Take for instance former Wisconsin Senator Joeseph McCarthy whose last name became synonymous with unfounded witch hunts. I have no doubt that Senator McCarthy cared very much about the United States and I also have no doubt that Communism was a very real threat in the 1950s. However, going around accusing Americans of being Communists with little or no proof turned out to be pretty bad for his career and should serve as an example of how Americans don’t act.
Except that 60 years later we appear to be living the same thing all over again. Much like McCarthy’s allegations of Communist spies in the State Department, the Armed Forces and in the Executive Branch, another representative of the Northwest Territory, Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann, launched spurious claims of Islamist infiltration of the State Department, the Armed Forces and the Executive Branch. And Bachmann’s claims appear to hold about as much water as those of McCarthy.
Now, this should go without saying but people in sensitive positions like that of Huma Abedin, Secretary Clinton’s deputy Chief-of-Staff, are subjected to rigorous background checks that can lead to disqualification because of excessive debt. Don’t you think that someone who’s delving that deep into your background might notice if you had been developing ties with groups like the Muslim Brotherhood? On top of that, although some Muslim Brotherhood affiliated groups are considered terrorist organizations by the US government, as a country we have reopened diplomatic ties with the group so why would it even matter if she did have ties?
Bachmann is no stranger to idiocy and this most recent story only shows what kind of a bullet we dodged when she finally dropped out of the Presidential race. But sadly, she still has a lot of supporters. Add in the fact that an uncomfortably high percentage of the US population still believes that our Evangelical Christian president is a secret Muslim and you can see where this is a problem.
The only positive development in this latest Bachmann debacle is that even people from her own party have finally had to start admitting that she’s out of control. And unlike McCarthy’s four years in the limelight, throwing around allegations like confetti, Bachmann was roundly scolded within a few days. But if there was ever any doubt, I think we can all safely admit now that the former Northwest Territories are still a special place with some very special people.
Michele Bachmann has been out of the Republican presidential race for quite a while now and, as a result, has seen whatever little relevancy she had go with it. But, like most batshit crazy people, it didn’t take her too long to figure out how to get her name out there again. The cynic in me says that is nothing but a publicity stunt but the idealist in me wants to believe that she really has no idea what she’s doing and is simply living life from moment to moment. I’m pretty sure the cynic in me is going to win that one. The thing most often overlooked in all that is that Bachmann is once again running for the seat she currently holds in the House and I’m guessing she’ll win it.
Meanwhile, a guy who made his name in the Senate by pushing the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction around the world will be departing Congress. Dick Lugar was one of the few moderate Republicans left in Congress and that did him no favors in the current partisan climate. His concession speech was a warning to the hyper-partisans on both sides of the aisle but will sadly go unheeded.
That’s the thing about these kinds of races, though. It’s a long-haul and you just never know what’s going to happen. Often, what does happen makes no sense at all. Should the Rays have made the playoffs last year instead of the Red Sox? Logically, no, especially if you look at the standings from the beginning of August. But a month later, things looked much different. Should Lugar be departing the Senate and should Bachmann be returning to the House? Logically, no, but logic doesn’t seem to have much staying power in these parts. I guess we might as well just sit back and enjoy it.
Continuing with the end-of-year holiday tradition here at RSBS, it’s time to separate myself from my imaginary girlfriend (NSFW) and ask the interns to lock my office door so I can get down to the meaty reflection of what was the RSBS year 2011. Additionally, I must begin the sad, fiery purge of Albert Pujols memorabilia. For those of you who went to public schools, you know that maintaining a fire within a small, confined room may cause ill-fated side effects, so before I start to look like Bert the chimney sweep, let me get to it…
First of all, no year would be a good year without you, the dear RSBS reader. THANK YOU, for your readership. THANK YOU for your emails, your tweets, your comments, Facebook shares and FingerTagging! And THANK YOU for continuing to make writing about the baseball-politico world a treat for us every single day.
Like my riveting and oft rousing colleague, Mr. Krause, I too have been very impressed with our special correspondents. For me, nothing says sweet Miggy-I-Love-You quite like Mark Piebenga’s His Game Is Like Waves. It presented Miguel Cabrera in a new light — that of teacher, and, considering how much Mark has taught me about what life should be about, I continue to find its lesson fitting (and helpful!).
And though I often refer to Mr. Johanna Mahmud as “the man who introduced me to the glories of the Deftones” and “the guy who schooled me on the NBA and proved why I should be madly in love with Derek Rose”, I still have room to refer to him as “the guy who writes Setting the Mahmud“! Dude puts the “tit” in titillating with every piece. The last article he wrote was inspiring, if only because he found a way to get a naked Yu Darvish, an ugly sweater wearing
Johnny Matt Damon and a crying Paula Deen all in one place; but, like Al, I have to admit that there’s real brilliance in his Theo-fied Arthurisms. Still, I’m a sucker for equating dead people to the performances of Adam Dunn and Miguel Tejada. Good work, good sir.
Meanwhile, no year-end applause would be complete without a nod to my longtime friend and confidant, Mr. Allen Krause. Known for his cynical twists on the political establishment and undying love of all things Detroit Tigers, it has been a pleasure to write on his wing. Sometimes he’s so “on” that he finds literary genius in imagery. Indeed, that endearing Krausian wit is often highlighted by rational thought. Sometimes it points out the un-fact-checked obvious, other times it gets serious, with a real call for responsibility. And, just in case you think Mr. Krause’s Libertarian-bashing makes him a soulless, automated Obamatron, this reflective piece will convince you otherwise.
But when it comes to knockin’ ’em outta the interwebs park, I have to kowtow to the RSBS Presents series. The brainchild of Mr. Krause, RSBS Presents has enlightened us on the finer points of fandom and how to stay classy while reminding us that, ultimately, positivity has upside during times of turmoil. But the best of them all was learning how to score a Republican. And here I thought it involved finding Jesus and quoting Alex P. Keaton.
Happy Christmas, Merry Hanukkah and long live King Kwanzaa!
It is my hope that, a year from now, the likes of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Arte Moreno’s checkbook exist merely as fuzzy postulations of the delusional masses — mere hiccups in the digestive tract of progress. Of course, I realize one of these three is never going to go away, so I have to do what I can to temper the sadness it has caused.
But sometimes things go away, never come back and leave us wondering… what if?
Slap bracelets? Hello?!?! Where have you gone, fine fashion accessory from my youth?
Meanwhile, let’s examine those forgotten baseballers of 2011 and determine if they should forget me, or forget me not.
Dude, seriously. 115 plate appearances in 2011 was 115 plate appearances too many. Known exclusively as an overpaid hot-head wife-beater who had ONE good season, there’s no reason for Milton to get another chance. If his outrageous childlike behavior and .212 BA over the last two seasons aren’t any indication that it’s time to forget this loser, maybe the fact that NO ONE LIKES HIM is.
FORGET ME NOT.
It’s difficult for me to believe that no one had any use for this scrappy go-get-em baseballer in 2011. How did the Padres — a 91 loss team! — not have any role for Eckstein last year? The dude does just about everything and he does it all right. He’s a leader, a teacher, a fighter. In my opinion, many teams could have used his services last season and I don’t see how that situation would change in 2012. Any team’s super utility role should be considered for the former World Series MVP.
Like Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Vanilla Ice, Manny being Manny has long lost its charm. The man is a cheater. A wife beater (notice the theme here?). A creep. He was caught (AGAIN) ‘roiding up and instead of acting like a man, ‘fessing up and handling his business with dignity, he ran away and hid from his fans, not saying a word. Now he wants back in. Not only that, but somehow he has snaked his way out of serving the 100 game ban deemed necessary for repeat ‘roid offenders and lucked out with only facing a 50 game suspension. Manny reeks of insidious ego. STAY AWAY PLEASE.
FORGET ME NOT.
Never thought I’d say this, but I feel sorry for the Mets. I really do. Just a game away from the World Series in 2006, who knew they would fail so hard in 2007, sign the biggest free agent pitcher on the market to a $137 million contract, fail even harder in 2008, then fall into baseball hell with more problems than the Congressional Reform Act? There was a time when Santana on the bump meant I had to watch that game. With all of his recent injuries, I doubt that will ever be possible again, but I still want to see the man pitch. And soon.
I’m still trying to figure out how Webb was able to land a $3 million contract last season after not having pitched AT ALL since 2008*. Indeed, he had a good run from ’06 t0 ’08, getting guys out with one of the nastiest sinkers I’ve ever seen, but when your rotator cuff no longer rotates, I think it’s time to stop chasing the glory that once was.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m blunt, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*Actually, Webb pitched 4 innings in 2009. He gave up 6 runs off 6 hits before his arm fell off and he disappeared from baseball relevancy; but in my opinion, that hardly counts as “pitching”.
Also, FORGET RSBS NOT and our awesome Oakley Blender sunglasses give-away, made possible by our friends at Crown Royal! If you would like to win these sweet shades, all you gotta do is send us a picture showing why you are RSBS’ biggest fan. Email it to us at RSBSblog@gmail.com. The winner will be announced this Saturday, December 24th.
Continuing a long-standing tradition here at this nearly four-year old blog, I wanted to take this opportunity to weigh in on both the MLB playoffs and the Republican primary race in a familiar format. I had a couple thoughts about how to approach this and I really wanted to go with the early front-runner, comparing the Republican candidates to different pizza chains. It kind of made sense with Herman Cain in the race and fittingly enough the Godfather’s Pizza of the race as well (i.e. what the hell is Godfather’s Pizza/Herman Cain). It also allowed for the Jon Huntsman-Chicago Pizza Kitchen analogy with both being the best possible option but too few people having heard of either.
C’est la vie.
The pizza analogy had to go away, though, because just as there are only four teams left in the playoffs, there are only four candidates with the possibility of becoming the Republican nominee and that lines up much more neatly.
On one side we have the two front-runners, the American League of the nominees. The Rangers play the role of Romney, denied their glory the last time out and hell-bent to make up for it this time around. They’re strong fundamentally but they just can’t seem to put it together. Sure, they shut down Rays in the first round but even though they look good, you just can’t be sure they’ll hold on through the end.
Meanwhile, the Tigers bear more than a passing resemblance to Rick Perry. They were quiet for the first half of the season but when they finally decided to get in the race, they did it with a bang. At one point, riding a 12-win streak, they seemed nearly invincible. The bang has gone away, though, and now they more just seem banged up with injuries taking a toll. They could both pull it out and they both have something to prove but the goal seems a little more elusive than it did just a few weeks ago.
Over on the National League side, we have the “non-traditional” candidates. For instance, the Cardinals, just like Herman Cain, came out of nowhere and now are turning heads. Tell me the truth, at the beginning of September would you have given either the Cards or Cain a snowball’s chance in hell? But here we are in mid-October and both are not only making waves but also making people think they’re for real.
The Brewers? Well, you just never know what you’re going to get with the Brewers. One day they’re Ron Paul, the next they’re Michele Bachmann, then they look like Newt Gingrich, and…..well, you get the idea. The Brewers have a serious multiple personality disorder. They looked fabulous against the Diamondbacks and then dropped two straight. They mopped up the field with the Cards in game 1 of the NLCS then looked like amateurs in game 2.
So where does that leave us? Well, here are my predictions. I think the Rangers and Romney roll the Tigers/Perry duo to face the Cards and Cain in a winner-take-all final. But the Republicans are the party of tradition and waiting your turn. They nominated McCain the last time around after he finished second to GB Jr. and this time it’s all about the man McCain vanquished. You read it here first. Romney gets the nod. Just make sure you check back in a year when the next edition of Allen’s Post-Partisan Playoff Preview picks the winners and losers in both the playoffs and the Presidential Election.
A pitch only becomes a wild pitch when a runner or runners move up a base. If there’s no one on or if no one advances, it’s simply a bad pitch. Basically, it only counts as wild when it causes damage. So that makes me wonder if the recent Republican hyjinks should be charged as wild pitches or if they’re just bad pitches.
Well, luckily RSBS is here to give you the official scorer’s decision. We decided to save you the time by having the interns take a look at the replay and let you know how you should mark it on your scorecard. Without any further ado, lets go to the tape.
Bachmann vs. Perry
This past week during the Tea Party debate Michele Bachmann followed up a solid shot against Rick Perry (or at least a shot that passes for solid in Tea Party circles) regarding his attempt to mandate HPV vaccines with a complete misfire. Now, in addition to offering further proof that she has no idea what she’s talking about, she has drawn the ire of medical professionals, a group that tends to be pretty well respected even in the science-rejecting circles where Ms. Bachmann runs.
Scorers Decision: Wild pitch followed by an error when Ms. Bachmann launched the ball into the outfield. If it wasn’t for the entertainment factor we’d ask if someone could please just pull her from the game already.
Pat Robertson vs. Common Decency
Republicans, especially the religious ones, like to go on and on about the “sanctity of marriage.” No gay marriage because that’s against the “sanctity of marriage.” 50 years ago the same groups were harping on interracial unions because of the “sanctity of marriage.” Must be a pretty sacred thing for them to get so worked up about so many topics for so long. Unless it gets in the way of their own enjoyment and could trigger their sense of guilt, that is. “Sanctity” and the whole “til death do us part” thing doesn’t count, at least not according to Pat Robertson, when your partner has Alzheimer’s. In fact, Pat says you can go ahead and divorce them and Jesus won’t care. How much you want to bet Mrs. Robertson has some form of dementia and Pat has his eye on some cute young thing?
Scorer’s Decision: Wild pitch. Also, Pat Robertson is a dick.
Curt Schilling vs. Food
For everybody’s favorite former pitcher/Republican shill, there’s no commentary necessary. For this, we go straight to the video.
Scorer’s Decision: No wild pitch. However, it’s pretty clear that Curt Schilling ate at least half of Randy Johnson. Either that or Randy spent his summer vacation in Somalia while Curt was working in a Twinkie factory.
I know we spend an inordinate amount of time discussing Michele Bachmann. The problem is, she’s everywhere and she’s frightening. Some of her statements can be excused as mere pandering to the base and that’s understandable. Some of them may be sincerely held beliefs. But some of them betray a fundamental lack of understanding of economics, policy and the world.
For instance, this past week Bachmann promised a crowd that during her presidency, she would ensure the return of $2 gas. Now, leaving aside the fact that $2 gas is no longer possible without a sustained subsidy regime that would add to the national debt, what is even more frightening is her obvious inability to understand how global commodity markets work and how important world partners determine pricing. Maybe this isn’t important to the base but it is important if you want to be President of the United States. Let me try to explain through an analogy.
This would be like me promising that if you elect me baseball commissioner, I will bring back $3 beers at the ballpark. Sure, you’ll love me for it and you’ll cheer because who really wants to pay $7 or $8 for a small cup of crappy beer. You’ll also quickly realize that my promise is impossible to keep.
See, the first problem is that as commissioner, I don’t have the ability to set prices at independent ballparks. I could ask the owners nicely if they would be willing to do it. I could even threaten to levy huge fines against them if they don’t. But, they have to cover the costs and as commissioner, I don’t have the power to set their prices.
Now, my second option would be to try to uncover stores of previously untapped beer being hoarded at the ballpark in an effort to increase the supply and drive the price down. However, the unit price is set by an external force, the big corporate brewer, and I have no control over them. If the cost to the brewer to produce the beer is $2 a beer and he then sells the product to the park at $3 a beer, the park has to then mark it up in order to pay the salaries of the person selling the beer, take care of upkeep for the concession stand and even put a little money back into the park.
Granted, beer is not a commodity like oil but gasoline, which we’re actually talking about here, is a refined form of a commodity much like beer is a refined form of commodities like wheat and hops. The same rules work on both and economics governs all.
Ultimately, Bachmann’s promise is all the more ironic because the only way to return to $2 gas is for some pretty heavy-handed government intervention. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that what the Tea Party is supposedly dead set against? Logically, it makes no sense. However, when you consider her education and her inspiration, it’s pretty obvious that logic isn’t necessarily a strong suit.