Here’s a real “check your privilege” moment. Did you know that, in 1971, Bill White became the first black play-by-play announcer in sports when he took to the mic for the New York Yankees? It took until 1971 for that to happen.
It makes sense when you think about it: Teams tend to hire former athletes as their sportscasters, and until 1947 there weren’t any black baseball players. So seeing a black sportscaster 24 years later seems right – except, of course, that neither of those lines should never have existed in the first place.
Still, I had no idea that White was so significant until I read this post on The Undefeated. (I just knew him as Phil Rizzuto’s former broadcast partner.) The piece uses White’s legacy to point out how the Barack Obama Presidency has changed the perception about further color barriers: Obama has made those barriers temporary. If a black person can be President, we assume will will be the “first black [INSERT ANYTHING HERE]” at some point. Time, more than prejudice, is the enemy now.
For whatever you think about now-ex-President Barack Obama (I have some opinions), that legacy alone means something. As a white guy, I can’t even fully appreciate it myself; just as I took for granted growing up hearing Joe Morgan and Ken Singleton call baseball games. When I was young, my parents told me that if I tried hard enough, I could do or be whatever I wanted. It’s hard to imagine a parent having to tell their child the opposite – that no matter how good you are, some doors will be closed. Whether it was always true or not, that was a legitimate feeling in communities of color.
Among the debates surrounding the legacy of our 44th President, this accomplishment is worth celebrating. It’s sad that there was once a color barrier on the baseball field, or in the broadcast booth, or any number of other places. Now, hopefully, we can know there will never be a time like that again.
Democrats are clicking their heels at the prospect of using the Obama 2012 list for the 2014 campaigns. Fresh off a special election win in Massachusetts, the main concern seems to be how to scale the data from a national campaign down to a Congressional-level race:
That’s not to say, Democrats caution, that there’s nothing lost in the scaling process. Hiring a talented analyst doesn’t mean a campaign will be able to collect the immense trove of data — and update it over and over — the way the Obama campaign did. Not every Senate and congressional candidate will have the wherewithal, or the inclination, to test the effect of slightly varying messages on an experimental slice of the electorate.
But down-ballot campaigns also don’t need that level of data awareness in order to improve their performance in some material way. And if the Massachusetts special election was one case study in transferring data and analytics tools to a nonpresidential level, Democratic operatives say there’s plenty more where that came from.
There’s a big problem, though: there isn’t plenty more where that came from. Barack Obama is no longer running.
Sure, he’ll “sign” emails – and despite tumbling approval ratings, that will mean a lot to a certain subset of voters. Even so, starting in 2014, Democrats have to deal with a problem Republicans have suffered since 1988: the specter of a popular and philosophically grounded President may hang over the election, but the candidates who fill his spot on the ballot won’t match his charisma. Voters vote for candidates more than they vote for ideas.
And Barack Obama ain’t walkin’ through that door.
News broke yesterday that the Department of Health and Human Services hopes to enlist the NFL as a partner in expanding enrollment in health insurance plans through state exchanges.
There’s probably no better, more apt partner for Obamacare than the NFL, a league which is certainly familiar with health care:
Will Obamacare offer a system that will take care of you the way the NFL takes care of its players? Kathleen Sebelius might want to re-think the optics of that partnership.
President Bill Clinton was “Slick Willy” long before the Lewinsky perjury scandal. But that one kind of cemented the legacy. The President lied about an affair with a subordinate to a Grand Jury (who was investigating a sexual harassment claim by a former subordinate), lied about lying about it to the American people, and eventually got to keep his job as if none of it happened. Famously, Dick Morris’s polling showed that the American people didn’t care about his boss’s poling so long as it was a matter of personal indiscretion and not a government matter. When Clinton and Co. managed to turn the whole circus into a story about sex, it lost its steam.
President Barack Obama is in plenty of hot water today, and his approval rating is starting to wane. Even the hard left is less than pleased with the NSA revelations.
How does the President blunt the scandal-based criticism and win back his most ardent supporters? The same way Santa punishes bad kids: coal. In a speech on Tuesday, the President has promised bold action through executive fiat on climate change. Coal plants are expected by be in the crosshairs, as they have been since Obama was a candidate.
The rules don’t have to go into effect for Obama to win. The best case scenario for the administration plays out like this:
- Pro-energy groups, who tend to have plenty of allies on the right, react strongly to the rules. Words and actions from the center-right are focused on the President’s extreme agenda. Suddenly, the most influential opinion-leading voices drop the discussions about non-impeachable issues like the IRS targeting the Tea Party and the NSA surveillance programs.
- Environmentally-themed left-wing groups rally to shut down coal plants. There are teach-ins, rallies, and maybe even a hunger strike or two supporting the President’s crusade rather than defending Edward Snowden.
- Energy industry companies and trade groups spend money on paid advertising and grassroots activation to mobilize public support opposing the rule changes. Every computer screen in Washington, D.C. that pulls up Politico sees banner ads about clean coal, and pro-coal TV spots run during the local DC news.
Clinton made it through a scandal by getting people to look at it in a different way and trying to win popular sentiment to his side. Obama may get through a half dozen scandals by prioritizing a hot button issue to create the type of hyper-political environment he claims to hate.