• For love of the game

    September 13, 2010

    I’m not big into sports. I enjoy college basketball (Go Duke!), often watch hockey, tolerate football–that’s it. No baseball. No soccer. No NBA.

    There is one sport I never get enough of, though. Politics. It’s the best mental game around. Better than chess by far. You do your darndest to outsmart your opponent to win the hearts of your constituents. And if you think politics is boring, you haven’t paid nearly enough attention. Think 1994. President Bill Clinton’s poll numbers were in the toilet. Democrats in Congress were wildly unpopular. Republicans took both houses for the first time in decades, essentially killing–or so one would have thought–Clinton’s legislative agenda, seriously handicapping him (again, or so one would have thought) and making his ’96 reelection bid uphill at best. Newt Gingrich, the architect of Republican congressional victories, basked in his own glory as he watched his fortunes rise and Clinton’s seemingly sink. One post-midterm-election newspaper headline read, “A Whole Newt World.”

    Not so fast. Clinton, a master at the game of politics, spent no time sulking. He got to work immediately devising a strategy. In the months following the ’94 Democratic slaughter, Clinton co-opted the more moderate elements of the Republicans’ own agenda, used the bully pulpit of the presidency to convince Americans he’d come up with the ideas, turned his approval numbers around, and just two years later won reelection handily, while Newt Gingrich grew so unpopular with Americans he had to step down as House Speaker and later resign from Congress to stop the bleeding on the Republican side of the aisle.

    Politics is high drama and terrific sport. My younger, still-idealistic friends who’ve wagered all their hopes on government will no doubt complain I’m making light of something serious: “Politics is not a sport. Politics matters!” All I can say in response is, for whatever good politicians might affect in the world, the road to governance is the best game in town.

    Click here for a great article sizing up this November’s match.

    Posted in: General

Leave A Comment

Mail (will not be published) (required)