Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Politics As Sport : Republican Presidential Nominees Edition

I work in DC. Up until last week I was employed by the US Senate (took another job, didn’t take dickpics). Needless to say, much of my life is dedicated to following politics. In my new job I literally will be analyzing everything achieved in the Senate (newsflash: not a whole lot expected for this year). With that as a bit of background, I wanted to propose that sports are a lot like politics.

Not surprisingly, sports metaphors make their way into the political discourse every day. Some days Congressmen and Senators, I shit you not, spend time speaking on behalf of their favorite sports franchises and university football teams. Republicans and Democrats often talk about having a smart “gameplan” or playing strong defense during debates. In politics, as with sports, we are always watching who wins and who loses. Victories are determined by who remains in office and who gets caught hiking the Appalachian Trail.

All that being said, there is an election coming up. I don’t know if you heard about it but Barack Obama wants to be President for another four years. He is being opposed by a smorgasbord of Republican candidates. I view much of the world through the prism of sports and that is true for how I view many politicos.

Seeing as this is a sports blog, and KOBEshigawa wants it to remain clear to everyone involved just how apathetic he is, I want you all to know that I will not be overtly supportive of anyone. Posting about WWE doesn’t make him nervous (which it should because IT’S NOT A SPORT), but mentioning anything political makes KOBEshigawa sweat bullets!

So without further delay, my first in a many part series...

Politics as Sports : Republican Presidential Nominees Edition

Who they are in real life:

Newt Gingrich
Party: Republican
Tale of the tape: 68 years old
Achievements: 58th Speaker of the House of Representatives, 1995 Time Magazine “Man of the Year”, remains pertinent deep into his 60’s, married three times

His sports equivalent:

Tommy Lasorda
Team: Dodgers, America
Tale of the tape: 84 years old
Achievements: 2-time world champion as a manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Gold Medal winning manager for team USA during the 2000 Summer Olympics, 2008 Order of the Rising Sun Gold Rays with Rosette (from government of Japan)

Why Newt is Tommy:

Tommy Lasorda has never seen a bowl of pasta he didn’t like. He also never saw a reporter or microphone he didn’t want to speak at, for hours. In fact, some of Tommy’s most famous moments came from going on tirades against the press or talking too long with the mic still hot (see here and here). As you may have learned over the last few weeks of constant coverage of the primaries, Newt Gingrich also loves food (he is quite plump) and he never passes up the opportunity to regale all those involved with his theories. If Newt was a manager of a baseball team you bet your ass he would be as beloved as the gregarious Lasorda. He would talk shit about opposing players, lecture on the importance of Lefty-Righty matchups, and generally be an ambassador for fat men everywhere.

The craziest thing about Newt is that like Tommy, he never goes away. No matter how many times you think Frank McCourt has isolated Tommy from having a job with the Dodgers (McCourt demoted Tommy from Vice-President to Special Adviser to the Chairman), he always manages to find a way back into the limelight even under the strangest circumstances. Newt has had about 15 obituaries written about his career including more then a handful during his Presidential campaign this year alone.

Who they are in real life:

Mitt Romney
Party: Republican
Tale of the tape: Mormon
Achievements: President and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics, father of 5 including a son named Tagg, Governor of Massachusetts, People Top 50 Most Beautiful People List 2002

His sports equivalent:

Eli Manning
Team: New York Football Giants, Manning Family
Tale of the tape: Manning, Mouthbreather
Achievements: 2 Superbowl Championships, 2 Super Bowl MVP’s

Why Mitt is Eli:

Eli Manning is an elite quarterback. He is such an elite quarterback that he goes around reminding people about it during interviews. He led his team to a Super Bowl Championship over Tom Brady and the dreaded dynasty. Eli Manning should be the talk of the NFL throughout the entire season.
His stats are respectable, his role on his team is vital, and his leadership skills keep a group of footballers liking each other in New York (look at your failures here Sanchito). But at the end of the day, Eli Manning is Peyton Manning’s younger brother, son of Archie, breather through the mouth. He is a member of NFL royalty and gets the shit end of the stick often. How many times this year did you hear Mothership, Fox, and CBS announcers speaking about the dominance of Brees, Rodgers, Brady, and Roethlisberger? There was absolutely no love for Eli.

Mitt Romney is also from a line of royalty. He is the son of George Romney, a former Governor of Michigan, Chairman of the American Motors Corporation, and member of the Nixon cabinet. By all means, Mitt has been groomed just as Eli and Peyton to excel in the same line of work as his father. He has played the political game exactly like a play book. He was Governor of Massachusetts (executive experience), he did his time in the private sector (non-government experience), and he did a great job waiting for his turn in line to be President (Republicans wait in line, See: John McCain in 2000 vs. John McCain in 2008).

So why is it that Eli AND Mitt have a hard time being loved and embraced by the American people? Eli is a Champion, there is no doubt that he now has achieved more than his brother did in Indy. Mitt is exactly what Republicans want in a candidate for President (at least based on previous years) but he is having problems motivating and inspiring his base. I really can’t explain why either of them are not better liked but I can tell you Eli is going to have an easier time rallying folks to his side as long as he keeps winning trophies.

Who they are in real life:

Tim Pawlenty
Party: Republican
Tale of the tape: Succeeded Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Achievements: Governor of Minnesota

His Sports Equivalent:

Tim Duncan
Team: San Antonio Spurs
Tale of the tape: Once was paired with the Admiral
Achievements: Four time NBA champion, three time NBA Finals MVP, two time NBA MVP

Why Tim is Tim:

Tim Pawlenty is boring. He is so boring that to make him sound interesting to young people everywhere his recent failed presidential campaign decided to nickname him T-Paw. This “hip” nickname was not enough to draw attention to Pawlenty’s conservative chops and fairly strong record as the Governor of Minnesota. T-Paw did everything he could to raise a ruckus about his campaign but he never pulled the trigger on attacking Mitt Romney (the expected nominee). It’s not the last we’ve seen of T-Paw as he is now a surrogate for Romney (surrogate = having Mitt’s baby).

Tim Duncan is boring. He is the master of the bank shot. A shot so reviled that if you know anything about playing pick-up basketball, you know you best call your bank unless you want to be heckled. Duncan is reliable and many will argue that he has been one of the most successful big men of all time. Just don’t tell that to Shaq-Diesel. Like T-Paw, Duncan struggled against larger/cooler opponents who could dominate the discussion/low post. At the end of the day though, both Duncan and Pawlenty have had success when they were surrounded by solid role players who could keep opponents at bay long enough for them to sink enough bank shots to ensure a smooth and boring victory.


Part 2 coming soon!

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