Politics as baseball

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.

17 thoughts on “Politics as baseball

  1. bud

    Here’s the exact quote from Mike Huckabee on his desire to amend the constitution:
    “[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it’s a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that’s what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards,”
    Huckabee said these words in a recent debate in Michigan. Although reported to some extent by the media it apparently didn’t rise to the level of importance of the false racial controversy between Hillary and Barack. Yet this is far more important since it goes to the very heart of what we have believed as a nation for the past 232 years. America is a nation of laws crafted by men and women of diverse backgrounds. Religious tests should not be a part of that deliberation. It is time someone called Mike Huckabee out for the overly pious individual that he is. His brand of governing would have us all worshiping his god whether we like it or not. Isn’t that what we fear the most from the extremists in the Middle-east?

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  2. Phillip

    If there’s baseball, or any sports, then there should be wagering: anybody know what’s the over-under on the gap between the winner and the fourth-place finisher Saturday? If it’s 10 percentage points, take the under. I’m lookin’ at 25-23-17-16 kind of finish, take your pick huck or mac first 2, take your pick mitt or fred second pair.

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  3. bud

    Nice column today about John McCain. I believe he did serve his nation honorably. My only question Brad, did you come to John Kerry’s defense when HE was obviously being slandered in the same way? If so, I applaud you. If not there is a significant pattern starting to develop. I’ll elaborate more later.

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  4. Rodney Whitehead

    I don’t think we should have people with morals or strong religious beliefs in the White House. Huckabee should be disqualified immediately for once being a preacher. It doesn’t matter if he moved mountains in Arkansas, I prefer to have a swarmy personal injury trial lawyer, an actor or a lady whose husband received sexual favors from an intern in the Oval Office.

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  5. Phillip

    Nice try at sarcasm, Rodney, but what fault is it of “a lady” if her husband misbehaves with an intern in the office?
    Also, is a “swarmy” trial lawyer one who moves around the courtroom a lot, trying to cover a wide area like a “swarm” of bees?

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  6. Rodney Whitehead

    “….but what fault is it of “a lady” if her husband misbehaves with an intern in the office?”
    If she can’t manage her marriage (documented infidelity over a 20 year period) who’s to think she can manage the U.S.? But, maybe sustained infidelity is the type of family values that South Carolina is in favor of. I was certainly emotionally moved by soft porn/Rapper billionaire pimp Bob Johnson endorsing this lady.
    “….Also, is a “swarmy” trial lawyer one who moves around the courtroom a lot, trying to cover a wide area like a “swarm” of bees?”
    A “swarmy” personal injury lawyer is one who can serve in the United States Senate for six years and only manage to pass two bills: both to rename post offices in North Carolina. Gives me lots of confidence that he can immediately “change” things and hit the ground running.
    The great thing about Ms. Clinton is that she was mysteriously able to go from a small net worth as a poor Little Rock lawyer to a net worth today of an estimated $50 million. Politics does pay it seems.

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  7. bud

    Rodney, I know you’re trying to make a point with a bit of sarcasm. Nothing wrong with that, but a few facts are in order. No one is condemning Mike Huckabee for his beliefs or his Baptist ministry. What bothers me are his statements regarding how he will govern. He has openly admitted that he does not believe in evolution. And just recently he suggested amending the constitution to conform to the Christian bible. These 2 public acknowelgements strongly point to a man who will try to transform the U.S. into a theocracy. This will essentially transform non-Christians into second class citizens.
    I happen to believe that the United States government should stricly avoid intertwining itself with a specific religious doctraine. We are a much stronger, freer and better nation when everyone is allowed the freedom to practice, or not practice, their religion as they see fit. Huckabee’s overt pious statements call his ability to do that into quetion and frankly that alone disqualifies him from my consideration regardless of his views on the issues.

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  8. Rodney Whitehead

    Bud, I believe Gov. Huckabee was referring to a “right to life” amendment not governing and cramming religion down your throat. I respect your views, but your fear is unfounded by 10 years of successful governing in Arkansas. Roads got fixed. Education was improved much more than when Clinton was governor. His approval ratings in Arkansas were (and are now) very strong. He is not a zealot, although you may feel that he is. I personally am more fearful of:
    *The Clinton Establishment and Morals.
    *Personal Injury Lawyers who proved to be “seat warmers” in the Senate (he could not win dogcatcher in NC).
    *Actors with no real record of achievement attacking others who achieved success.
    *”Face Guy” Establishment candidates who pander the way Romney pandered in Michigan.
    Government has been broken under the Bush and Clinton administrations. Can’t we have someone with a genuine desire to fix what’s broken? Can’t we have somebody who has morals and common sense leadership?

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  9. weldon VII

    Baseball games have cheers, don’t they?
    Attaboy, Rodney! Knock that Democrat outta the box! Put one in the parking lot.
    Yes, Brad, politics is a lot like baseball. Highest total wins.

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  10. bud

    How was government broken during the Clinton years? We had 8 years of a growing, healthy economy with unemployment dropping to 3.7% at one time. The budget deficit was completely eliminated and a modest surplus achieved. Very few troops died in overseas combat (the fewest in fact, since before WW II). Crime rates plummeted. America was respected throughout the world. Social Security was healthy. Gas prices were below $2/gallon.
    No, the government and America were better than ever during the Clinton years. It was only during the last 7 years of the Bush debacle that things turned drastically in the wrong direction. We are now faced with the second Bush recession. Oil prices are soaring hitting $100/barrel at one point, gasoline is above $3/gallon. This is reflected in the highest rate of inflation in 17 years. The number of people below the poverty level is at a record level. The number of uninsured tops 40 million. In 2007 a record number of Americans died in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Violent crime rates are edging up, as is unemployment which increased a stunning 0.3% in December (to 5.0%). The U.S. is now perceived as an international bully. Life expectancy for Americans continues to lag behind other nations.
    Yes Rodney our government is broken. That’s why we need Hillary Clinton to restore order. All of the GOP candidates are highly flawed and are likely to continue with the failed policies of the Bush years. That is why I strongly support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

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  11. rodney whitehead

    Bud,
    Name one major thing that Clinton accomplished that had lasting impact. In my opinion, he weakened the stature of the office by the huge number of claims by women that he either harassed them or had sex with them. Presidents can do very little to improve an economy, but they can do a lot to kill an economy. Clinton’s raising taxes is crediting with damaging an economy that was on the downswing as we was leaving office. I am originally from Arkansas and am very familiar with the Clintons. I know them to pander to the weak, vunerable and minority, run over people for their own gain and leave a wake that is demonstratably worse than they found it. The fact that Hillary’s husband was more preoccupied with Monica’s sexual favors than finding Bin Laden should tell us something about his character. I’m still scratching my head about Hillary’s 35 years of service???? Lawyer, Arkansas first lady, America’s first lady, author and NY Senator. She escaped Arkansas after her education policies failed. Did little as first lady. Tackled health care and was soundly defeated. Took White House furniture. Wrote a Kumbaya book about family villages and has done very, very little in the Senate. 35 years of service? I’m really trying to be objective here, but I don’t see it. I promise you that she will destroy Obama, however, because the Clintons destoy anyone – including old girlfriends – who get in their way.

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  12. bud

    Let’s just take this one:
    “Tackled health care and was soundly defeated.”
    Fair enough. The Clinton’s were new to the White House, and naive as a result, so they failed to get a comprehensive health care bill passed. But now that she knows how ruthless the big pharma/big insurance axis of evil is in preventing Americans from having health care she’ll be better prepared. The results over the last few years speak for themselves about why we need Hillary care. Americans are dying unnecessarily at an unprecidented rate. Consequently, we lag way behind Western Europe and industrial Asia in our life expectancy. Events have proven that Hillary was absolutely correct in what she was trying to do. However, she failed to get results. I say it’s time to elect her to the presidency and give her another shot. If we elect a Republican all hope is lost on this important issue.
    And besides, what’s wrong with Kumbaya? It’s a very inspirational song in my view.

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  13. Personal Injury Lawyers

    Good summary in the post.Thanks for your information.personal injury law is one of the areas of interest for me. Without personal injury attorneys in this country there would be no watchdogs to make sure people and companies played by the rules and exhibited good behavior.

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