Sunday, May 20, 2012

Baseball, Politics and Germany

Politics raises the weirdest questions.

Can we old Cubbies fans "bear" to give up finally on our ever-disappointing team because of super pac politics? We far outpace the Red Sox fans in our ability to be loyal no matter what. (We last had a really winner team over 100 years ago.) Yet the owner of the Cubs is such a disgusting piece of work politically and such a stupid guy generally that maybe we should pack it in.

This past week the owner of the Cubs  -  a billionaire named Ricketts  -  almost financed a $10 million smear campaign against Obama, based on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's notorious jeremiads of yore. The proposal for this attack urged that it would make people "hate" Obama as a "metrosexual black Abe Lincoln", whatever the hell that is. The proposal noted that Ricketts had already given the plan "preliminary approval at the New York meeting."

Obviously it's hard to be loyal to a team when the owner is not just a jerk, but a racist, hate-mongering billionaire who would consider stealing an American election with his super wealth. To me, buying an election is even worse than throwing a baseball game or drugging up as a trackster. And to me, these last two sins are really big ones. Racism is even a bigger sin.

What's also disturbing  -  and more germane to baseball  -  is that Ricketts is so dumb. What hope do the Cubs ever have when they are under the control of a genuinely stupid man? Yeah, Ricketts made a lot of money. But he did it by filling a need that was crying to be met. (In fact, it's a testimony to the dumbness of a lot of other business people that the need he filled existed at all and for so long.)

Business people tend to be really stupid about baseball (as fans well know) and also about politics and governing. Examples: Romney, Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorini, and  -  the most stupid business/politican guy of all time  -  Herbert Hoover. He was the last businessman to become president. And we all now how that turned out! Taking a dry, brown leaf from Hoover's playbook, Romney urged in 2008 in a New York Times editorial that the U.S. auto industry should be allowed to go bankrupt. Not exactly a good business call in light of the industry's soaring success after its help from Obama.

Like the ill-fated Hoover, Romney and his fellow "business" GOPers are anti-stimulus and pro-austerity in a time of a recession. Yet this week the G8 summit renounced Germany's insistence on austerity as the sole policy in Europe because  -  as Obama pointed out to the assembled leaders  -  his program of spending by government has worked in the U.S. while Europe's austerity-only approach has caused stagnation and even worsening of the European economy.

How's that for an "I told you so"from Obama! And hats off to Obama for not giving up since Day One in trying to get Europe to do the right thing. Obama has a lot of items for a victory-walk. His success this week in getting Germany to agree to some stimulus spending in Europe is a mighty victory to add to his list. And one we needed, given that Europe is one of our biggest export customers.

Contrast this newest of Obama's economics achievements with Romney's record upon leaving the Massachusetts governor's office. Under his governing, his state sunk to the bottom spot nationally in job creation. Some record, Romney!

Ricketts is right in there with Romney and the other GOPers who think making money qualifies them in politics and government. And Ricketts is not even a good businessman! Maybe the Cubs aren't an important part of his business fortunes, but did he really think it was a good idea to alienate all those black fans and all the other fans who despise racism? It would have been the dumbest business move since Coca-Cola changed its formula and then hastened to cover its mistake by saying it was bringing back original Coke as "Classic Coke". But  Classic Coke doesn't taste at all like original Coke.

I still have a six-pack of the real Coca-Cola in the bottom of my closet. It's in those old glass bottles with that old curvy shape. I squirreled it away when Coca-Cola announced the abandonment of real Coke. I've been saving it "for an emergency". What's it been? Thirty years? Now I'll just leave it to my five kids, one bottle each, and the sixth to share at my post-funeral party as a toast to the passing of a loyal Coke fan. (Planning one's funeral is such fun!)

Yeah, and I'm going to hang on to the Cubs too until death do us part, even if they are also and ever at the bottom of my closet. Yeah, even in spite of Rickety Ricketts. Maybe he'll sell the team, but as daft as he is, nothing ever seems to make the Cubs better or worse.

Tinkers to Evers to Chance. I grew up on the lovely set of words even though that Cubs infield   -  baseball's all-time best  -   was long gone before I was even born. It's still a melodic set of words, and it's music to the heart of any baseball fan, no matter one's age or persuasion. Yeah, I'll stay with the Cubs and Tinkers and Evers and Chance.

So here's the deal:  Give me, O Lord Of All Things American, a victory for Obama in the fall and it will really be okay if  -  yet once again  -  the sun don't shine on my ol' Cubbies.

I'll still have my Chevy and my levee and my daughter's apple pie. And America will still have hope.



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