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.
RSBS Special Correspondent and Podcast miscreant, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:
Quips a la Johanna
You can follow Johanna’s tweets *HERE*
And no, silly, this has nothing to do with Estonia joining the Eurozone, though I do admit, that Eurozone has a lot more going for it than just a snazzy name now that Estonia is in the mix! Look out European Union, ‘cuz y’all haven’t seen oil shale til you’ve seen Estonia!
No, what I actually want to tell you about is something I am still rather reluctant to report: I’ve… I’ve been watching… basketball.
I know, I know, I know… I gave up on basketball back before Charles Barkley ate Jabba the Hutt and I never, EVER, had any regrets. It’s an individual sport. A natural obsession for those with ADHD. An abomination of the thinking man’s game.
Yes, I still believe all of the above is true… but, it was a long, arduous baseball offseason for me and I got antsy and I was just begging for something — anything! — to get me to Spring Training and that’s when I saw…
I saw something… something special… something… MAGICAL.
His name is Derrick Rose.
Now I’m not going to go all John Kerry and flip-flop on y’all… but I am going to admit that I am willing to work with this here NBA thing a little bit longer. Because while the Kobe Bryants and LeBron James and Chris Boshes of the world may leave a sour taste in the mouth of public opinion, Derrick Rose is not just a budding superstar beginning to dominate the entire league, but he is also (as far as I can tell) a genuinely nice guy.
People like him. He’s cool. He’s just a kid having fun.
And I was at a game earlier this season where he did this:
I saw that and I just knew. I just knew, this kid is gonna kill the competition. And if you haven’t been paying attention to the NBA this year (again, I don’t blame if you haven’t), he is doing just that. In fact, I liken his domination to that of Albert Pujols: when I watch him play, I feel like I am watching one of the greatest who ever lived.
Soon, real baseball games will begin and my full attention will be focused on the boys of summer; but I can honestly say, for the first time since the Clinton administration, I will definitely be checking in on the Bulls’ playoff progress.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
PS, If you want to see three minutes and forty-four seconds more of Derrick Rose magic, check out this vid!
Um… okay. So this is what happens when Brendan Ryan becomes better known for a poorly marketed pornstache than his actual comeuppance as an everyday St. Louis Cardinals shortstop. Oh, wait. No comeuppance? He sucks? My bad.
Which is sorta why I haven’t really said much this offseason about my dearly beloved Redbirds. What’ s there to say? Jake Westbrook signed? Okay. Cool. We traded Blake Hawksworth for Ryan Theriot? M’kay… nice. I guess. Can we guarantee that Skip Schumaker won’t take another step backwards? How about facing the fact that closer Ryan Franklin really ain’t cut out to be a closer? And then…???
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I still haven’t really gotten over the crapfest that was the second half of the 2010 season. No one likes a sore loser, but goddamn it if I ain’t still sore as hell! Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter… YADIER MOLINA.
Friends, Romans, Cubs fans… those names command a division title.
And that’s what I want. At the very least, we ought to be slaying the Reds, the Cubs and whatever other foe floats carelessly towards the top.
Does Ryan Theriot magically make that happen? Uh… no. In fact, as a hitter, Baseball Reference has Theriot matched up with the likes of Aaron Miles, Jason Bartlett and former St. Louis Brown, Ernie Johnson. And while Bartlett had one good year, let’s not get too excited over these comparisons; ‘cuz frankly, there’s little that breeds excitement.
Yes, maybe Theriot will solve the leadoff problem that has crippled the Cardinals in recent years. Then again, he probably won’t. He’s gotta beat out Brendo and Skippy for a job first, which for us anticipating fans, is sorta like having to vote from a pool of John Kerry, George W. Bush and a bowl of potato salad.
Which one is the bowl of potato salad? I’ll leave that up to you.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m still bitter, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Or how about back in 2004, when all the Democratic party had to do was put a solid candidate on the podium in order to beat the impish incumbent, Dubya, and they gave us John Kerry, who flip-flopped and stuttered his way to crapdom?
Well, maybe the lesser fits winning over favorites is a Texas thang… in which case, I wouldn’t mind seeing it go away.
Because an 18 to 4 shellacking from Houston (just one of seven losses — and counting — at the hands of the otherwise laughable LOLstros in 2010) is just too much for a playoff-contending team to take… especially for its fans.
My ears are already full of sand… so I’m hiding elsewhere until the pain, the torture, the embarrassment ends…
No. I’m not telling you where I am. It hurts too much.
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
You guys talk a lot about baseball and politics. What do you think
will happen first, national health care or the Pirates having a winning
Eureka! This is proof that dear readers galore are finally playing to our strengths here at RSBS, so even if your baseball team (or your government) does fail you, know that RSBS will always have your back (unless we’re busy doing something else, of course). I, personally, love taking below-the-belt hacks at the lowly likes of Pittsburgh’s not-so-finest, so I am delighted that our friend Beth here from Allentown, PA was willing to groove one right down the middle, in my proverbial wheelhouse.
Because this one is almost too easy:
We, the people of US America, will most certainly have a nationwide public option health care system set up before we ever see the Pittsburgh Pirates finish a season with a winning record.
Sorry, folks, but it’s just true.
Have you been paying attention to what the Bucs have been doing the last ten years?
No, of course not. Why would you?
I assure you, dear readers, no other team relishes in arbitrary head scratching more than the Pittsburgh Pirates — a team caught in the perennial chaos of “rebuilding” — a rebuilding that is always abandoned before any plus remnants of said rebuilding can be seen, only to be followed up with more rebuilding in moves that still don’t make sense.
Here is but a shortlist of brain-busting Bucco moves from recent memory:
- Signing Akinori Iwamura
- Dumping Nate McClouth (they did get McCutchen up quick because of this deal, but look for them to screw this up too)
- The Aramis Ramirez & Kenny Lofton for Bobby Hill, Jose Hernandez and Matt Bruback trade
- Drafting Bryan Bullington and passing on Prince Fielder, BJ Upton and Scott Kazmir
- Signing Derek Bell
- Paying Jason Kendall $10 million a year for SIX YEARS!
- Signing Raul Mondesi
- Drafting John Van Benschoten over David Wright
- Cutting Bronson Arroyo
- Picking up Matt Morris’ contract (worth $13 million)
This is just an abbreviated list; the full record of crimes against baseball committed by the Pirates’ front office are too many to present here. But I can tell you this: it will take an awful long time before such atrocities are remedied with the results of a winning season. I have no doubt about that.
But what about national health care, you ask? House Leader Nancy Pelosi says lawmakers are on the “verge of making history” with the strong possibility of a public option becoming a reality… very soon. Of course, they don’t say when, or how, considering the staunch stance of Republicans and soft Democrats blocking the way. So what are we supposed to make of this?
Look, I admit, the Democratic party has certainly had its share of Pittsburgh Pirate-like moments over the years. How else can one explain the incompetence of John Kerry and the loss of Ted Kennedy’s senate seat? But that doesn’t mean all hope is gone. Behind this political push to join the rest of civilized nations we do have a clear and just motive:
To stop penalizing people for getting sick.
As long as this continues to happen, I have a hard time believing in my country. This was my main concern when I went to the polls in 2008. The Obama Administration — while obviously not gifted with super powers like election propaganda may have led us to believe — has tackled this issue and tackled it hard.
And it can only get better from here… I think.
So hate me ‘cuz I still tout liberal ideals, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right about the Pirates continuing to suck.
(Image courtesy of Rum Bunter)
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After spending the last three days in Brussels, it isn’t a stretch to say I have waffles on the brain. Frites and moules, too, of course, but mainly waffles. I mean, if you can’t get a good waffle in Belgium, where can you find one?
Well, after further consideration of that question, there are two answers that pop into my head. Major League Baseball and American politics. Let’s start with politics.
Of course we all remember the 2004 election and John Kerry’s famous non-answers that led to his being described as a waffler. I’m no fan of George Bush but right or wrong or just plain misguided, at least the guy could give you an answer. Kerry was so far inside his own head he practically turned inside out.
And even more recently, Joe Lieberman seems to have taken up the mantle with his seeming indecision on the necessity of a “public option” in the health care bill. Despite proposing a de facto public option in the past, he said he couldn’t vote for the bill this time around with the plan in it. Of course he attempted to parse his words in true Clintonian fashion but at the end of the day we all saw him for what he was. A waffler.
Those two guys don’t have anything on Bud Selig, though. He has been getting away with murder on his watch. Like a modern-day Nero, he’s fiddling (or waffling) as MLB is burning. The whole PED debate? It never should have been a debate. If MLB under Selig’s not-so-watchful eye had simply instituted a testing program similar to what other pro sports were doing, there’s no way that guys like Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa would have ever gotten away with their shenanigans. And more than that, we wouldn’t have to argue about the inclusion of asterisks in the record book.
Here’s what it all comes down to. Waffles may be delicious, especially when topped with whipped cream, strawberries and hot chocolate sauce, but they aren’t so great when they affect our lives and the things we care about. I’m pretty sure even a Belgian could agree to that.