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By Stan Silliman
       
THE STATE OF THE SPORTS METAPHOR

       
    “He hit that one out of the park.”
    “He didn’t just hit a single, or a double, or a triple. He hit a home run.”
   
     These are quotes, not about baseball, but from two partisan pundits gushing over President Bush’s State of the Union Speech. I guess if baseball metaphors must be used, when better to use them than with a president who had baseball business experience. In fact, one could say, if not for baseball, George might not be our president. If not for George using political influence to push through a vote helping Tom Hicks to get the citizens of Arlington to front the bill on his ballpark George may not have received a huge bonus of Texas Rangers stock which he turned in many millions of dollars which served as nest egg for a successful run at governor. Of course, Hicks generosity was rewarded when Bush named him as regent to Texas University and then allowed Tom to designate his own investment firm to handle TU’s $ 9 billion alumni fund, recouping George’s bonus many times over. In other words, Baseball been velly, velly good to George. Baseball may well have been his stepping stone (besides being born into the right family) to the presidency. So why not slather on the sports metaphors.  

State of Sports - Mets

    The question remains: were George’s statements slam dunks… or merely lay ups?  Or as a few reporters have said “bricks that clanked off the rim”? When Bush stated that “Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle east,” much applause erupted. But Joshua Stacher, an Egypt expert, says “Egypt was arresting democracy activists about the time Iraq was voting and isn’t even remotely  democratizing.” Sounds like a shank to the rough that someone kicked into the fairway.

    When Bush stated “Four years of debate is enough: I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy.” Here again, some argue that giving $ 20 billion in tax breaks for oil, gas and coal and then cutting $ 277 million in renewable energy research and giving $ 100,000 tax write-offs to Hummer owners might not reduce energy dependency. Some would say he’s driving for show when he should be putting for dough (using a country club metaphor… which big oil proponents are well aware of.)

    Bush’s most dramatic statement of the evening, regarding social security was “By the year 2042, the entire system will be bankrupt.” As statements go , that’s a double down the right field line but when you consider reports from his own Congressional Budget Office have said that come 2052 the Social Security System will only be able to pay for 75% of the scheduled benefits, that’s not exactly bankruptcy nor is it a double. It’s more like a bunt that you may or may not beat out for a safe. It’s like a point-blank shot you should have slam dunked but you missed as you were fouled. It’s like rounding all the bases but forgetting to step on home plate. It’s like winning all the boxing rounds, piling up the points, only to be fallen from a bleeding-cut-over-the-eye TKO.  It’s like saying there’s an important need for experienced experts to tackle complex problems and then appointing your wife to head up an initiative that keeps young people out of gangs. “My main squeeze, she will get down with her peeps and get real wit de problem.” 

    George Bush delivered the speech well. No one’s arguing that. Heck, when he left the stand and grabbed Joe Lieberman’s hands and kissed him on the cheek he was in top cheek-kissing form. He had stuck to the game plan, knew his playbook, listened to his coaches, and knew when to play hardball. He was anything but “on-the-ropes.” But as far as hitting home runs, and this is something we might know a little more about than the political pundits, trust us – there were no dingers. There were none out of the park. Lots of singles, a few doubles, stole second base a couple of times. Maybe even a triple.  

     
    
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