different
As my doleful and oft unctuous colleague, Mr. Krause, taught us, sometimes, making it rain is just a matter of doing the opposite of what’s expected of you.
2. Be Ignorant
This is an easy method for rain-making, especially for those US Americans who reside in the realm of absurdity. I recall Focus on the Family asking their invisible friend to make it rain in Denver, to drown out the “changes” being outlined by Obama at the 2008 DNC.
3. Be Livan Hernandez
This is the easiest, most economical way to make it rain. In fact, I’m doing it right now… to the guy in the cubicle next to me.
Hate me ‘cuz I makes it rain, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Barack Obama finally came out in support of gay marriage. I’m not exactly sure why this is news since a majority of the country holds the same position. By definition, our elected leaders are our representatives and should represent the views that we hold. Obama’s change of position (which isn’t really all that much of a change if you really think about it) merely puts him on the right side of history and firmly with the majority.
How did we get to this point anyway? There’s the easy answer that it’s the fault of religion and the myth of “traditional” marriage (which conveniently ignores the other acceptable definitions of marriage laid out by their holy books):
I think it’s simpler than that, though. People are just afraid of what they don’t know. Plenty of baseball fans hated Jackie Robinson when he first started playing but 60 years later, the biggest stars in the game are a veritable rainbow coalition. 25 years from now, we’ll be telling similar stories about gay marriage.
Here’s the thing. Marriage is supposed to be about two people who love each other committing to live and work together. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t but the sexuality of the person has nothing to do with their ability to love or make a commitment. If you want to simplify things even further, here are two examples. Kim Kardashian had a “traditional” marriage. This gentleman’s two mothers did not.
Now, would you rather have his two moms as parents or Kim Kardashian?
If you have a stomach strong enough to stand the neverending barrage of political headline craptitude, then you might already know that the Mitt Romney camp is eager to point out that Barack Obama ate dog as a child. Obviously, this is pretty important stuff. As the Republicans know, you are what you eat (is Astroglide edible?), and no doubt, Obama’s youthful ingestion of doggie treats certainly makes him unfit for a job as demanding as the presidency.
Which got me thinking about my favorite baseballers and what they eat. Sure, some probably go for too much hot dog and not enough arugula salad, but let us examine to make sure. The interns have graciously prepared some slides.
McPizza. Right? Weighing 300 lbs. as a baseball player ain’t easy, but when you only pitch every once in a while and you eat crap like the above, then it’s easy as McPie.
Baby Ruth. Duh.
Nothing??!! Dude is about to disappear!
And finally (you probably knew this was coming)…
The known universe.
To be exact, this idea references a fascinatingly disturbing thought theorized by famed astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. One could look at it the way he explains — that an entire universe could be within each and every one of us. Or, you can think (like me), that dude doesn’t get that large unless he eats everything in the entire known universe.
Either way, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
It’s official. The Battle Royale known as the 2012 US Presidential Election will pit the titleholder, Barack Obama, against the challenger, Mitt Romney. But that presents a problem for Mitt. He won the primary by being the least bad choice and through blatant pandering to the base. That probably won’t work for the general. The fact of the matter is, Mitt is looking for ideas and he’s looking for them anywhere. So, why not turn to Obama’s last real challenger:
That’s not a terrible idea. Kind of unfortunate for a Mormon, though. Hold on a second. I know! Maybe man’s best friend can help out:
Uh, nope, not so much.
Wait a minute. I’ve got it! Since Florida is important and the Republicans aren’t doing so hot with the Latino vote, why not kill two birds with one stone. I’m sure Ozzie Guillen would be willing to help out:
Oh boy. That’s gonna hurt. Ozzie just turned himself into Florida kryptonite.
Actually, you know what, maybe Hillary wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Couldn’t hurt to try again, right?
There’s always drinking…
So the Cubs traded their best lefty (Sean Marshall) for Travis Wood and then Travis Wood doesn’t even make the team. Is Theo doing it right?
Remember when Barack Obama first came into office and the U.S. and world economies were doing their best impressions of 1929? Well, that’s kind of where Epstein sits right now. It would be easier to just burn the place down and start over (which is always an option when you’re talking about Chicago) but there’s no way anyone would support that. So, he’s going to have to make the most of what he has and slowly try to rebuild.
That doesn’t necessarily mean simply accepting the situation, though. Normally, when you pay big money for a guy or give up a big name in a trade, the expectation is that new guy is going to play and you’ll just have to suffer if he doesn’t quite catch his groove right away. Think Carl Crawford on the Red Sox. Think Dontrelle Willis on the Tigers. Think Barack Obama with TARP. But leaders don’t always accept that situation. Sometimes they have to make the tough decisions and break with expectations. That’s what Obama did with GM and even made the government some money in the process. It appears like maybe that’s what Epstein is trying to do with the Cubs, too.
Sean Marshall is a good reliever. According to Epstein, he’s maybe the “most valuable left-handed reliever in all of baseball.” But what good is having the most valuable left-handed reliever in baseball if your starting pitching is terrible, your defense is atrocious and you can’t score runs? Epstein realizes the Cubs aren’t going to be a winning ball club this year. He realizes they probably won’t be a winning ball club next year either. But he’s setting himself up for success three or four seasons down the line.
Remind you of anyone else? Bailing out the auto industry wasn’t popular but three years later, after watching the recession crest and slowly subside, we now see hiring going back up and the economy beginning to grow again. That’s the difference between guys like Epstein and Obama and wannabes like Hendry. Attempts to implement quick fixes for immediate results more often lead to systemic failure. Epstein, like the president, has to slowly flush that through, suffering short-term difficulties for long-term success.
So, long story short, yeah, Theo is doing it right. But that’s not going to stop people from yelling and screaming during the first few painful years. Marshall is gone and Wood got sent to the minors. But they have more money to go after other important pieces, they have a solid prospect in the minors who could work his way back and they didn’t try to force someone into a role they simply couldn’t handle at this point. When you think about it, Theo seems positively presidential.
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As electoral campaigns get rolling and as the candidates feel a need to distinguish themselves, the quotes become more and more interesting. Sure, there is the obvious craziness of Newt Gingrich and his moonbases but that’s just a drop in the bucket. You expect that sort of thing from a bipolar former Speaker of the House.
But what about Rick Santorum’s pledge to ban pornography in the United States? Number one, anyone who feels this strongly about so many “vices” must have a real problem. Has he even heard of Mark Foley or Ted Haggard? Number two, the states that most support Santorum, the so-called “Red States” who revel in their religiosity, also happen to be the largest consumers of porn. Are you really going to tell me that they’ll let Mr. Santorum take away their dirty little secret?
Finally, how would you even go about doing away with porn? Are you going to start censoring the internet and blocking sites that you consider “morally reprehensible”? The only place I’ve ever visited where they’ve been even moderately successful with this approach is Saudi Arabia. I don’t exactly see that as a model for the US. Besides, you’re going to have about as much luck banning porn in the US as MLB has had in banning PEDs from baseball. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and as long as boys and ballplayers are around, there will always be a will to access porn and PEDs.
Luckily it’s not just Mr. Santorum who’s divorced from reality. In an effort to prove that he, too, is just a regular guy, Mitt Romney recently let us know that he loves sports just like us. In fact, he has “good friends” who own NASCAR and NFL teams. Now, I don’t know if Mr. Romney enjoys car racing or football but there’s a pretty major difference between enjoying sports and being friends with people who own the teams. If you can’t make that distinction, you probably ought to go back and audit Running for Office 101.
I realize that I’m being pretty hard on the Republicans here. But, since they’re the ones in the middle of a heated primary fight, they tend to also be the ones making the ridiculous statements. I’m sure Obama will come out with some of his own once the general election gets underway but for now, he can just sit back and let the other side say what they want. Sounds like a plan to me. Moonbases and porn and franchises, oh my!
Dear RSBS Linguistics Dept.,
How the hell do you pronounce Mike Stanton’s new name? Is it “Gee-an-carlo” or “Jon-carlo”? I’m going to keep pronouncing it “Mike”.
Fort Worth, TX
Being a nation of immigrants means that US phone books are full of many sometimes unusual names. Some of my favorites include Christian Okoye, the KC Chiefs’ Nigerian Nightmare; Juan Pierre, who can’t seem to decide if he’s French or Spanish; and, of course, Barack Obama. Unless you’re a modern-day Nativist, like the un-ironically Catholic Newt Gingrich, you realize that this inflow of names, traditions and cultures makes our country a more interesting place.
That makes me wonder how a guy like Stanton got tagged with the name “Mike” in the first place. He was drafted by the Marlins, a team based in south Florida where there is no shortage of hispanic first or last names, out of southern California where the same holds true. So how, in either of those environments, does a guy like Stanton get forced into assuming a name he has never used?
I find it even more interesting that I’m answering this question the day after St. Patrick’s Day as the Irish were undoubtedly one of the primary targets of mid-19th Century Nativism in the US. Part of it was poverty, part of it was religion. But all of it was xenophobic. 150 years later, not only are people with Irish last names found everywhere in the United States, we also dedicate a day to them each year on March 17th.
True, sometimes this influx of last names from all corners of the earth leads to problems. For instance, I’m not really sure how Keith Jackson would handle a name like Ndamukong Suh. But athletes, just like any other American, have the right to use and be called by their real name. Sure, it might get mispronounced from time to time but I think that if the tables were turned and it was any Tom, Dick or Harry arriving in another country, they’d still rather be called by their own name. Hell, sometimes it even works out in your favor. My last name often gets mispronounced as “Cruise,” which leads to getting asked if I’m related to Tom. I just smile, give a non-committal answer and let them keep pronouncing it however they want.
P.S. I’m pretty sure he’ll respond to either pronunciation. I’d just avoid using Mike.
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