Readers who are well familiar with Washington Post columnist George Will know that he is also a baseball fan. Not a giddy, “don’t you love the smell of a glove well-conditioned with linseed oil?” kind of way, or a “Dad, do you want to play catch?” way. George Will is a fan of baseball in a serious, no-nonsense, highly complex, analytical sort of way.
Yes, baseball fans tend to be more obsessed with statistics than other kinds of sports fans, but most baseball fans haven’t written a book about that boys’ game titled Men at Work.
Only recently has it occurred to me the extent to which Mr. Will has taken to writing about politics as though it were baseball. Witness this passage from his column on today’s op-ed page:
In 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush carried North Dakota with 60.7 percent and 62.9 percent of the vote. A Democratic presidential candidate has not carried the state since 1964. Bush carried South Dakota with 60.3 and 59.9. It has not voted Democratic in a presidential election since 1964. Bush carried Missouri with 50.4 and 53.3. This bellwether state has voted with the winner in every election but one (1956) in the last 100 years. Bush carried Nebraska with 62.2 and 65.9. It last voted Democratic in 1964. Bush carried Colorado with 50.8 and 51.7. It last voted Democratic in 1992. Bush carried Arizona with 51 and 54.9. It last voted Democratic in 1996. Bush carried Virginia with 52.5 and 53.7. It last voted Democratic in 1964. Bush narrowly lost Wisconsin with 47.6 and 49.3.
Sure, but how did Bush do against left-handers in post-season night games?
Perhaps Mr. Will hopes through such observations to impose a stately orderliness upon our politics, causing elections to seem as calmly rational as the game we used to call the national pastime. If only it could be so.