Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Barack Obama, All-Star

At the end of the year, there are always a bunch of retrospective articles on the presidency. This year, history has been kind to Barack Obama. Like, really kind. The stories all list Obama's signal accomplishments achieved against persistent, unreasoning, and sometimes angry opposition.

Obama's performance as the first Black president is like the career of the first African American in Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson. Robinson had to put up with the same kind of treatment on the job that Republicans have inflicted on Obama.

The fans booed Robinson and hurled racial epithets. They threw things at him in the field. Opposing players tried to injure him on the bases. Through it all, Robinson kept his cool by following his manager's advice never to let his detractors see him get angry.

Robinson responded to the pressure by becoming a rookie sensation, winning batting titles, and becoming the National League MVP. He was the first major league star to concentrate on stealing bases and scoring runs, rather than hitting home runs.

That sounds to me a lot like what Barack Obama has been doing. As the first black president, he has taken a lot of abuse from the press and Republicans. Not a single Republican voted for the Affordable Care Act, which had been proposed by the Heritage Foundation, a Conservative think tank, and implemented by Mitt Romney, the Republican governor of Massachusetts.

There is one major difference between Obama and Robinson. Robinson had to spend several years in the Negro Leagues and started his rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers when he was 28. Failing health forced him to retire at age 37 after only 10 years in the league.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, became president in 2009 at the relatively young age of 47. When he leaves office, Obama will still be in the prime of life at 55. The thought of Obama being active after his presidency must be truly frightening for Republicans. The man they couldn't beat may be spending the rest of his life beating them.

I think that would be a fitting end to his story.

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