US reluctant to give up Obama
Oct 4, 2012
Written by George WILL
WASHINGTON — In baseball, a game without a clock, each player on a team that is behind by a bunch of runs is advised to “stay within yourself.”
That baseball lingo means: Do not try to do too much. Instead, get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in. There are no five-run home runs. Small, incremental gains matter because the game goes on until someone makes the 27th out.
Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, presidential politics is, like football, a game with a clock.
Romney and his advisers must be bewildered by this fact: In October 2011 they would have been serenely confident of victory if they had been told that 12 months later the following would be true.
Obama’s administration is in shambles, yet he is prospering politically. This may not, however, entirely be evidence of the irrationality of the electorate. Something more benign may be at work.
A significant date in the nation’s civil rights progress involved an African-American baseball player named Robinson, but not Jackie.
The date was Oct. 3, 1974, when Frank Robinson was hired by the Cleveland Indians as the major leagues’ first black manager. But an even more important milestone of progress occurred June 19, 1977, when the Indians fired him. That was colorblind equality.
Managers get fired all the time. The fact that the Indians felt free to fire Robinson showed that another racial barrier had fallen: Henceforth, African-Americans, too, could enjoy the God-given right to be scapegoats for impatient team owners or incompetent team executives.
Perhaps a pleasant paradox defines this political season: That Obama is African-American may be important, but in a way quite unlike that darkly suggested by, for example, MSNBC’s excitable boys and girls who, with their (at most) one-track minds and exquisitely sensitive olfactory receptors, sniff racism in any criticism of their pinup.
Instead, the nation, which is generally reluctant to declare a president a failure — thereby admitting that it made a mistake choosing him — seems especially reluctant not to give up on the first African-American president. If so, the 2012 election speaks well of the nation’s heart, if not its head.