Baseball and Politics: Game On

Wow. I had an exciting time last night. I was flipping between Dancing With The Stars and the Giants-Rangers game so quickly that my fingertips almost caught on fire.  And I even managed to stay awake until the end of the show and the game.

Hope I have the same success tonight as the TV talking heads opine on the results of the midterm elections.

Didn’t baseball season years ago end before the elections in November? I digress.

And I guess now that baseball season is over — the race for the White House in 2012 is about to begin. Game on.

It will be interesting to see what happens tonight and in the weeks to come as it appears from just about every poll and Inside the Beltway commentator that the Republicans will gain control of the House and pick up seats in the Senate.

Why? How did that happen? Damn if I know. And I doubt if many others do as well. Two years ago I couldn’t wait until W got in the moving van and drove it into the sunset. Two weeks ago I voted — mostly for Republican candidates.

Hey, it’s the economy, stupid. And I also think it is a reaction to the elitism that you see among elected officials in Washington and elsewhere and among the mainstream media in the power alleys of DC and New York. And I say that recognizing that I rank right up there with the best of the elitists and the pseudo-intellectuals.

Anyway, for a more informed view of what has changed during the past two years in terms of voting and politics, consider the NYT Op-Ed by Ross Douthat, “How We Got Here.” Here’s an excerpt:

But since Barack Obama took the oath of office, the country’s leftward momentum has reversed itself. In some cases, nearly 20 years of liberal gains have been erased in 20 months. Americans are more likely to self-identify as conservative than at any point since Bill Clinton’s first term. They’ve become more skeptical of government and more anxious about deficits and taxes. They’re more inclined to identify as pro-life and anti-gun control, more doubtful about global warming, more hostile to regulation. And, not surprisingly, they’re more likely to consider voting Republican on Tuesday.

So what happened to the brave new liberal era? Well, a few things. The Wall Street bailout made big government seem like a corrupt racket. The unemployment rate made activist government appear helpless in a crisis. The yawning deficits made a free-spending government look like a luxury the country might not be able to afford.

These were all difficulties that Obama inherited, in one sense or another. But the Democrats swiftly created further problems for themselves. The central premise of the White House’s policy-making, the assumption that an economic crisis is a terrible thing to waste (as Rahm Emanuel famously put it), turned out to be a grave tactical mistake. It drew exactly the wrong lesson from earlier liberal eras, when the most enduring expansions of government — Social Security in the 1930s, Medicare in the 1960s — were achieved amid strong economic growth, rather than at the bottom of a recession.

The Obama Democrats, by contrast, tried to push through health care reform and climate legislation with the unemployment rate stuck at a 28-year high. On health care, they won a costly victory. On cap-and-trade, they forced vulnerable congressmen to cast a controversial vote, and came away with nothing to show for it. In both cases, they reaped a backlash, while defining themselves as ideological and intensely out-of-touch.

I’m not sure how I label myself these days. Maybe Conservative Democrat. Maybe Liberal Republican. Maybe Independent.

So from that perspective it will be interesting to see the race for the White House unfold in the coming weeks and months. And yes I believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. If she runs, then I’ll decide whether to vote for her. But it strikes me that she has the qualifications: She comes off well on TV, she energizes crowds and voters, and she has strong opinions on issues that matter to many, many people in this country.

But no. She isn’t an intellectual.

Maybe that’s the point.

Game on.



4 responses to “Baseball and Politics: Game On

  1. Excellent, as always, Rob. Liberal Republican, Conservative Democrat…I think you could coin a new phrase for this and many would adopt it!

    • Kait,

      Thanks. I believe many — maybe most — do identify with those labels these days. It will be interesting to see what happens following the midterm elections and in the days and months ahead.

  2. Hi Rob,
    Interesting article from the New York Times. I don’t think I would agree that Social Security was “achieved amid strong economic growth” but both pieces of legislation were passed with strong Republican backing AND the support of the general electorate.
    What Obama and the current group of progressives failed to realize was his arrogance…ie telling republicans they “could come along for the ride but they will have to sit in the back of the bus” and ramming one 2000 page bill after another up our *** when clearly the majority of the people did not support them.
    He governed against the will of the people and it may be a long time before the democrats/liberals/progressives hold the speakers gavel again

    • The only way we are going to achieve an reform — whether it is Social Security, health care, or whatever — is for both Democratic and Republican legislators to agree and then stick their necks out. Not sure how realistic that is. But for one party or the other to try to ram its agenda done the throats of the American public these days clearly doesn’t work. Country is too evenly split.

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