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Home » September 2008 Game CommentsSeptember 2008 » Wild


Game 160: September 26, 2008
WinYankees 19 W: David Robertson (4-0) 88-72, 1 game winning streak
Red Sox 8 L: David Pauley (0-1) 94-66, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: The game was as ugly as the weather or John McCain’s rictus. Daisuke Matsuzaka was scratched as starter, shielded from the elements as Sarah Palin has been from the press. The difference between Matsuzaka and Palin, however, is that the pitcher doesn’t shy away from reporters.

Leave it to the Yankees: when the game doesn’t matter, when the chips aren’t on the line, they came up huge. The scored in every single inning but the sixth.

The lack of suspense in the game allowed me to turn my attention to the first presidential debate. The topic was supposed to be about foreign policy, but Jim Lehrer allowed tremendous leeway with the opening question by tying international relations in with the global economy.

Barack Obama scored hit after hit with his points to handle the economic crisis. While John McCain harped on his pet issue of earmarks, Obama emphasized that earmarks have a price tag of $18 billion. In comparison to the $300 billion in tax cuts for the nation’s upper crust that the Republicans are advocating, $18 billion is a red herring the GOP serves to the public to distract them on the favors they are granting to their wealthy friends.

When the debate turned to foreign policy, McCain appeared to gain some ground back, but not as much as someone whose momentum has been trending downwards for the past few weeks should have secured, especially since this is his alleged area of strength. McCain’s hawkish posture might appeal to those citizens who believe that the United States retains its former reputable international profile and that the flexing of military muscle is all that is needed to keep countries in line.

In contrast, Obama shared his vision of a country that leads through right, not might. He rebuffed McCain’s chidings that he was naïve and demonstrated that he did indeed know the difference between tactics and strategy.

The McCain campaign quickly picked up on the sound bites in which Obama said that McCain was right, but of course divorcing these statements from their context twisted their original meaning. Obama would often precede a statement showing McCain’s hypocrisy or lack of depth with an acknowledgment that McCain was right, but then followed up with how McCain was wrong or ignoring the rest of the issue:

  • I think Senator McCain's absolutely right that we need more responsibility, but we need it not just when there is a crisis.
  • And he's also right that oftentimes lobbyists and special interests are the ones that are introducing these kinds of requests, although that wasn't the case with me.
  • Now, John mentioned the fact that business taxes on paper are high in this country, and he's absolutely right. Here's the problem: There are so many loopholes that have been written into the tax code, oftentimes with support of Senator McCain, that we actually see our businesses pay effectively one of the lowest tax rates in the world.
  • Senator McCain is absolutely right that the violence has been reduced as a consequence of the extraordinary sacrifice of our troops and our military families. They have done a brilliant job, and General Petraeus has done a brilliant job. But understand, that was a tactic designed to contain the damage of the previous four years of mismanagement of this war. And so John likes -- John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007.
  • And, John, I -- you're absolutely right that presidents have to be prudent in what they say. But, you know, coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don't know, you know, how credible that is. I think this is the right strategy.

Obama’s tack was to use tact, as Mark Antony did in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. We lent him our ears and we learned McCain was right, just as Brutus was an honorable man. I want to believe that Americans have longer attention spans than goldfish to attend to this distinction.

In the wake of Obama's positive showing in the debate, I was also happy to hear that Kim Ng, currently the assistant GM of the Dodgers, is being considered to take the helm as general manager of the Mariners. She absolutely needs to be freed from the shadow of the Dodgers nepotistic atmosphere into a new organization.

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