Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 10, 2006
By: Ogged

Filling The Gap

Insightful commenter "nut" writes,

This is a remarkable moment.

Amy writes a column without mentioning basketball or exhorting Democrats to be religious nuts.

We can't have that. Over at the great basketball blog, True Hoop, Henry Abbott notes the political contributions of several NBA players and owners. Unsurprisingly, 100% of the unlovable Karl Malone's contributions have gone to Republicans. Good guys Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, on the other hand, have given only to Democrats. What's genuinely surprising is that NBA Commissioner David Stern has contributed nearly $800,000 exclusively to Democrats. I'm just musing here, but if the Commish is so interested in politics, why not draft him to run for office? He's savvy and likable, he's managed a fantastically successful, racially integrated enterprise, and Jordan and Barkley could stump for him. Why not?

More: In comments, Mark Schmitt mentions Adonal Foyle, and, in all seriousness, Foyle is the model of an athlete who uses his position to make a difference in politics.

Ogged 1:39 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (53)

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Comments

don't stroke the nut!

Posted by: cleek on March 10, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus (pronounced Heyzeus) Kevin. Who the hell is this guy/gal? I realize it is Friday and you're going on vacation. But you've got no better B-teamers than this? At least put Amy in charge. We're at least able abuse her on matters of substance. If I want to opine about the NBA, I'll find some retarded sports blog.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 10, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Ogged, why are you ignoring WM house style?

Posted by: David Weman on March 10, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

-gg-d, I think you've found your niche.

Posted by: The Modesto Kid on March 10, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II strikes a blow for higher discourse! Excelsior!

Posted by: neil on March 10, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, basketball was invented by a Candian socialist, everyone knows that.

Posted by: Matt on March 10, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Dems could use some star power; I like the idea. And Jordan just may be tired enough of complaints that he does too little socially positive activisim with his fame to actually campaign a little. (Though maybe not if it takes time away from his biking.)

Posted by: Michael R on March 10, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I think a clear majority of Kevin's readers would be grateful if he got rid of comments.

Posted by: David Weman on March 10, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Self-hating commenters?

Posted by: Matt F on March 10, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Jordan is a good guy? Have you spoken to his wife lately?

Posted by: NAR on March 10, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Charles Barkley was Rush Limbaugh's fave. Several years ago there were rumors that Barkely was going to run for Gov as a Repub here in AL. What happened?

Posted by: Martin on March 10, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

The vast majority of the readers aren't commenters.

Posted by: David Weman on March 10, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I've never actually read the comments before. It's hilarious.

Posted by: FL on March 10, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Why not? For the same reason that most sane people don't run for office - they'd rather lead their own lives. Plus, have you seen the lemons you have to hang around with, pretending to like?

The fact that politics is an ugly business means that we mostly get ugly people in it (and I don't mean their looks, though there's that as well).

Slightly off topic - Arnie is already running his reelection ads, and if this is the campaign, he's going down. It's laugh-out-loud stupidity. The wife and I looked at each other and just burst out laughing. Send Arnie back to the Palisades!

Posted by: craigie on March 10, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

And let's not neglect the NBA player who, instead of making political contributions, leads a campus movement for campaign finance reform:

http://crookedtimber.org/2006/03/08/adonal-foyle/

Posted by: Mark Schmitt on March 10, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Considering the small size of the donations in question relative to these players' incomes, I don't see how you could infer much from them at all.

Posted by: Derek Copold on March 10, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Martin:

Apparently, Barkley thinks the present Administration is too cozy with the Religious Right, and that the war in Iraq is a joke.

Is there any sport that is more naturally Democratic than the NBA? No! Serious integration of players, stars, coaches, management, and even ownership. Mostly under David Stern's watch. And, hey, Bill Simmons has previously endorsed the idea of a David Stern presidency, so he'd start with the SCLM on his side.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim on March 10, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't read "nut"'s comment in the original--only in the text of Ogged's post. I trust Ogged didn't take it out of context. Apologies if I misunderstood it.

That said, "nut"'s comment about Amy Sullivan--really, about religiosity in general--is precisely the type of attitude that is shooting Dems in the foot with regard to many people in the so-called "red" states.

One doesn't have to be personally religious to note that most other people in this country are, to some extent. And religious thinking pervades and underpins much in the way of colloquial attitudes about politics and values.

Repubs have learned to exploit religiosity and use it to their advantage. Dems tend to preach, or at least to imply, a distinctly secular attitude.

On a strictly pragmatic level, this gives Repubs an enormous leg up when convincing most middle-American voters that Repub candidates share their values and concerns. If people believe a candidate shares their core values and concerns, that candidate (or office holder) has a much greater margin for error.

Dubya is a perfect example. Despite all his failings--personal, profesisonal and political--a large percentage of the electorate supported him until very recently. In part, at least, this was because they felt he shared many of their "regular guy" "American" values--which are centered around patriotism and faith.

Because many Dems share "nut"'s apparent distaste for religion (much the same way some in the party have shown a distaste for the military), the party has difficulty attracting moderate values-based voters on anything more than an "issue" level (much the same way the party has difficulty persuading voters of its national security bona fides). This means many voters lack a visceral identification with Dems.

Enough of my hip-pocket political theorizing. Bottom-line: Dems need to stop conceding religion and values (and patriotism and security) to the Repubs, and to start finding a way to reach out to voters who are not aggressively secular in their orientation.

Ceasing to roll one's eyes at writing like Amy Sullivan's would be a good start in the right--or, rather, productive--direction.

Posted by: JRP on March 10, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Is there a Koufax Award for most humorous blog community? As they say in the NBA, y'all have taken it to the next level.

Posted by: JDC on March 10, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK
I think a clear majority of Kevin's readers would be grateful if he got rid of comments.

The readers either are commenters, or they choose to click through and read the comments, or they are main-page-only readers whose only contact with the commenters is the "updates" Kevin (et al.) post to main-page posts in response to comments, or the very few posts (like Ogged's here) that directly respond to the comments.

I can't imagine that the first care either way about comments, I can't imagine the second wanting them eliminated (stop me before I click through to the comments again!?), and I doubt the third would have much stronger opinions than the first.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 10, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

He's savvy and likable, he's managed a fantastically successful, racially integrated enterprise...

Compared to the population at large, the NBA is integrated only in the most legal sense of the word.

Posted by: Derek Copold on March 10, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think a clear majority of Kevin's readers would be grateful if he got rid of comments.

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Al on March 10, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

I've a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that people are really put off by the comments. Not that it means anything.

I myself did usually regret it when I read a comments thread, but I did it semi-regularly anyway.

Posted by: David Weman on March 10, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Barkley used to be Rush Limbaugh's best bud, and he was thinking of running for Gov of Alabama as a Rethug -- what happened?

Posted by: wks on March 10, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Repubs have learned to exploit religiosity and use it to their advantage.

You contradict your own basic argument by this statement. Your suggestion should be that Amy should exhort the Dems to learn to exploit religosity and use it to their political advantage. I would have no problem with Amy doing that.

Posted by: nut on March 10, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

As long as we're talking about running athletes for office, how about Olympic gold and silver speed skating medalist Joey Cheek, who gave his $40,000 in prize money to the children's charity Right to Play and is now off in Africa volunteering? We could use more passionate, committed, thoughtful men like him.

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Knew I should have scrolled thru before commenting -- sorry for the repost.

Posted by: wks on March 10, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

I've a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that people are really put off by the comments. Not that it means anything.

I've a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that people really like the comments. So I suppose that's a tie.

I myself did usually regret it when I read a comments thread, but I did it semi-regularly anyway.

Well, then you have no-one to blame but yourself, do you? Just as I usually regret it when I have that one extra piece of pie, but do it anyway....

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

The best point guard in the NBA. He didn't really do anything but wear an anti-war t-shirt, but that doesn't change the fact that he's the best point guard in the NBA.

Mavs've worked out OK without him but I miss watching that guy pass in to Dirk.

Posted by: Armsmasher on March 10, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Without knowing it, Amy Sullivan captures the problem with today's Lefty Democrat.

Here is her list of qualifications for running for office:

(1) rich
(2) savvy and likable
(3) managed a successful - and racially diverse - business.

You won't find national security on Amy's list. Nothing about character. Nothing about valuing our military.

Is it any wonder today's Dems are recruiting people like Jerry Springer? Lots of Hollywood people fit Amy's 3-prong test.

Posted by: BigRiver on March 10, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Lots of Hollywood people fit Amy's 3-prong test.

Mmm . . . bbut BAH I won't! Not the Mineshaft!

Posted by: Armsmasher on March 10, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Barkley always talked like a Republican (a smart one), and Jordan never said anything -- but came off like one.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 10, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

While it's good that he plays the middle, Mark Cuban is a bit of a cheapskate, seeing how he's only contributed $7K despite being as wealthy as God. Or almost.

Posted by: Peter on March 10, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Without knowing it, Amy Sullivan captures the problem with today's Lefty Democrat.

Here is her list of qualifications for running for office:

(1) rich
(2) savvy and likable
(3) managed a successful - and racially diverse - business.

You won't find national security on Amy's list. Nothing about character. Nothing about valuing our military.

Is it any wonder today's Dems are recruiting people like Jerry Springer? Lots of Hollywood people fit Amy's 3-prong test.

Posted by: BigRiver on March 10, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK


I'm sure I'll get flamed for writing this, but are article written by Amy Sullivan worth my time?

Example: How many Lefty Democrats are rich???

And since when is being rich or a businessman sufficient or necessary for success in the political realm? A "savvy" characteristic, prehaps -- but nowhere near enough to seal the deal. (Too many have that, but aren't leaders nor effective once in office.)

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 10, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

BigRiver, in a sea of inane posts, that one stands out. Using your little litmus test, ask yourself if
George W Bush
Richard "Darth Vader" Cheney
also pass your presumed 3 point test.

Crikey.

Posted by: craigie on March 10, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

(1) rich
(2) savvy and likable
(3) managed a successful - and racially diverse - business....You won't find national security on Amy's list. Nothing about character. Nothing about valuing our military.

Hmmm...how much national security experience did Bush have, besides going AWOL from the TANG? How much character did the alcoholic drunk driver and former cokehead Bush have? Wasn't he selected by the Republicans precisely because he was rich and (presumably) savvy and likeable and had experience managing a sports team?

Posted by: Stefan on March 10, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Being AWOL from the TANG is just the kind of thing that would drive you to a 3-pronged test.

Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate on March 10, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Standpipe and other commenters are missing the point:

Some republicans DO meet Amy Sullivans 3-prong test. Bush certainly does. But that only shows you how pitiful Amy's test is.

If Jerry Springer and 50-cent and Sean Penn and Michael Moore and GW Bush all meet the criteria, that should tell you something!

Posted by: BigRiver on March 10, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK
Without knowing it, Amy Sullivan captures the problem with today's Lefty Democrat.

Here is her list of qualifications for running for office:

(1) rich
(2) savvy and likable
(3) managed a successful - and racially diverse - business.

Without knowing it, BigRiver captures the problem with today's righty troll: to whit, illiteracy. The post from which he infers that those are Amy Sullivan's standards begins thus: "Guest: Ogged" and ends "Ogged 1:39 PM Permalink | TrackBack (0) | Comments (37)"

And, yet, somehow he tells us that the things in cited in that post as making a particular potential candidate formidable are Amy Sullivan's standards for a successful candidate.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 10, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK
Some republicans DO meet Amy Sullivans 3-prong test.

Amy Sullivan didn't propose a 3-prong test. Ogged mentioned three facts about a proposed candidate and asked what negatives might be associated with that candidacy ("Why not?"). How you get from someone who is not Amy Sullivan, doing something other than proposing a 3-prong test to Amy Sullivan proposing a 3-prong test is a mystery to me.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 10, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Heh!

"Ogged" is the genius who proposed the goofy 3-pronged test?

Alrighty then, it's "Ogged". Not Amy Sullivan.

Thanks to cmdicely for pointintg out the mistake. But I noticed cmdicely avoided the larger issue of the Democratic party and their cluelessness on how to pick candidates!

Posted by: BigRiver on March 10, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Barkley a republican?

Posted by: Mike on March 10, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Barkley a republican?

No.

"That was until they went crazy, before all those religious fanatics took over. My man started a war for no reason. He's getting innocent kids killed over there."

Posted by: apostropher on March 10, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

(1) rich
(2) savvy and likable
(3) managed a successful - and racially diverse - business.

that's W's resume .. after you append "un" to the front of "successful"

Posted by: cleek on March 10, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK
"Ogged" is the genius who proposed the goofy 3-pronged test?

Nope. Ogged mentioned three potential strengths of David Stern as a candidate.

But I noticed cmdicely avoided the larger issue of the Democratic party and their cluelessness on how to pick candidates!

That's because cmdicely was busy pointing out that the basis of your present accusation of that cluelessness was completely bogus, on top of being misattributed.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 10, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

That's an awesome Barkley quote, apostroper.

Posted by: Jackmormon on March 10, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Nut: "You contradict your own basic argument by this statement. Your suggestion should be that Amy should exhort the Dems to learn to exploit religosity and use it to their political advantage. I would have no problem with Amy doing that."

I see no "contractiction" in this at all. Merely a matter of the extreme to which I chose to take the argument.

My essential argument was (and is) that Dems are cutting themselves off from a significant portion of the electorate by being religiously tone-deaf. That means that Dems should--to keep the strained metaphor running--get more "in tune" with those who are religious.

(Okay, that last line was too much even for me, but you get the point.)

I suppose it could be simply a matter of semantics. One person's getting in tune may be another person's exploitation. I just chose to use the more pejorative term with respect to the Repubs' approach rather than what I think should be the Dems'.

Also, nut, thanks for a substantive, if brief, response rather than a flame.

Posted by: JRP on March 10, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

BigRiver, in a sea of inane posts, that one stands out. Using your little litmus test, ask yourself if
George W Bush
Richard "Darth Vader" Cheney
also pass your presumed 3 point test.

Crikey.

-------------

Which sucessful business did Bush or Cheney ever run (check on Haliburton, Cheney killed them, only after he got in the WH and started the gravy train did they turn around)

That 3rd criteria if actually applied rationally does make a difference. Caretaker CEOs who got paid a bunch of money for running already succesful businesses shouldn't count. But What Stern has done in the NBA for example is pretty remarkable. Remember what they were liek when he took over? The NBA finals weren't even on prime time TV you had to stay up til 11:30 and watch them tape delayed.

Posted by: eric on March 10, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, ok, fair enough - I was just being charitable.

Posted by: craigie on March 10, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Not the Mineshaft!
Posted by: Armsmasher

Hey. Mineshaft is a fine horse. Eclipse Award 3 YO of the Year couple of years ago...

Ooops. Damn.

Man, I miss the bbs at Thoroughbred Times. I still occasionally have these withdrawal pangs.

Where are the TwoTurns, 10Furlongs and Nicely-Nicelys of yesteryear?

Posted by: CFShep on March 10, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

uh... did someone mention Jordan?

Thought so.

Now that's cool.

Posted by: koreyel on March 10, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

I wish Foyle would focus on making a difference on the court as well. Freakin' Warriors...

Posted by: Killjoy on March 11, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

David Stern probably has all the skills and connections to be president, but it'll never happen. He's at least a foot too short to be a serious contender.

And, the more you hear him talk, the more it's clear that in his heart of hearts he's, more than anything, a lawyer. I suspect his allegiance to the legal profession explains his donations more than anything else.

Posted by: Henry Abbott on March 11, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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