Early in the baseball season, it’s hard to separate the contenders and the pretenders. Kansas City regularly sits somewhere near the top of the AL Central after the first couple weeks and sometimes even holds on through the first couple months. Last year even the lowly Pirates looked decent for the first month or two. Unfortunately for both teams, it’s a lot better to be in first place at the end of the season then at the beginning.
It’s not all the much different in the political world. It’s pretty safe to assume that Obama will get the Democratic nod heading into the next Presidential election but the Republican field is wide open. A prime example is Donald Trump’s “candidacy.” This is a man who’s really only famous for being famous and who, despite his reality TV shows and real estate empire, still managed to go bankrupt. Yet somehow he and a decent number of Republicans think he can steer the country through it’s current financial straits. Let’s see what Donald actually looks like on the trail:
He may be on to something. I’m sure the Gettysburg Address would have been much more memorable if Lincoln could have dropped a couple F-bombs in there.
Granted, there are also serious contenders. Like him or not, Mitt Romney has the pedigree and the record to make a serious run. Jon Hunstman looks a lot like the 2010 Giants or Rangers and everybody loves a dark horse. When you figure in the Tea Party contingent and their sway in the primaries, there’s just no telling where the race will end up.
What is apparent at this point, though, is that with the economy apparently picking up jobs and OBL slowly disintegrating in the Indian Ocean, Obama is enjoying a momentary upswing. If the economy continues to pick up, he might end up like the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, an inevitability if there ever was one. After all, let’s face it. The man is as cool as the day is long. This performance at the Press Corps Dinner took place hours after he made the decision to take down Bin Laden and hours before the raid happened:
Admit it, if you were in the same position you would have been sitting in an empty room, rocking back and forth and staring at a blank wall.
It’s still early in the season. There’s a lot of ball to be played. But despite all the speculation and analysis, no one has any idea what’s going to happen. Don’t worry, though. You keep coming back this way and we’ll make sure you stay up to date.
The only thing worse than supporting a team that loses all the time is supporting a team that doesn’t even put up a fight. I’m fairly open about the fact that I’m a Lions fan and as anyone who watches football knows, that’s a painful cross to bear. But a couple years ago, when they set a modern record for futility in losing every single game, they at least put up a fight. The seasons where they went 2-14 and, despite winning a couple games, it was obvious they just didn’t care, that was much worse. Honestly, I’ll take 0-16 over that any day.
This is why it’s also frustrating to follow US politics. It’s not so much seeing the democrats flounder away the high ground in all this budget mess or even seeing the republicans bully their way back into control of the House. It’s the absolute lack of fight in the democrats. Sure, there’s some occasional posturing but even that only serves to remind me of this:
I’m sure there are multiple reasons for this. Ok, not so much for the Pakistani boxer but for the democrats inability to stand up for themselves. According to one study, democrats systemically favor compromise. Honestly, that’s all right. That’s how government happens. But there’s a difference between compromising to keep the government running and compromising your basic principles.
Last year democrats finally showed some cojones when they jammed through the health care overhaul. They looked for compromise, they worked with their republican colleagues to come up with something that both sides could appreciate but at the end of the day, they finally made a stand. For that we can thank Obama.
And that’s the one thing that gives me hope in the current mess. Sure, the democrats lost control of the House. Yes, the republicans claim that they won’t stop pushing until health care is repealed and the US becomes some sort of Ayn Rand themed fantasy-land. But like the health care debate, democrats only seem to find their backbone when Obama enters the fracas. If recent microphone “slips” can be believed, it looks like the president might getting ready to once again ride that snake.
You know, I could deal with the Lions going 0-16. At the end of the day, football isn’t life and death. I don’t accept the democrats going 0-16 or even 2-14, though. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that Obama gets his colleagues to realize it’s time to win one for the Gipper.
I’ll be the first to admit that we point a lot of fingers over here without always recognizing people who are doing a good job. For instance, Bud Selig, although old, ugly and responsible for some of the worst excesses in the game of baseball’s long history, has also helped several teams secure the funding they needed to build new stadiums and has so far managed to avoid contraction.
The same thing goes for the government. It’s easy to focus on the guys who show up on MSNBC and Fox News to spout whatever partisan talking points have been approved for the day but we tend to hear a lot less about the guys who stand up and give it to us straight or who quietly support something they believe in personally even if it doesn’t necessarily follow the party line. So here’s a few guys with whom I generally disagree but who deserve some respect anyway.
This one is pretty easy because Gates has actually been a very effective and post-partisan Secretary of Defense. However, he recently brought it to another level as he took Congress to task for wasteful defense spending and then spoke his mind in front of the graduating class at West Point. Gates is on his way out so it’s a little easier for him to call it like he sees it but it’s still something worth mentioning.
Alito is a conservative’s conservative. Even when he does something I agree with, it’s usually for a completely different reason than why I would have done it. However, when he voiced the sole dissent with the Court’s opinion in the Westboro Baptist Church case, you had to feel a little twinge of pride. Sure, I don’t agree with his legal reasoning and the court made the right decision in light of the First Amendment. However, Alito expressed what pretty much all the rest of us were thinking when he wrote “In order to have a society in which public issues can be openly and
vigorously debated, it is not necessary to allow the brutalization of
innocent victims like petitioner. I therefore respectfully dissent.” I respectfully concur.
Yep, he made the list, too. And honestly, generally Dick is a dick. But like any parent, when you mess with his kids, you wake up a giant. You don’t want to do that, especially when it’s a giant who shot his own friend in the face with a shotgun. So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise to find out that Dick does not toe the party line when it comes to gay marriage, especially since one of his daughters is gay. Cheney even famously parted ways from his Commander in Chief when it came to the issue of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Hey, maybe he’s not such a dick after all.
Being a Senator means that sometimes you get to be above the fray. In general, it’s a contemplative body that acts as a check on the hot-headedness of the House. So in an era when disentangling the US from any sort of foreign involvement has become the mantra of the Right, it’s nice to see a Senator from the Right stand up and say that what we need is a more robust and intelligent foreign involvement. You tell ’em, Lindsey.
Sure, Graham and Gates tend toward the more moderate positions so maybe this isn’t all that bold of a list. But I still think it’s important to give credit where it’s due. More than that, it’s nice to see some politicians show some balls. Too bad the Democrats can’t do it from time to time.
It’s rare but sometimes two sides that can’t seem to agree on anything actually get it right. Obviously I’m not talking politics here. And based on most of the news I read, I’m not talking about the NFL either. It turns out that maybe MLB has learned its lesson and gotten down to the dirty business of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement well in advance of its due date. If things go as planned, there will be no rehashing of the 1994 stoppage that almost killed the game. Sure, there are sticking points but both the players and the owners are attempting to get out front of the differences before they shut things down.
It’s too bad we can’t say the same thing of the government. Instead of making tough decisions on real problems, we get grandstanding and gridlock. Look, I’m no professional political analyst but I can tell you that the Obama healthcare plan isn’t going away. So, instead of trying to score political points through a repeal vote that will lead nowhere, let’s figure out how to make it more workable and then figure out how to pay for it.
Same thing goes for Wall Street. Yes, I understand that you’re angry with all those “fat-cats” and their fat bonuses but the simple fact of the matter is that America doesn’t work without Wall Street. You wouldn’t have that fancy PS3 or the computer (or smartphone or iPad or…..) where you’re reading this blog either if it wasn’t for Wall Street and the American financial model. More than that, until Wall Street gets healthy, your unemployed @$$ won’t be getting a job.
Here’s the deal. Just like the ’94 MLB strike took baseball to its nadir, the government shutdown the following year brought American faith in the Congress to one of its lowest points. Democrats don’t want to see that happen again and the Republicans in control of the House can ill afford it since they’re the ones who will ultimately take the blame.
Both sides know they have a lot to lose and hopefully this will make them realize they have to work together. Hey, if the MLB players and owners can finally wrap their heads around that idea, there must be hope for the politicians as well. And if not, well, there’s always Abe Lincoln on a mother-f****n’ grizzly bear.
*Image courtesy of Sharpwriter