And so in this Podcast…
Jeff, Al & that rock-n-rollin-Cub-lovin’ sage Johanna Mahmud take on all things ‘Merica, including (but not limited to) Rinku and Dinesh, Carlos Zambrano, The Hills (seriously? that happened?), the All-Star Game, the Lou
Piniella Mailbag and much,
much more… all to make you laughy-laughy!
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Recorded Monday, July 5, 2010
I had the opportunity today to read through President Obama’s address at the Nobel ceremony. Imagining the words being spoken in his particularly cool baritone, I enjoyed the ebb and flow of the sentences as they entwined themselves together, growing into ever larger and more noble thoughts. And then I stopped cold. It hit me square between the eyes. Barack Obama is to politics what the New York Yankees are to baseball.
See, with the Yankees it’s not so much that they spend billions of dollars to buy the best players. It’s that they take the best players away from rival teams so they can’t be hurt by them. CC Sabathia has their number as a member of the Indians staff. So, give him a year in the NL and then snap him up. Problem solved. Curtis Granderson was part of the Tigers squad that knocked the Yankees out in the first round of the 2006 playoffs. Bring him on board, stick him in center field and he won’t be knocking you out again. The list goes on and on, all the way back to Babe Ruth himself.
So how is this like the President? Simple. Look at the speech. At a time when Republicans sense blood in the water and start to churn in anticipation of the kill, he co-opts one of their key arguments and makes it his own. How bold was this move? Well, consider that this was the ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize and then consider that he said this:
To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism
— it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the
limits of reason.
That’s more than bold. That’s straight up brass cojones.
Don’t take this argument the wrong way. I still have no love for the Yankees. But I can appreciate them for the same reason I can appreciate the President. Because they’re stone-cold killers. And that’s saying something when you’ve just accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.
Strange things happen in October. I could probably go so far as to say that strange things are normal for October. Anything can happen. Chris Duncan can turn into an evil spirit and invade other people’s bodies. The Angels can jump all over the Red Sox. And the still new President of the United States can win the Nobel Peace Prize before having done, well, anything.
But it’s not as though events like President Obama’s stunning win are without precedent. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the preseason 2008 Detroit Tigers. Many people, including myself, looked at that lineup and had them penciled in for the AL World Series slot. But, come October, the Tigers were sitting very pretty in last place.
I don’t mean to say that Mr. Obama will fail like the Tigers did but it’s a lot of pressure. It’s kind of like the Nobel committee said, “Hey, Obama. We’re going to give you this prize so that you can go out and achieve something. Now, prove us right.” That’s a tall order to fill in a country who’s political process runs at a snails pace during the best of times.
Look, I don’t understand why this happened just like I don’t understand how the Tigers were so awful last year or how they managed to lose the division on the last day of the season this year. But if it gives the president the political capital to pull off some stunning successes with respect to health care and US foreign policy, we’ll all be able to sit back and admit that the Nobel committee is a modern Delphic oracle. If not, well, we’ll just say they’re a lot like me circa February 2008.