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Post Partisan
Posted at 04:39 PM ET, 10/02/2012

PostScript: George Will and firing Obama

Finally, PostScript can write about a subject on which she has bona fides: baseball. She is not a baseball expert in any conventional sense, but she has devoted many, many, MANY hours to being in the room while Ma PostScript watches the Chicago Cubs do their thing (lose). So she has the precise background necessary to analyze the reader commentary to George Will’s column of the day.

Will uses a baseball metaphor to explain why America is unwilling as yet to fire President Obama, despite the dismal state of U.S. foreign policy and unemployment levels. Will ignores the arguably inept campaign of Obama’s opponent; the problem, here, lies in a phenomenon embodied by Frank Robinson, a black man who was once casually sacrificed as a scapegoat when the team he managed played poorly, thus breaking a racial barrier in an unconventional but genuine way. Or something; PostScript is already tired of thinking about baseball.

America, Will argues, is still not the pure meritocracy that baseball is: We have not yet reached the mind-set that allows us to fire a black president because things are going wrong. (PostScript is pretty sure that Will is not implying Obama, like Robinson, was a talented manager who was scapegoated.) We would feel all bad and guilty about doing so, Will says, which is why Obama is still winning.

It’s an unusual position, clearly. But what informs it? Where is it coming from?

Postscript has found an important clue in this comment:

Liam-still:

George is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. He is used to making lame excuses for habitual losers.

Hm! There is an entire book written, actually, on the subject of why Chicago Cubs fans are so loyal and, actually, George Will has written about this before. Neurochemically, a losing team can provide just as much joy for a highly loyal fan as a winning team. There is special tribal identity in being an underdog.

Certainly this applies to partisan politics. There is a perverse joy in backing a losing team. For Ma PostScript, the point of baseball is not winning. Okay, PostScript takes it back: She doesn’t actually understand this. But she knows it is real. And she likes George Will just a little bit more for embracing his pain.

The commentariat is not as generous:

Crozetproject wonders how, if Will is correct, he could prove it:

[In this column] Will is suddenly able to divine the national intention and make everything all about race. Maybe it’s just that people feel like giving tax breaks to rich people while cutting the safety net and blaming poor people for being unemployed is not good policy.

OhMy believes it’s for different reasons, despite America’s problems, that the voters currently favor Obama:

Americans are not reluctant to vote against President Obama because of his race. Americans will vote for him because they like him. Americans will vote for President Obama because they understand he has made real efforts to get us out of war and that Mitt Romney has stated he would join with the Israelis in attacking Iran. Americans have a lot of good reasons to vote for President Obama.

And SageThrasher believes it has nothing to do with Obama at all:

Obama’s victories come down to four simple reasons: McCain, Palin, Romney, Ryan. Six if you throw in Boehner and McConnell.
Huntsman would be up by 20 points right now. But Romney/Ryan is a loser any way you slice it.

Here’s PostScript’s slice: The Romneyites seem to be bracing for a loss; Will seems to be counseling them not to brace for it, but to EM-brace it. Find the warm heart behind the cold fact of an imminent defeat: It is about the goodness of America. This is much the attitude of Ma PostScript during those ninth-inning collapses. You go philosophical, and find the good in the bad.

PostScript hasn’t felt such a bond with George Will since the Cubs won a Super Bowl.

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  04:39 PM ET, 10/02/2012

 
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