Every Four Years: How Presidential Politics is Like Baseball


We keep doing it. We do it every four years, as if we were all born yesterday, with no history books available and no inclination to learn to read them anyway. I’m talking about the crazy world of electing a President of the USA.

The guy in office, of course, has made some bad decisions. He was never President before, so lots of things were learned from scratch and he wasn’t perfect. Not if his name is Bush, not if his name is Clinton, not if his name is Obama. We understandably get angry.

We curse from the stands. “Throw the bum out! I could have done better, for chrissake. There are too many errors. We need a new manager! I paid good money for this ticket, I’ve been a loyal fan of the USA, when am I gonna get my money’s worth? We spend all this money for tickets, and then management keeps throwing it away on crappy personnel and dumb decisions! I’m tired of it!”

There we sit watching and complaining. Beside us is our buddy, who has done a little research. “I hear the team has a new guy in the minor leagues. He is supposed to be a great fielder. You know how much we need to stop making errors. They say he can move equally well to his right and to his left. And the new guy is really unusual because he is able to play all nine positions on the baseball diamond. And he’s great at all of them! If you need a shortstop, he’ll be a shortstop. If you need a pitcher, he’ll be a pitcher. In fact, he is so good on the diamond and has so many different baseball gloves to fit all the positions he can take, that they’ve given him a nickname. They call him “Mitt.” You know, for “baseball mitt,” the name for a baseball glove?”

You know how this works. The team is desperate, we — the fans — demand a change. Surely anybody will be better than what we have. And what happens?


On his first day at his new job, we all cheer and yell “Go Mitt!”  But our virgin “go-to-guy,” the player who is supposed to be the savior of the team, has never faced Major League pitching before, so he struggles. The flawless, error-free performance we expected doesn’t happen.

Next, we discover that his ability to take every position on the field really doesn’t do us much good, because a ballplayer can only play one position at a time. This makes many of us unhappy, especially those of us in the right-field bleachers, who’d been promised that he would be our guy, the guy who would take a position on the field very close to us. Not that those of us in the left-field bleachers are very happy either, although we alone always had some doubts about “Mitt.”

All in all, things don’t work out as well as we hoped. Pretty soon the stadium echoes with shouts to send Mitt back to the minor leagues. We are still yelling “Go Mitt,” but it sounds more like “Please go — go quickly — Mitt.” Rumor has it that a new savior is coming. He’ll be ready by November, 2016. If only we can be patient, everything will finally turn out just right. Hope springs eternal and we forget that our team, like the Chicago Cubs, hasn’t appeared in the World Series since 1945 and isn’t likely to do so any time soon. Still, the cry goes out: “Wait ’til next year!” Or, 2016 or 2020 or 2024.

Baseball really is a metaphor for life.

This post is dedicated to my friends Sue Leff Ginsburg, Susan and Steve Sidell, Dave Levine, Dan Morrison, as well as Dr. Cindy, TS and MD. The top photo is Mitt Romney in West Des Moines, Iowa courtesy of IowaPolitics.com/ The second image is Myron Noodleman Holding a Large Baseball Glove by Skibo. Both are sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

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